Belgium’s State Security Service (VSSE) has requested interviews with former employees of Huawei lobbying operation in the heart of Brussels’ European district, lately in a month due to non-state actors around the state….!!
Belgium’s intelligence service is scrutinizing the operations of technology giant Huawei fears how China may be using non-state actors around the EU and NATO headquarters in Brussels. The inspection also had the senior lobbyists in Huawei’s Brussels office. This is to advance the interests of the Chinese state and its Communist party in Europe, being requested.
Information collected from POLITICO said scrutiny of Huawei’s EU activities comes as Western security agencies are sounding the alarm over companies with links to China. British, Dutch, Belgian, Czech, and Nordic officials — as well as EU functionaries — have all been told to stay off TikTok on work phones over concerns similar to those surrounding Huawei, namely that Chinese security legislation forces Chinese tech firms to hand over data.
In order to oversee operations Belgian security services are tasked led by foreign actors around the EU institutions.
The State Security Service declined to comment when asked about the intelligence gathering.
A Huawei spokesperson said the company was unaware of the company’s Brussels office staff being questioned by the intelligence service.
It’s being in operation of Belgian intelligence officers, if there are any direct ties between the Chinese state and Huawei’s Brussels office. They are also routing Huawei representatives who may have previously held posts in Brussels institutions with access to a network of EU contacts.
This may be suspected, whether the firm can be instrumentalized, pressured, or infiltrated by the Chinese government to gain access to critical data in Western countries.
Huawei’s EU lobbying offices — one located in between the European Parliament and European Commission and Council buildings and the other a “cybersecurity transparency center” close to the U.S. embassy — have been a major lobbying power in EU policymaking over the past decade.
The most recent corporate declarations put the firm among the top 30 companies spending most on EU lobbying in Brussels, with a declared maximum spending of €2.25 million per year. In 2018 — right at the start of the geopolitical storm that struck the firm — it entered the top 10 lobbying spenders in Brussels.
A significant concern brought up by Western security authorities in past years is that Huawei as a China-headquartered company is subject to Beijing’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, which requires companies to “support, assist, and cooperate with national intelligence efforts” as well as “protect national intelligence work secrets they are aware of.”
Huawei spokesperson answered the company’s frequently asked questions page on the matter of how it handles legal requests from the Chinese government to hand over data:
“Huawei has never received such a request and we would categorically refuse to comply if we did. Huawei is an independent company that works only to serve its customers. We would never compromise or harm any country, organization, or individual, especially when it comes to cybersecurity and user privacy protection.”
Huawei faced pushback from Belgian security services
In certain years, Belgian security services are not so pleased with Huawei. Clearly observed in the country’s National Security Council 2020 imposed restrictions on its use in critical parts of 5G networks.
Prior, in 2019 it replaced its then-head of the EU office Tony Graziano. Who had a long track record of lobbying the EU and had led Huawei’s Brussels office since 2011 with Abraham Liu. A company loyalist who had risen up the ranks of its international operations.
The headquarters in Shenzhen also strengthened its control over its Brussels office activities over the past decade. Currently, the main representative of Huawei with the EU, Tony Jin Yong replacing Liu. This activity has also consistently brought in Chinese staff to support its public affairs activities.
According to the November report, last year Huawei started ramping down its EU presence due to its activities across Europe in its regional headquarters in Düsseldorf.
Well, Belgium is considered strategically important for Western allies because of the presence of the EU institutions and the headquarters of the transatlantic NATO defense alliance, while being a small market.
The Belgian State Security Service (VSSE) hit out at the Chinese state for operating in “a grey zone between lobbying, interference, political influence, espionage, economic blackmail, and disinformation campaigns.”
In response to the study, the Chinese embassy in Belgium said the intelligence services “slandered the legitimate and lawful business operation of Chinese companies in Belgium, seriously affecting their reputation and causing potential harm to their normal production and operation.”
Instead of China. “Undue interference perpetrated by other powers also continues to be a red flag for the VSSE,” the intelligence service said in its report. “The recent interference scandal in the European Parliament is a case in point.”