The Hill: HONG KONG SPOTLIGHTS WHY CHINA CANNOT BE TRUSTED ON TECHNOLOGY

THE HILL

BY MIKE ROGERS, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

China is showing its true colors in Hong Kong with the imposition of the new national security law on the former British colony. Approved last month, largely in secrecy with astonishing speed, and almost immediately imposed on the city, the legislation grants Beijing nearly unlimited authority. The Chinese domination of Hong Kong, which until now was behind the scenes, burst into the open with the passage of this law and the crackdown on democracy protests in recent months.

Under the law, the Hong Kong police can now censor content on the internet, shut down websites, search without warrants, and surveil suspects without court orders. Police are empowered to crack down on protests, intervene in the Hong Kong legal system, and effectively suppress the rights of free speech and expression of Hong Kong citizens. The law takes Hong Kong behind the great firewall of China.

In any other era, this law and this behavior would be cause for significant concern and outrage. But imagine combining this sweeping authority with unparalleled application of technology to control what you see, what you do, and where you go, all under the guise of social credit. That is the future Hong Kong is facing. It could well be a future in the Western world where data of citizens is used against them if the Chinese Communist Party and Huawei are successful in building the 5G network.

The only laws that China respects are its own. It does not respect international laws or the privacy laws of other countries. This behavior is reflected in how its companies do business. Huawei, for instance, hopes citizens will trust it with their data and its 5G network. Among other things, Huawei steals intellectual property, launders money, violates sanctions, and incentivizes trade secret theft. If this were any other company from any other country, doing business with them would be unthinkable.

We need to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party does not control the 5G network. Thankfully, the federal government is taking steps to prevent this from occurring. The White House appears to be near finalizing regulations that would prevent the federal government from buying products from any company that uses Huawei or four other Chinese companies. The FCC also officially designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, effectively cutting them off from billions of dollars in subsidies.

The United Kingdom recently announced a halt on the installation of any Huawei equipment and will remove all equipment already installed by 2027. This is a great step forward and undoubtedly this decision is motivated by China’s behavior towards Hong Kong, a former British territory. Other countries should see this decision as a signal as to just how serious the security threat posed by Huawei gear really is.

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About 5G Action Now

5G Action Now was founded to establish the United States as the worldwide leader in 5G. Our goal is to elevate the conversation regarding American national security and the economic benefits of winning the 5G innovation and deployment battle against China. 5G will spur economic growth in rural America, create an environment for technological expansion, and put the U.S. on strong national security footing for generations to come.

5G Action Now supports the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) goal of a 2020 C-band auction. Additionally, we support Members of Congress of both parties working together with the federal government to win the 5G race against China.

About Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers is the former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and now serves as the Chairman of 5G Action Now.

In Congress, Chairman Rogers worked with two presidents, Congressional leadership, foreign leaders, diplomats, and intelligence professionals, and oversaw the Intelligence Community’s $70 billion budget that funded the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies. Before being elected to represent Michigan in the House of Representatives, he was an FBI special agent and member of the U.S. Army.

Today, he hosts the CNN Original Series Declassified, regularly appears on various TV and radio shows, and frequently contributes to major print outlets. He is also a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center where he is leading a program on 5G, national security, and intelligence policy.