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Beijing to Washington: Ratted-out routers not welcome here

China announces vendor 'vetting' plan to keep out snoopware-infested kit

Great Wall of China

China has taken revenge on the USA for its Huawei ban and router-ratting actions alleged by Edward Snowden, by announcing a new “vetting” process for foreign technology providers.

The news emerged in Xinhua, a party-controlled Chinese news organ that reports State Internet Information Office spokesperson Jiang Jun as saying “For a long time, governments and enterprises of a few countries have gathered sensitive information on a large scale, taking the advantage of their monopoly in the market and technological edge.”

"They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients but also threaten cyber security of other countries."

China will therefore step in and vet vendors that aspire to sell within its borders to safeguard not only its own interests, but the world's!

Stories like this don't appear in Xinhua as a result of cunning digging by its staff. That this one mentions Edward Snowden makes the conclusion China is retaliating to recent reports the NSA is touching-up US-made networking kit before export near-irresistible.

The USA has vetted foreign kit itself for years, a practice most infamously expressed in its 2012 decision to block Huawei from selling some kit stateside. China has protested that ban but has not retaliated … until now.

As the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty shows, the USA is keenly aware foreign policy can be a way to enhance the wealth-and-job-creation prospects of its domestic industries. China deciding to vet foreign vendors – presumably with an unbiased, transparent, consistent and predictable process – means the USA has a challenge to ensure the world's new economic colossus remains open to its economic citizens.

Perhaps a review of the Huawei ban might win favourable treatment for US companies? Or are we headed for a situation in which great powers simply decide not to trust sensitive products made by their geopolitical rivals? ®

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