BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Is the technology giant Huawei a private and independent company, as its leaders contend, or a spying front for the Chinese state, as U.S. officials suggest but have never proved?
Despite prolonged administrative and Congressional investigations that have produced no evidence to substantiate the latter, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) apparently decided to see for itself, prying into the servers of Huawei's sealed headquarters, according to the latest revelations by The New York Times and Der Spiegel.
We could not independently verify the story but the United States has not denied it. Given the NSA has been all-pervasive -- even hacking the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the aggression against a Chinese enterprise -- one that is in fact wholly private -- shall come as no surprise.
What did surprise us was that the United States actually had the audacity to flag Huawei as a security threat and lecture other countries -- not least China -- on cyber security and intellectual property, all the while penetrating private networks and accessing secret source codes.
The irony here is that what the United States did -- or has been doing -- is exactly what it has consistently charged China as doing through Huawei.
In fact, China has been a major victim of cyber attacks with millions of computers under siege every year, according to the country's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center.
China on Monday asked the United States to explain spying activities it allegedly carried out on Huawei as well as China's Ministry of Commerce, national banks and top officials and told it to stop such acts.
China is greatly concerned about the news reports, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, adding that media organizations have recently disclosed a lot of eavesdropping, surveillance and stealing of secret information by the United States, targeting other countries, including China.
Despite reporting a 40-billion-USD revenue as a leading global information and telecommunications technology solutions provider, Huawei apparently fell victim to one country that has not welcomed its otherwise internationally popular businesses.
Trumped-up national security concerns have on more than one occasion swathed Chinese companies, even privately owned ones like Huawei, often as a pretext for trade protectionism.
But demonization and a de facto ban on doing business in the United States is one thing; state-sponsored cyber invasion and the use of a private company as a springboard to other "targets" that "communicate over Huawei-produced products," as The New York Times reported, has revealed a new level of insidiousness.
The genius of America has been to convince the world of its high moral standing. We wonder how much credibility the United States will have left in the rest of the world as more and more dark secrets are exposed.