Huawei has taken new legal action in the US asking the court to rule in its favour as a matter of law in an effort to speed up the lawsuit it filed against Washington in March, arguing a law that bans government purchases from the Chinese telecoms firm is unconstitutional.
The Chinese telecoms firm announced Wednesday that it filed a motion for summary judgment, saying this case doesn’t involve any dispute of facts. If the judge rules in Huawei’s favour, it would help the firm avoid a long, drawn-out trial. But American lawyers could also ask the court to reject the motion.
Banning the company over cybersecurity concerns “will do nothing to make networks more secure,” said Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, in a statement. “Politicians in the US are using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company.”
Huawei, a leader in developing 5G networks, is at the centre of a global firestorm. The US has been sounding the alarm over espionage threats posed by using technology made by Huawei, saying the company could create a “backdoor” into the foreign mobile and data networks using its equipment.
Washington has also alleged Huawei has received funding from Chinese intelligence agencies. Under Chinese law, Huawei has confirmed it would be obliged to provide assistance in security matters, though it has repeatedly denied any links to Beijing.
Theresa May has recently given the green light for Huawei to help build parts of the UK’s 5G networks, such as antennas and other “non-core” infrastructure, despite these continued warnings regarding national security.
But countries including the US, Australia and Japan have moved to do the opposite by banning Huawei.
Huawei’s lawsuit against the US argues that section 889 of the 2019 National Defence Authorisation Act unfairly singles out Huawei by name and punishes the firm without due process, as it bars government agencies from buying its equipment and services, as well as from contracting with third parties using the firm’s technology.
In response, Huawei has engaged in a public relations blitz, rolling out its executives and founder Ren Zhengfei to give interviews to the media.
The controversy kicked off last December when Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, on an extradition request from the US to face charges of skirting Iran sanctions. Beijing then retaliated by detaining two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who are still being held under poor conditions without access to lawyers, while Ms Meng is currently out on bail and living in one of her multi-million dollar Vancouver homes.
As well as the spying claims, there have been technical concerns that Huawei’s technology isn’t up to snuff. Earlier this year, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre warned it had found technical problems with Huawei kit that needed to be rectified, blaming it on “shoddy” engineering.