Sen. Rubio Wants FCC Crackdown on Chinese Telecommunications Firms in US

Sen. Rubio Wants FCC Crackdown on Chinese Telecommunications Firms in US marco rubio speaks at an event Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on March 29. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 03 May 2022 10:17 AM

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is asking the Federal Communication Commission to crack down on "dangerous" Chinese telecommunications companies operating in the U.S. to make sure they don't evade restrictions and impair American national security.

Rubio's comments came in a letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

'I write to request that the Federal Communications Commission take all appropriate actions to ensure the compliance of malign Chinese telecommunication companies operating in the United States," he wrote. "In the wake of the FCC's recent, commendable actions to block or otherwise restrict such firms from United States infrastructure, now is the time to take immediate action.

"Specifically, I ask the FCC to initiate audits, formal review processes, and other disciplinary actions against Chinese telecommunications companies present in the U.S. given concerning reports that some may be non-compliant or are otherwise attempting to evade critical restrictions placed on them.

"As you are well aware, the presence of Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-owned, -operated, or -directed administered companies in our technological infrastructure and, in particular, telecommunication systems represents a profound threat to our national and cybersecurity. Chinese state telecommunication firms are notorious for the degree to which they will work to avoid compliance and evade restrictions to their access to U.S. markets.

"Facing such limits from the Trump Administration's Department of Commerce in 2017, ZTE Corporation refused to adhere to the U.S. government's orders and lied about the extent of its compliance, resulting in further penalties and an extension of its probation period that only last month concluded.

"In 2019, after the Commerce Department placed Huawei on its Entity List, Huawei responded by spinning off its mid-range smartphone line, Honor, by selling it to a different Chinese-state controlled company – in doing so guaranteeing uninterrupted CCP access to critical American technology and markets. Thus far, the Biden Administration has not responded to this blatant circumvention of U.S. export controls.

"Specifically, I ask the commission to ensure that all recently indicted Chinese firms totally discontinue U.S. services within the required time period; confirm that all Chinese telecommunication companies on the FCC's 'Covered List' – including subsidiaries or reconstituted entities intended to evade U.S. regulations – remain fully blacklisted; and conduct audits or other formal reviews of additional Chinese telecommunications companies that may pose a risk to Americans."

Meanwhile, Rubio asked Volkswagen last week to detail its ties with two Chinese companies he says are "implicated in grotesque human rights abuses."
Rubio's made his request in a letter to Herbert Diess, chairman of the board of management of the Volkswagen Group.

"I request additional information with regard to Volkswagen's recent joint ventures with Chinese companies Huayou Cobalt and Tsingshan Holding Group," Rubio wrote. "Both companies are implicated in grotesque human rights abuses, including the human trafficking and forced labor of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Chinese Communist Party's ongoing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and the destruction of critical rainforest habitat in Indonesia."

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