Two Chinese intelligence officers have been arrested in the US over alleged attempts to obstruct a Justice Department probe into Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
Various media outlets named the men as Guochum He and Zheng Wang. While only these two have been arrested, some 13 others have been charged in the case. The charges against them stem from alleged attempts at operating on behalf of the Chinese government and obtain confidential information and trial evidence related to a Justice Department investigation into Huawei.
Next Generation Wireless Networks
"As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the US and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights. They did not succeed," US Attorney General Merrick Garland said, according to Yahoo Finance.
The Justice Department did not directly say the arrests were made in connection with the robe into Huawei, but CNN and The Wall Street Journal said the cases were related to the Huawei probe.
For years, the telecom giant, which allegedly has close ties with the Chinese military, has been in the crosshairs of the western governments. The US and its allies have virtually blocked Huawei from their next-generation wireless networks, while its revenue plummeted globally in the recent years as all regions except China saw dwindling sales of its smartphones and telecom gear.
In July this year, the US authorities opened probe into Huawei over concerns cell tower equipment from the company maybe transmitting sensitive data back to China.
Cellphone Tower Equipment
The reports had said the US authorities are concerned that cellphone towers in the country that have Huawei gear maybe capturing sensitive information from military bases and missile silos and sending these to China. The Biden administration believes Huawei is in a position to gather key data on the bases, including details on military drills, the reports said.
In the latest case, the US authorities say the arrested intelligence officers tried to hire a US law enforcement officer to work on behalf of the Chinese government and garner key information on the investigation into Huawei.
"The actions announced today take place against a backdrop of malign activity from the government of the People's Republic of China that includes espionage, attempts to disrupt our justice system, harassment of individuals, and ongoing efforts to steal sensitive US technology," Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said.