Trump Administration Claims Huawei Is Chinese Military-Controlled

Label allows Pentagon to surveil company, opens door to sanctions

Trump Administration hostility toward China often turns to major telecommunications company Huawei. On Wednesday, the Trump Administration declared Huawei, and 20 other businesses, to be run by the Chinese military, which opens up administration options for more hostile action.

A $100 billion-plus company that sells cell phones and telecommunications equipment, Huawei has run afoul of the Trump Administration because they are a large supplier of 5g communications systems.

The US depends on control of cell phone systems as part of NSA surveillance, and has cozy ties to all the other major 5g providers, except for Huawei. This has led to years of the US warning the world not to trust or do business with the Chinese company.

Huawei’s parent organization, Huawei Investment and Holding, is legally “employee owned.” In practice, this means the founder owns 1% of the stock, and the rest is overwhelmingly controlled by a union-appointed committee. Because of the way unions work in China, there is a strong case that has been made that this amounts to them being at least mostly state-run.

Huawei has sued analysts in the past for labeling it as a state-run company, though the case made toward them would apply similarly across virtually the whole US list of companies from today. Extending that to military-controlled for any of them, however, is a stretch, and there is no sign that the administration will formulate a case for this accusation.

Either way, so long as the allegation sticks, the military is allowed to keep tabs on Huawei as part of an enemy power’s military. This likely will also be used by the administration to move against them for competing in the US.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.