State mouthpieces in China have published a series of articles attacking Cisco, accusing the networking giant of being complicit in US attacks on its infrastructure.
The first coverage seems to have appeared as the cover story in China Economic and Information Technology Magazine, and doesn't mince words in laying into Cisco, and the US, claiming that ninety per cent of "network warfare" originates from the land of the free and that China Unicom has been sweeping out Cisco kit in preference for home-grown alternatives.
The evidence presented against Cisco is pretty circumstantial, references to known security flaws and quotes from unnamed "experts" claiming that in an emergency the US Government could take control of China's backbone communications. The article also names IBM, Google, Qualcomm, Intel, Apple, Oracle and Microsoft (making up the "Diamond Eight"), but is clearly motivated by US investigations into Huawei and ZTE which recommended they should be treated with suspicion.
Some 72 US Congressmen have shares in Cisco, the magazine points out, paralleling US reports of Huawei's governmental links - though it also reminds readers that the Patriot Act obliges technology companies to help the US government in its spying efforts.
And it's not just one magazine making these claims. Tech In Asia spotted similar reports in Caijing National Weekly, People's Daily and China Enterprise Report, all of which (the site states) are government-owned media outlets, and all of which are generating concern about the preponderance of Cisco kit in key communication hubs.
The Americans are used to throwing their economic weight around to get what they want, but won't take it well when the same tactic is used against them. Some of those behind the US blacklisting of Huawei and ZTE are clearly protectionist, worried about high-tech jobs going to Asia, but many Americans are genuinely worried about the threat posed by Chinese technology.
In China they can be protectionist too, and with some more articles like this they'll soon be equally paranoid as well. ®