Huawei’s new charm offensive to win over skeptics in the free world includes a fresh target: the media.
The Chinese telecommunications giant sponsored an event Tuesday with The Wall Street Journal on “security and safety in an unstable world” after accusing the newspaper of bias against Huawei and a lack of credibility.
Representatives from Huawei and The Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones, did not address how the relationship went from hostile to chummy during the event. The virtual discussion included a disclaimer that The Journal’s newsroom was not involved in the event’s planning.
Former Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel sharply criticized her former employer’s decision to join forces with the Chinese company, which many see as a stalking horse for the communist regime.
“So America’s leading business publication makes $ from a genocidal, totalitarian state’s surveillance arm,” Ms. Kissel said in a message on Twitter last week. “Might be legal but certainly not moral. Appalling, really.”
Ms. Kissel served in the Trump administration, which aimed to restrict Huawei’s footprint in the U.S. The editorial board is not a part of The Journal’s newsroom.
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The Journal reported in 2020 that U.S. officials said Huawei had the ability to access back doors in mobile phone networks. The Chinese company responded by accusing the paper of bias and amplifying lies.
During the virtual event Tuesday, Andy Purdy, chief security officer of Huawei Technologies USA, fielded questions from Dow Jones global commercial consulting editor Willem Marx without any hint of lingering resentment.
Mr. Marx asked Mr. Purdy to rate the U.S. government and others’ efforts on cybersecurity and privacy risks. Mr. Purdy replied with praise for the Biden administration.
“Particularly in the areas with cybersecurity I think there’s been a heightened interest and attention and very strong public-private partnership the last couple years,” Mr. Purdy said. “It takes a while to bring those things into fruition. I think they were helped somewhat by President Biden’s executive order on cybersecurity almost a year and a half ago.”
Huawei has redoubled its lobbying efforts since President Trump left the White House.
Huawei has spent nearly $4.5 million on lobbying during Mr. Biden’s first two years in office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org database.
Huawei spent just $3.68 million during Mr. Trump’s four years in office. The majority of the lobbying was in 2019. Mr. Trump issued an executive order that year effectively blocking Huawei from U.S. communication networks.
Officials from Huawei and The Journal’s publisher did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the cost of Huawei’s sponsorship and Huawei’s past criticism of The Journal. Mr. Marx and Mr. Purdy ignored a question about the businesses’ relationship during Tuesday’s event.