China’s Huawei Accused of Hacking Government and Forging Documents in South Sudan

October 28, 2014 Updated: October 28, 2014

Chinese telecom company Huawei is being accused of forging government documents and hacking government emails in South Sudan.

Michael Leuth, head of South Sudan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, outlined the claims in an Oct. 14 complaint he sent to South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Huawei attempted to send a forged document to Hon. Li Ruogu, the President of the Export-Import Bank of China on my behalf,” Leuth states in the letter.

He adds, “I suspect that Huawei has been hacking many government e-mail and falsifying and forging documents on behalf of the senior government officials.”

Huawei has garnered heavy controversy around the world over security concerns. On Oct. 8, 2012, the U.S. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report outlining national security risks from Huawei and another Chinese telecom, ZTE.

The report claimed, among other things, that the Chinese companies have shadowy structures and refused to explain their relations with the Chinese regime. The companies, it claimed, may use their technologies to install backdoors that can then be used for espionage.

The report was dismissed by Huawei and several major news outlets have repeated Huawei’s claims uncritically. Nonetheless, security concerns around Huawei continue to emerge.

Huawei is banned for use by the United States and Australian governments. The British government also stopped using Huawei devices in January because of security concerns.

The Washington Times reported on Oct. 15 that Huawei tried breaching the NSA’s computer networks this year.

The European Union also launched a probe into Huawei security, which it recently dropped before completion. The probe was ended just before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s Oct. 18 meeting with senior E.U. officials at a summit in Milan.

The new case in South Sudan could be a major piece of evidence of security concerns regarding Huawei.

Leuth said he summoned Huawei’s managing director and other senior staff on Oct. 10 “to come and explain their intention.” He said none of them responded.

Leuth then requested an official investigation into Huawei and Huawei’s Sullivan Chen who allegedly forged the document. If found guilty, Leuth asked that Chen be deported back to China. He also asked that the Chinese embassy be informed.

“We are shocked by this Chinese private Company unbecoming behavior, which is tantamount to forgery,” he states. “Huawei wanted to create confusion between our Government and the Chinese.”

Politics already seem to be getting in the way, however. The Sudan Tribune reported that South Sudan vowed to not expel any member of Huawei.

An unnamed Sudanese senior foreign affairs official told the publication “I don’t think it will be in the best interest of South Sudan as a country and the government to expel [the] Chinese company about this claim,” noting that many foreign companies in China are government owned.

“This requires prudence so that they do not slip into foreign relations,” he said.

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