China Voices “Grave Concern” Over Arrest Of Huawei Exec Accused Of Spying In Poland
Update 2: More details are emerging about the Friday arrest on espionage charges of a Chinese national and Huawei executive living in Poland.
The individual has been identified by the South China Morning Post as “Weijing W,” also known as Stanislaw Wang. In addition to Wang, Polish authorities have also arrested a former Polish senior intelligence agent in Warsaw on suspicion of spying.
Poland is Huawei’s headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe. And a LinkedIn page attributed to W said he studied Polish at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
According to his Linkedln profile, Weijing Wang is a Polish language graduate of Beijing Foreign Studies University. From 2006, he worked at the Chinese consulate in Gdansk before starting work at Huawei in 2011 and taking over responsibility for the company’s public relations in Poland. In 2017, he was appointed sales director of Huawei’s Polish operations.
As expected, Beijing is not happy, warning that it has “grave concerns” about the arrest.
On Friday, China’s foreign ministry expressed grave concerns over the incident and urged Poland to protect the lawful rights of the Chinese detainee.
Polish public broadcaster TVP identified the Huawei employee as the Chinese company’s sales director in Poland, “Weijing W”, also known as Stanislaw Wang.
The two suspects have been accused of working for China to spy on Poland.
Because Weijing W isn’t covered by diplomatic immunity, he can remain in detention for three months. China has already offered diplomatic services for its detained citizen. Huawei has also said that it’s aware of the situation and released a brief statement.
A Chinese diplomatic source told the South China Morning Post that a senior Chinese embassy official contacted the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs offering consular services for the Chinese detainee.
Because he was not covered by diplomatic immunity, Weijing W would remain in detention for at least three months, according to TVP.
“Huawei is aware of the situation, and we are looking into it. We have no comment for the time being,” the company said in a statement.
“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based.”
Any polish businessmen working in China should be advised: Now would be a good time to get the hell out of Dodge.
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Update: Polish officials have clarified that the arrest of the Huawei executive stemmed from personal transgressions, not from his actions in an official capacity on behalf of the company.
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In the latest sign that the US’s western allies are heeding its warnings about the espionage threat posed by Huawei and its executives, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Poland had arrested a Huawei executive based in the country and accused him of “conducting high-level espionage on behalf of a Chinese spy agency.”
According to a source quoted by Reuters, the executive was well-known in local tech circles.
“The Chinese national is a businessman working for a major electronics company…the Pole is a person known in circles associated with cyber business,” Maciej Wasik, the deputy head of Poland’s special services, told PAP.
Officers from Poland’s counterintelligence agency have searched Huawei’s office, leaving with documents and electronic data. They also searched the executive’s home on Tuesday.
The executive’s name wasn’t released. A Chinese national, he was identified only as a graduate of one of China’s top intelligence colleges, as well as a former employee of the Chinese consulate in the port city of Gdansk.
But the Chinese national wasn’t the only person arrested in the crackdown: Polish police also arrested a citizen who was identified as a former top official in the Polish intelligence agency’s IT security department.
“Huawei is aware of the situation, and we are looking into it,” a spokesman for the company said.
Both suspects have been charged with espionage, a crime that carries up to 10 years’ imprisonment. They have reportedly pleaded not guilty. The arrest comes little more than a month after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on charges of helping the company violate US and EU sanctions against Iran.
While little is known about this incident, we will be watching out for reports that Chinese authorities have arrested a handful of Polish nationals on vague “national security”-related violations.