Beijing lashes USA's China Telecom ban – but quite gently

Rolls out usual lines about national security being pretext for competitive action, more strident voices keep quiet

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has responded with mild indignation to the USA's decision to revoke the operating licence that allowed China Telcom to operate in the land of the free.

In a Wednesday statement, the Ministry accused the USA of using national security as a pretext for banning Chinese companies, complained that evidence of China Telecom's alleged misdeeds has not been furnished, and that the ban breaches international trade rules.

The Ministry also objected to the decision on grounds that banning businesses without evidence isn't consistent with the usual practice of free market economies and called on the US government to rescind its decision.

A machine translation of the statement concludes as follows: "China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises."

If the summation above feels familiar, it should. The language used does not diverge far from China's template for this sort of protestation, as readers may recall from incidents such as India's ban on Chinese apps.

Intriguingly, the ban on China Telecom has not so far generated a response from the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Spokespeople from the Middle Kingdom's Foreign Ministry – some of whom operate fiery Twitter accounts and employ unsubtle language during daily briefings – have also avoided discussing the issue, batting away a question on the matter. The spokesfolks' output has instead focused on Taiwan, Australia, and the looming Winter Olympic Games.

So while Beijing is clearly miffed, it's not blowing up. Perhaps China Telecom's revenue from the Americas is the reason: the unit is thought to earn under $200 million a year, while global revenue for FY2020 topped $61 billion and growth is zipping along at over ten per cent year-on-year with consumer and industrial 5G surging. No business is comfortable losing 0.3 per cent of revenue at the stroke of a pen, but China Telecom can cope with the USA's ban. And so, it seems, can Beijing. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021