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Huawei Trolls U.S. on Spy Claims with a Jab at Snowden (bloomberg.com)
92 points by luckylittle 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

I feel like this is fair. People like to paint enemies of the east while essentially letting the west get away with much more heinous stuff.

The difference of course is that we implicitly trust US tech companies, of course we do, nobody else has such a monopoly on CPUs and Operating System production. Not to mention web browsers and all kinds of technology. Avoiding the USA in your tech stack is quite literally impossible.

And we permit the US government (by extension the NSA and 5eyes) to do what ever they want to us without fear of repercussion because what course of action could we take? As long as we are not a US citizen we have literally zero protections.

it’s to the point that my EU based company is applying US sanctions (to Crimea for instance, where no EU sanction covers telecommunications) because we would fall out of line in many of our contracts from US tech companies.

It is clearly a double standard. But the answer is to hold the US to account. Not bring more of this hostile crap in.

I don't like the false equivalence of what the US-lead western intelligence does and what the Chinese state does.

Obviously in a perfect world none of the "bad" things happen, but I'd rather take the US government spying on me than the Chinese government spy on me.

True! China has never directly impacted my life or the life of those I love.

The US on the other hand has replaced a bunch of democratically-elected governments in South America with dictatorships, taught torture classes to the people who tortured my grandfather in Brazil, and has taken the economical blockade of Venezuela over the course of decades to the current level of a humanitarian crisis and a disintegrated state, to which (surprise!) they'll have to "bring democracy".

> I don't like the false equivalence of what the US-lead western intelligence does and what the Chinese state does.

I agree, it's a false equivalence. The effects of US-lead western intelligence actions are objectively more perverse.

The US is going to do that with or without intelligence. China is going to steal your trade secrets and destroy your economy and can only do that with access to your computer networks.

> I don't like the false equivalence of what the US-lead western intelligence does and what the Chinese state does.

But it's a point that will continue to be made as long as the US diplomats continue to use Cold War cliches to describe the "enemy" while back-patting the US as a global sentinel for liberal values and human rights.

The USSR couldn't have dreamed of the kind of mass surveillance apparatus the US has.

Nah, USSR would just lock people up even without any proof of anything. But they certainly would've dreamed of it.

> I'd rather take the US government spying on me than the Chinese government spy on me.

Not everyone shares your opinion.

If the Uighurs had a voice, I think they might have something to say about that[1].

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/chin...

Cool story bro.

Me, just like Uyghurs, would prefer to be spied on by the evil empire which DOESN'T rule me.

Uyghurs are ruled by China so they'd rather be spied on by us for sure.

I live in Europe so I'm ruled by US, and therefore would prefer China to spy on me.

That's sort of like saying "I'd rather be shot in the leg than in the arm".

If we accept this moral equivalency, it still doesn't make support or acceptance of Huawei OK.

This line of argument is all about moral blame, and not related to practical outcome. Correctly morally blaming the US for its practices won't protect you from Chinese malfeasance.

I agree. I said it was fair, I didn’t say it was acceptable.

> People like to paint enemies of the east while essentially letting the west get away with much more heinous stuff.

> It is clearly a double standard. But the answer is to hold the US to account. Not bring more of this hostile crap in.

I mean, I think it's the nature of things like this that they are justifiable but not pleasant to suffer from. This is weaponry, not poetry; if theirs is better we suffer, that's it.

Even if you're right it is not perceived that way.

It's akin to economic dependence. The thought of Europe depending on Russia (or the USA) for energy/electricity is unfathomable, yet we allow the US in particular to be the "holder" of an enormous part of our economy. IT is literally used by every industry and in some cases is very central to it. (IE; power stations make heavy use of automation and computers with CPU's and Operating Systems living at the very heart of that.)

It's troubling that we don't do more to offset this, especially if you're right, and holding this industry is a weapon of sorts.

Europe does depend on Russia for energy, at least in winter.

In natural gas; https://www.forbes.com/sites/annalisagirardi/2018/12/12/grow...

However there is no strong dependence: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2018/07/19/how-depe...

tl;dr: 23% of German power comes from gas; that 35% of that gas comes from Russia. That's a power dependency of roughly 8%.

Personally I don't think that's the same as being held entirely captive by a monopoly country as is the case when it comes to IT.

But, it's a fair point, I'll take it. Replacing 8% of a countries energy input would be difficult, but I would argue that it's not impossible.

> In natural gas; https://www.forbes.com/sites/annalisagirardi/2018/12/12/grow....

> However there is no strong dependence: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2018/07/19/how-depe....

> tl;dr: 23% of German power comes from gas; that 35% of that gas comes from Russia. That's a power dependency of roughly 8%.

> Personally I don't think that's the same as being held entirely captive by a monopoly country as is the case when it comes to IT.

> But, it's a fair point, I'll take it.

Dependence used to be worse, this is result of efforts to lower it because Russia was using it as a blackmail tool.

But I'm just nitpicking anyway, it's not the actual topic.

>But I'm just nitpicking anyway, it's not the actual topic.

Maybe not, but it's a very good point.

We used to have a reliance on Russia but due to poor behaviour we took steps to remove their power.

I believe we should do that again with technology in regards to the USA.

We should start with the assumption that every government, carrier, service provider, device manufacturer is rogue and will start spying on us. As a technologist, it is responsibility of the people here to create sustainable systems and services which are simple to adopt so can be used by billions of people while keeping there privacy intact. I'll be happy to fund (in my meager capacity) any effort by Mozilla/EFF to take back control.

Thank you. The rest of these comments are involved in a circular argument about East v West, as thought these are fresh debates no one's ever had before.

China v US dick-waving doesn't change the 'facts on the ground' for average people, which is that state surveillance exists, and many people don't know just how expansive it is. That's what people should be opposing, instead of cheering on two massive bureaucracies like they're sports teams.

This is really not a smart defense. US accuses Chinese company of introducing backdoors in its products for the benefit of China. Chinese company says everyone does it, proves it based on Snowden revelations.

The Chinese company is most likely right. But if you are a national carrier, do you then buy the product with the Chinese backdoors?

The only defense that wouldn’t kill their sales would be arguing for the opposite, that backdoors undermine the trust of their customers, and that they have the same incentive as Google, Apple or Cisco to push back on those requests.

It may not be smart but at least it's refreshingly honest.

Basically, choose the built-in backdoor. Nevermind the fact that nation-states with the capability will amass 0-days against them anyways.

Referencing Prism is a jab at the US, but hardly a jab a Snowden. Misleading headline!

I agree it's not worded well. I think they might have intended to mean a jab at U.S. surveillance dragnets via the Snowden affair.

Nice, Huawei Finally pointed this out, so the next step is hopefully somebody pointing out the difference.

There will never be a Snowden in China. You can guarantee their life, or their love one's life will be held hostage.

So not only does the "West" ( So to speak ) has a system in place protecting these people, they also have a system to vote them out and elect a new form of government should the ultimate worst come to play.

What can you do with the CCP?

I disagree.

The reason there will be no Snowden in China is primarily that China doesn't hide its spying, and secondarily becaue China does not maintain the pretense of moral superiority on international scale. Snowden-type leak from China would not change the way Chinese citizens perceive their government, and nobody else would care, much less exert outside pressure to change things.

Leaks and whistleblowers will happen, though - they do happen even in most oppressive of regimes.

(Also excuse me, but I don't believe US wouldn't try to exert pressure on you through your loved ones in a case like this.)

>China doesn't hide its spying,

Because they don't have to, because they cannot be democratically removed from power and their people accept a high level of human rights abuses as status quo. US citizens do not.

Anyone remember the Plame affair? Not in the same category, but blowing the cover of a CIA operative in retaliation for their husband not following the party lie on Iraq.

Scooter Libby was prosecuted during the subsequent investigation and of course pardoned by Trump.

The West has a system in place to protect people like Snowden?

Are you aware of the government using Snowden's relatives as collateral in order to get him to return to the US? Pretty sure they've been safe this whole time.

The people that know him are protected. And that is definitely worth noting. But I'm far less confident that he would be treated fairly.

> But I'm far less confident that he would be treated fairly.

Maybe, maybe not, but there is precedence in America for it.


> Daniel Ellsberg... precipitated a national political

> controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers,

> a top-secret Pentagon study of the U.S. government decision-

> making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York

> Times and other newspapers.


> On January 3, 1973, Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage

> Act of 1917 along with other charges of theft and conspiracy,

> carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years. Due to

> governmental misconduct and illegal evidence-gathering,

> and the defense by Leonard Boudin and Harvard Law School

> professor Charles Nesson, Judge William Matthew Byrne Jr.

> dismissed all charges against Ellsberg on May 11, 1973.

Not only that, from what I can tell his girlfriend travels between Russia and the US to visit him.

Can you cite evidence of Chinese dissidents having family members held hostage? Genuinely curious if this is true, because it doesn't sound like it's true as even the Chinese government is accountable to public opinion to a large degree.

For an accusation like that you should always provide substantiated evidence, otherwise you're just flaming the anti-Chinese racial flames. Because as terrible as you may think the Chinese government is, it still has the legitimacy and support of a vast majority of the Chinese population.

> Can you cite evidence of Chinese dissidents having family members held hostage?

Not the best coming from the Guardian admittedly, but still. Top result in google.


There's really nothing that goes on in China without netizens talking about it (see chinasmack.com). It'd be really interesting to hear about the Chinese perspective on this. TO be honest the article seems really lacking on details. From an objective bystander perspective, there may actually be legitimate charges levied on the family members, but it's hard to tell.

> Not the best coming from the Guardian admittedly

What is that supposed to mean?

Guardian is a newspaper generally perceived to be anti-authoritarian.

It's one of the few "left" newspapers in the UK.

I know that. I'm questioning GP's apologetic tone that implies it's wrong to link to the Guardian.

Two reasons really - one, it's a source of evidence coming from a channel which is often disregarded here as holding bias to a certain political agenda, and two - I'd normally like to offer several sources of evidence to support a point I'm making, but didn't have time at work to aggregate more links.

If you know that then you know the answer. It's an anti-authoritarian paper so it's going to be biased against an authoritarian government.

Liu Xiaobo's wife was kept under house arrest and nearly incommunicado for eight years, without ever being charged, on account of being married to Nobel-prize winning dissident.



It take's a rather famous case to make it into the Western news, but I have a close Chinese-national friend who's under the strong impression that dissident activity would be bad for her parents.

are you seriously asking this about the same govt that has trampled on tibetan rights and is holding a million muslims in an internment camp?

Since you have brought up the subject of the genocidal CCP having the support of the Chinese population, let me ask you this: isn't it true that the feeling amongst Han Chinese is that they are superior to other races and and cultures, and are meant to rule them? Isn't that the policy CCP is following now?


Too many red herrings to follow up but how about the implied assertion that a huge proportion of jailed Americans are there solely because of their age and skin color? If true then this does indeed sounds likes a horrific mega-scandal that screams for redress rather than, for instance, the pursuance of issues relating to possible interference in the last election. Question of priorities!

By the way you forgot to mention the thousands of executions that take place in China according to Amnesty International. Exact figures are kept secret of course. How does that stack up with the US?

I am Indian, and I know precisely the story of Tibetans. There are many of them living in India now since they've lost their homes. China invaded India twice, so don't think I don't know Chinese superiority complex.

Of course there are nutcases everywhere, but nowhere else a government this powerful has a mandate to undermine human rights at a global level without any opposition from their own people. CCP is following a racist genocidal agenda with full support of a majority of their people, and they won't stop at the Uighurs or tibetans.

Most young black Americans are in jail for drug related offenses, which could warrant the death penalty in China.

Also your argument is completely: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

mda 24 days ago [flagged]

Wow, I am speechless. If majority of China thinks this way, we are in for a very wild ride in near future.

This is right out of the CCP bullshit arguments textbook. They automatically assume that you are an American, and state that you have no idea of what you're talking about since you are brainwashed by the "western mainstream media." The blatant projection here is laughable since the Chinese are the ones censored and brainwashed by their govt.

Another thing they love to bring up is the black prison population in the States to compare it to Chinese prison camps where people are thrown in forever without any trials. Atleast in America, they can protest and hold lawmakers accountable by voting them out. Any meaningful argument with these guys is pointless since they are just govt mouthpieces.

You are showing signs of paranoia.

In my comment there is no assumption on nationality. I am just comparing and contrasting.

I got my information regarding how many young black men are in jail from black Americans and one white American lady. I think you need to take up the challenge of citing a source of some Chinese 'communist' ranting on about the US black prison population. From my knowledge of the world these Chinese folk have been rather too quiet about the injustices of the US 'justice system' and I wish they were demanding something was done. Please prove me wrong that they are not as mute as I believe them to be.

Regarding your paranoia, I am a citizen of planet earth and definitely not Chinese in any way. I am too vegetarian and too English speaking to want to spend time in China's remote provinces. I am old enough to understand that nothing said by Western politicians is likely to be true. Not being easily duped and gullible does not make me some person that has been brainwashed by the Chinese Communist Party or a 'govt mouthpiece'.

You must appreciate that there are people in the West that study history more than you do and that opinions that differ to your own are not the result of 'communist brainwashing'.

Rather than bust blood vessels writing missives about the lack of due process in China, chill out and spend some time reading about the history of the law in China. I think you will find the history quite fascinating.

I will address your last point since all the things before that are presumptious babble. Regardless of history of law in China, Chinese prison camps and internment camps are well-documented.

Doing flamewars like you did in this thread will get you banned here, so please don't do it again.


judging from the Chinese I personally know I'm fairly sure they do!

fwiw not just China, many Europeans (and nearly all Russians) I know think this way too. I too fall into that trap from time to time (either lashing out at the US, or China as a result). It's all pointless waste of breadth in the end. The problem from my perception is that the US is a superpower which faces difficulty in this new information age covering all its crimes the way it did 30 or 50 years ago. News of wrong-doing (which all governments do) spread like wildfire and are amplified by foreign propaganda (whether it's this article or FVEY member Australia screaming its head off about the natsec risks posed by Huawei - "screaming on behalf of the US" to amplify the message).

The beauty of Wikileaks, and twitter is that we can see the real faces of the players and their agenda (in every country). And it isn't pretty at all. In US case, news about secret prisons, (black sites), gitmo, Abu-Ghraib etc are much more depressing (than if we learn about such things happening by the hands of China). Maybe because the US is the strongest player and has sold itself (through hollywood) as a liberator and we want to see them as good. Or even a role model ... Instead we got corporations and lobbyists controlling who gets to play war. People like Trump/Bolton/Pence don't exactly portray the US in a positive light. Not long ago it was Bush/Wolfowitz/Rice/Cheney (even worse) and Obama did nothing to curb surveillance and incarceration of minorities. Obama had an easy job in regard to foreign policy. All he had to do is "not be Bush" - that's how much Bush was hated in Europe.

I'm not having a go at the US. To me any nation state sucks. But if somebody starts a conversation with me today and has an American accent, I'm now quick trying to find out who they're backing - just so I know what kind of level of crazy it is that I'm dealing with.

> system to vote them out and elect a new form of government should the ultimate worst come to play

Has anything changed after Snowden revelations? New form of government?

You mean the Snowden whose supposed presence on a plane of a Southamerican president made US pressure couple European countries to deny him air passage and in effect force him to land, and then made the police of the country he landed in search his plane?

Insane diplomatic incident.

You are right, USA wouldn't kill him if captured. They would only psychologically torture him for years, like they did with Manning.

> There will never be a Snowden in China.

Snowden would have been in a US jail if Russia hadn't found him to be a useful symbol of US hypocrisy. Snowden originally went to HK but the authorities were ready to extradite him, as were most countries that didn't want the US breathing down their necks.

I guess Russia is part of the West now? Funny thing is Snowden first went to Hong Kong, a part of China, for that protection.

Suggesting that HK is "a part of China" vastly simplifies what's going on there to a point of uselessness.

I think the communist party has enough leverage to make it "a part of China" for the concerns of Edward Snowden.

lol, you really think the American citizens will vote out the government or impeach their president because they act unethically or immorally? I'd love to know what you're smoking.

The question is not if they will, but if they can.

Can they really? The popular vote isn't enough to win a presidential election, you also need electoral college votes which aren't allocated by proportion of population.

At the local and state level, you can strategically implement gerrymandering to create electoral districts that are strongly advantageous to you. How would a political challenger not belonging to the dominant party win there?

Authoritarian regimes frequently win elections with 80-95% of the vote. That tells me that the people "can" vote him out.

It makes no difference if they will not, or if the activation energy is exorbitantly high. If you want to go with technicalities, so can anybody in the world, revolution is always an option.

Can they?

Ping makes a pretty clever reference directly to this NSA program: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(surveillance_program). I've got to admit, it's quite apropos, although I don't think it dismisses the US's legitimate concerns over PRC tech influence.

Frankly if Huawei tech is at risk of being compromised, so can any tech, even US-based ones. Shouldn't be putting that much trust in the manufacturer regardless of where they are from.

The fight then ends up being a squabble over power and who should have it. The US government is only saying what it says because it simply wants more power in its hands—nothing more. Same goes for the China side, although they're just trying to sell something. There's no way China can win this argument since it's just about power (unless they bend over).

Some of these comments are... weird. Multiple accounts with broken English defending China and bringing up African Americans (somewhat irrelevantly) in every argument. I'll leave the speculation as an exercise for the reader.

This is spreading FUD and I'm not sure for what reason.

I have no problem telling you who I am; I currently seem to have the top comment here[0] which makes me probably the prime target of this message.

What about my English is broken? I am British[1], I have been around for a long time[2] and I currently live in Sweden. I have no obligation to any US or China based tech company and no affiliation with China at all (other than the fact I work for a games company that is 5% owned by Tencent[3], but I am definitely not directly involved and I consider their efforts an intrusion).

If you think I'm a troll then I've been playing the long game, I have GitHub commits under this name since 2011.

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19261105

[1]: http://linkedin.com/in/jharasym/

[2]: https://github.com/dijit

[3]: https://www.polygon.com/2018/3/20/17144094/ubisoft-vivendi-s...

The crime is the action, not who is doing it. Why should US firms be allowed to not only get away but seek to normalize and profit from global surveillance while Huawei is penalized for FUD? What sort of global system is this?

This just won't fly for anyone concerned with the ethical issues. The point is not that Huawei should get away with anything but no one should. This not only makes a mockery of concern with surveillance but also exposes globalization and free markets as self serving political tools.

Huawei is a perfect example of how ethical issues are hijacked by vested interests with zero interest in the ethics to encourage an empty culture of jingoistic finger pointing that serve to distract and deny while advancing their own financial interests at the cost of everyone else.

What about the million Uighurs in Chinese concentration camps?

The scale of state crimes are vastly different here.

pjc50 24 days ago [flagged]

How many separated Latino children are in indefinite detention these days?

That makes it okay then? Because the US does shady stuff, that means China is okay to do what they want?

Putting millions of your own citizens in a concentration camp is a crime on the scale of nothing currently seen in the modern world.

Excusing China's human rights violations because the US actions are whataboutism and is a completely bullshit argument.

No, it makes neither side OK. And failing to do anything about it in the side under democratic control makes it harder to do elsewhere.

pishpash 24 days ago [flagged]

What about the hundred thousand Japanese American internees in American concentration camps? I don't think the scale is that different, normalized by population and stage of development.

well, for one we don't deny it happened

That was almost 80 years ago, whereas China is doing this today. Past US actions don't somehow invalidate current complaints about massive human rights violations by the CCP. This is purely whataboutism.

I have no interest in pointing out current US atrocities around the world; there are many. Does any US action past or present invalidate anything? No. But it does make your words overall worthless and hypocritical. As they say, clean your own house first. It's energy better spent.


We should be critical of human rights violations of every country, at every point in time. Past US violations are not some kind of excuse to allow China to put millions of people in concentration camps. This is a fallacious argument, the tu quoque logical fallacy.

The issue isn't that China is doing bad things, it's that as someone who is not in China sitting in probably an armchair, providing opinions and guidance across the world is a terrible way to provide well-thought out political advice. One should stick to where they have legitimacy, and that's usually in their local politics.

As a non-black person, it'd be like me criticizing black people for things they do. Since I cannot truly understand the black experience in America without being a black person, any criticism I levy against them would be wholly unfair.

Huh? This sounds a lot like CCP arguments. Don't meddle in our affairs and tell us what to do. Problem is that China is practicing economic colonialism in Africa as we speak and sabotaging and stealing tech from western corporations and govts at an unprecedented rate. Fortunately, the world is starting to wake up to the Chinese thuggery. China's days of breaking international law unpunitively are numbered.

Really no point arguing against this. My point is that Africa, China, can handle themselves for their own business dealings and don't need Americans (myself included) to protect them. Anything else is propaganda, meddling, whatever you want to call it.

It's not as simple as that. China has already debt-trapped Sri Lanka into giving up a port and is eyeing other African nations as it projects its navy across the Indian ocean trying to threaten India. Maybe the corrupt African leaders can give up African interests to China and it's their business, but Chinese interest obviously doesn't end there. Hence, it is, and should be of concern to all the other national interests in the area and globally. Sorry, China will not be allowed to do as they please considering their track record.

Oh, the "your not X, so your opinions or views about X are irrelevant" argument.

The fact that this comment was downvoted is ... interesting.


It is possible for them to be bad as well as America. In different ways and also similar ways. This doesn’t excuse them, any more than it excuses the US — and I can say this about any nation whose history I have given more than a cursory glance.

Intel follows sanctions imposed by the US government and the US/Saudi military uses Intel made chips to kill hundreds of thousands civilians in Iraq, Yemen, etc. Does this make Intel a villain?

Not trying to justify misdeeds of Chinese / US government. But it is really far-fetched to label a company as "Nazi like entity" simply because it has relationships with a bad government.

The USA has millions of african americans in jail working for free. More than in slavery times.

Both the USA and China are Nazi like entities in some ways.

> millions of Muslims in a concentration camp

Can you source this (rather outrageous) claim?


Not one of those sources in the Wikipedia article had any evidence other than news articles about one UN committee member saying she saw evidence of it being 1 million people in camps. Not firsthand, just reports.

Every other article on the fact repeats this. Nearly a dozen citations and it's all just news articles about the same story.

I tried searching for the UN committee on racial discrimination tabled documents but couldn't find anything.

Is there any serious estimate of the number of people actually interned in these camps or is it all a game of Chinese whispers (pun not intended)

I have witnessed firsthand how indifferent mainlanders are to these things but think the original comment has merit.

Where's the actual non biased numbers?


Perhaps you intended to respond to a different comment?

Do you think in future you could leave out the "How can anybody not be aware of this?"? It helps nobody. Thanks.

I looked at that page, it doesn't seem to support the claim there are "millions of Muslims in a camp".

>"Please" meaning what? It's not ok to ask for sources?

There was a link next to the 1 million figure in that article to a US Senate bill, which says "The purpose of this Act is to direct United States resources to address gross violations of universally recognized human rights, including the mass internment of over 1,000,000 Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities in China..."

..but no source for that figure. From the article you linked to, it does sound like a horrific situation.


Trolling is the art of getting a rise out of people with no regards to anything else. Anything self promotional is by definition not trolling.

how is it hypocrisy?

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