Peer ‘baffled’ by allegations that he was targeted by a fake public relations campaign to boost Huawei | Technology


A peer said that he was not “putty in the hands of manipulators” in response to extraordinary claims that he was one of several public figures targeted by a bogus public relations campaign aimed at positively improving perceptions of Chinese technology company Huawei.The alleged secret campaign – denied by Huawei – involved inviting British politicians and industrialists to participate in radio interviews and sending them fake news, according to a file partly produced by the company co-founded by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele.

Huawei’s political critics should grasp the emerging allegations and believe they could add to the pressure on Downing Street to reverse the plans allowing the Chinese company to constitute up to 35% of the British 5G network.

One of those who would have been targeted in a false public relations campaign was Lord Clement-Jones, a peer of Lib Dem, who said that there was no need to use sophisticated methods to target him, because he served on the international advisory board of Huawei.

“My link with the company is well known. They don’t need to have fake radio broadcasts to reach me about me. It is very confusing. It’s all a fantasy. We are not putty in the hands of the manipulators, ”he said.

Huawei denies being behind such a public relations campaign and issued a statement because part of the contents of the file began to leak.

A spokesperson said, “We categorically deny these unsubstantiated allegations, which do not deserve to be considered and are unfortunately the latest in the long American campaign against Huawei. They are designed to harm the reputation of our business as much as possible and in fact have no basis. ”

An emergency review of Huawei technology security by the National Security Cyber ​​Center (NSCC) in the United Kingdom concluded that the recently imposed US sanctions preventing Huawei from using American software and microchips would render its equipment less sure.

British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is set to discuss with number 10 how to react, under intense pressure from a conservative backbone group to completely eliminate Huawei from the telecommunications network.

Compiled with the help of Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence firm, the new file is said to claim that the companies running the campaign were paid $ 30,000 (£ 24,000) per month and that activities took place from 2017 to minus 2019.

Another alleged target of a secret public relations campaign was former Conservative and Liberal MP Sarah Wollaston, who, before losing her seat in the last election, was chair of the liaison committee, which has the power to question the First minister.

The former member said that she had “no way of knowing” if she had been targeted and did not remember any contact with Huawei, apart from an offer made by an intermediary to sponsor an event last spring to celebrate 40 years of select committees.

“Once I heard that the offer was from Huawei, I said I didn’t want to get involved,” said Wollaston, who represented Totnes. “If they took any other steps, they never contacted me,” she added.

Conservative rebels want miners to stop installing new Huawei 5G equipment by the end of this year and snatch existing kit by the end of 2023, six years earlier than a deadline set this weekend to the Sunday papers.

Rebel sources have complained that 2029 is too late and want ministers to embark on a two-step process “no new kit by the end of this year and snatching the old kit by 2023” – although they say they are ready to be flexible if Downing St is ready to negotiate.

They estimate they have more than 50 MPs on their side, in a group led by Iain Duncan Smith and Bob Seely, which also includes former cabinet members such as David Davis and Owen Paterson.

But last week, Dowden said any critical vote on Huawei in the Commons would likely be delayed until the end of the summer break, although enforcing any cap or ban will require primary legislation.

Boris Johnson had decided in January to limit Huawei to supply 35% of the 5G kit to the UK, but the decision was attacked by the White House under Donald Trump and a growing group of conservatives, arguing that the company posed a risk of surveillance.

A review was announced in May after the U.S. hit Huawei with targeted sanctions, banning it from using microchips and software, forcing the Chinese company to change its supply of components after stocks run out.

Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming on Monday accused some British politicians of viewing China as a “threat” or a “hostile country” at an online press conference. “We want to be your friend, we want to be your partner, but if you want to make China a hostile country, you have to bear the consequences,” he added.

A reversal in its decision Huawei would damage Britain’s image as an open and business-friendly environment and that meant that London had to ‘bounce back’ from other countries, he said. “The Chinese business community is all watching how you manage Huawei,” added Liu.


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