The Canadian consulate in Hong Kong allegedly rejected the immigration requests of two Huawei employees, citing “reasonable grounds” that they may be spies.
The reasons for the rejections were outlined in two letters, obtained by the South China Morning Post.
A letter from Canada’s Hong Kong consulate in March states the immigration application was rejected on ground the individual falls under section 34(1)(f) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The section refers to people employed by organizations involved in subversion, terrorism, or espionage.
The second rejection letter, sent in April, cited the same concerns over an individual’s spouse.
South China Morning Post did not release names of the alleged spies, but the piece is slanted in their defense. The Hong Kong-based news outlet has for years been growing closer to the Chinese regime, but came under more direct influence after its purchase by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma in December 2015.
The Canadian consulate in Hong Kong did not immediately respond to an email inquiring about the claims.
Huawei is a Chinese telecommunications company which has been accused of spying on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. The U.S. House Intelligence Committee listed the company in 2012 as a national security threat, and it has since been accused of launching cyberattacks and placing backdoors in its products.
Australia blocked Huawei from bidding on its national broadband plan in 2012, and the United States also banned it from bidding on government contracts.
Despite the concerns, Huawei was able to find a market in Canada, according to Bloomberg in 2014, where it supplies 3G and 4G network equipment to two of the country’s largest cellular operators, Bell Canada and Telus.
Its relationship with Canada has been lined with caution, however. Vice obtained two memos in 2014 from Canada’s Department of Public Safety, stating concerns it could threaten the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and networks.