Huawei official hails Biden administration’s cybersecurity efforts

Huawei’s new charm offensive to win over skeptics in the free world includes a new target: the media.

The Chinese telecom giant on Tuesday sponsored an event with the Wall Street Journal on “security and safety in an unstable world” after previously accusing the US newspaper of anti-Huawei bias and lack of credibility.

Representatives for Huawei and the Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones, did not explain how the relationship turned from hostile to friendly during the event. The virtual discussion included a disclaimer that the Journal’s newsroom was not involved in the planning of the event.

Former Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel strongly criticized her former employer’s decision to partner with the Chinese company seen by many as a workhorse for the communist regime.

“So America’s leading trade publication is making dollars from the surveillance arm of a genocidal, totalitarian state,” Ms Kissel said on Twitter last week. “Perhaps legal but certainly not moral. Appalling, really.

Ms. Kissel served in the Trump administration which sought to curtail Huawei’s U.S. footprint, and the editorial board is not part of the Journal’s newsroom.

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The Journal’s 2020 reporting of US officials claiming Huawei had the ability to access alleged backdoors in mobile phone networks prompted the Chinese company to accuse the Journal of bias and amplifying lies.

At Tuesday’s virtual event, Andy Purdy, chief security officer of Huawei Technologies USA, answered questions from Willem Marx, editor-in-chief of the Dow Jones Global Business Council, with no trace of lingering resentment.

Mr. Marx asked Mr. Purdy to assess the efforts of the US government and others on cybersecurity and privacy risks, and Mr. Purdy responded by praising the Biden administration.

“Particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, I think there’s been increased interest and attention and a very strong public-private partnership over the past couple of years,” Purdy said. “It takes time to make these things happen. I think they were helped somewhat by President Biden’s executive order on cybersecurity nearly a year and a half ago.

Huawei has increased its lobbying efforts during President Biden’s tenure, especially in relation to former President Trump’s tenure.

Huawei spent nearly $4.5 million on lobbying during Mr. Biden’s first two years in office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ database.

Huawei spent just $3.68 million during Mr. Trump’s four years in office, with the majority of lobbying taking place in 2019. Mr. Trump issued an executive order in 2019 that effectively blocked Huawei from networks American communications.

Officials from Huawei and the Journal’s publisher did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the cost of Huawei’s sponsorship and Huawei’s past criticism of the Journal. Mr. Marx and Mr. Purdy also ignored a question about the companies’ relationship at Tuesday’s event.

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