Two U.S. Senators called FCC and national security agencies to review that the two Chinese state-owned companies should be allowed or not to continue operation in the United States, a move came in the midst of escalating concerns of the U.S. government over those firms being used by China for spying.
Senate’s Republican member Tom Cotton and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer early last week asked Federal Communication Commission chairman Ajit Pai to reassess the early-2000s approvals that gave a go ahead to China Unicom and China Telecom to start operating in the United States.
These two state-owned companies while operating in the United States have an access to our cellular networks, satellites, telephone lines and fiber optic cables in ways that could provide China with an ability to reach the content of communications of American people, or businesses and even the U.S. government, and that also include the ability of hijacking of telecommunications traffic by redirecting it through China, the senators wrote in a letter that was also sent to the departments of defense and homeland security.
In a this May voting, the FCC unanimously decided to deny China Mobile Ltd, a telecommunications company also owned by the Chinese government, the right of providing services in the United States, for having risk of conducting Chinese espionage against the U.S. government using the approval. And at that, FCC also disclosed about its reviewing of previous approvals to Chinese state-owned telecommunications firms.
FCC’s chairman has clarified that the Commission is also reviewing the approvals granted to other Chinese telecommunications companies such as China Unicom and China Telecom, said Brian Hurt, an FCC spokesman.
Also in May this year, Brendan Carr, an FCC Commissioner, said that evidences suggested that the commission should not only deny the China Mobile’s application for approval to provide telecommunication services but should also go further, noting that the commission made the decision on the basis of reports that U.S. traffic has been hijacked by China Telecom as it is involved in redirecting that traffic through China.