China Telecom has reportedly gone to court in a bid to reverse the United States Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to revoke the company’s authorisation to operate in the country.
The FCC issued an order for China Telecom to stop providing domestic and international services in late October in response to recommendations from the Trump-era Justice Department.
“China Telecom Americas, a US subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight,” the FCC said in its order.
“China Telecom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Telecom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.”
The order is set to take effect on December 4, unless it is stayed or revoked.
According to Reuters, China Telecom told the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia on Monday that the revocation of its authorisation would cause irreparable harm to its business, reputation, and relationships.
It also reportedly claimed that the FCC had no evidence of the company being a national security or law enforcement risk.
China Telecom’s argument is similar to the one used by Xiaomi at the start of the year when it requested to be removed from the Department of Defense’s official list of Communist Chinese military companies (CCMC). In those legal proceedings, Xiaomi said the CCMC designation would cause “immediate and irreparable harm to Xiaomi”, including cutting Xiaomi’s access to US capital markets.
The US courts eventually went on to rule in favour of Xiaomi, with Defense agreeing to remove the designation and allow the company to operate in the country.
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