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Huawei crackdown

Huawei staff has close ties to China's military, new reports say

Claims likely to embolden hard-liners in Washington

A Huawei company logo is seen at a shopping mall in Shanghai.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- Top Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies faces new scrutiny in recent reports that allege past and present links to the country's military.

The company denies these allegations, which come as countries in Europe and elsewhere consider blocking its products from their next-generation 5G wireless networks for security reasons amid a pressure campaign by the U.S.

The recent reports are expected to harden the U.S. stance against the company.

President Donald Trump signaled that Washington could essentially ease trade restrictions on Huawei following his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month. But both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized the idea.

A study by Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam, described apparent ties to the Chinese state, the People's Liberation Army and intelligence agencies among Huawei employees.

Resumes of the company's staffers found online indicate at least three such links, the study said. One Huawei software engineer was employed by the military and teaching at China's National Defense University.

Huawei has responded that it maintains strict standards when hiring former military or government workers, requiring such candidates to submit documentation showing they ended that relationship. The company said there is no way to determine the authenticity of the resumes.

The release of the study follows a report by Bloomberg in late June that several Huawei employees have collaborated with China's military on at least 10 projects in the past decade, including on artificial intelligence and wireless communications.

Huawei also denied that report, saying it never works with military affiliates on research and development.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei once served as an engineer in China's military. The U.S. government believes the company's products potentially have back doors that allow the Chinese military to steal information, despite Huawei's insistence that it would not harm clients.

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