China is hitting back at the growing crackdown on smartphone maker Huawei, calling the US the “empire of hackers.”
In a statement following the US’ new restrictions on the smartphone giant’s access to crucial components, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that President Xi Jinping objected to the “discrediting” of Chinese companies by the US. President Trump on Monday dubbed Huawei “Spywei” in comments on Fox News.
Zhao said that the US “has been abusing their state power in the name of national security,” according to Bloomberg, and called the targeting of Chinese companies “nothing short of bullying.”
“The Chinese government will continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate and legal rights and interests of Chinese companies,” he added.
The US Commerce Department said Monday it will tighten rules enacted earlier this year that prevent Huawei from obtaining semiconductors without a special license — this time preventing even non-US companies from selling parts to Huawei if those parts are produced with US technology.
President Trump has said that Huawei spies on Americans, adding that the company “is a disaster.”
“They used to have free rein over our country,” Trump said Monday. “What happens is Huawei comes out and they spy on our country.”
Huawei has denied that it spies on US citizens for the Chinese government.
Trump also recently signed an executive order forcing Beijing-based ByteDance to sell the popular social media app TikTok to “a very American company” within 90 days, lest it be be put “out of business” in the US.
US officials have alleged that TikTok could share American users’ data with the Chinese government, which TikTok says it does not do.
In 2017, China enacted the “National Intelligence Law,” which states that “Any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work.”
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