China Telecom: FCC Bans Company from Operating in the United States – Community News
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China Telecom: FCC Bans Company from Operating in the United States

The US Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday it has ordered China Telecom to suspend US services within 60 days, citing findings that the company’s US subsidiary is “subject to exploitation, influence and control by the Chinese government”.

The company will also be “very likely to be forced to comply with requests from the Chinese government without adequate legal proceedings subject to independent judicial oversight.”

The FCC’s move is the culmination of a long dispute with China Telecom, which has operated in the United States for nearly two decades. The agency said it gave the company a chance last December to counter concerns about its presence in the United States, but China Telecom has failed to do so.

“The FCC’s decision is disappointing,” a spokesperson for China Telecom Americas told CNN Business. “We intend to pursue all available options as we continue to serve our mobile customers.”

The company’s main activity is located in China. It says it has about 370 million mobile customers.

China Telecom does not divide its customers by region. The US subsidiary was founded in 2002 and the company claims to provide services to companies and carriers between the Americas and China.

This is not the first time that China Telecom has been the target of punitive measures from the United States.

In January, the New York Stock Exchange said it would divest three Chinese telecom stocks — including China Telecom — to comply with an executive order signed by then-President Donald Trump. The order banned Americans from investing in companies the US government believes are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

China Telecom has since ceased trading in the United States. Shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.7% on Wednesday.

Washington has imposed sanctions on other major Chinese companies in recent years. Trump banned US companies in 2019 from using telecom equipment from sources the government sees as threats to national security — an order that directly affected Chinese company Huawei, a major global supplier of telecommunications equipment.

Huawei has long said it is a private company that operates independently of the Chinese government, but the United States has accused the company of posing a threat to national security.

Although President Joe Biden has taken a different tone with Beijing than his brash and outspoken predecessor, relations between the United States and China have not improved significantly.

Tensions rose recently even after Biden said the United States was determined to defend Taiwan if the self-governing island was attacked by China. The comments appeared to contradict America’s declared policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, although the White House claimed there was no change in policy.
However, China’s foreign ministry warned hours after the comments that the United States “should not send the wrong signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan’s independence”. Although the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, Beijing considers the island an “inseparable part” of its territory and has repeatedly threatened to use force if necessary to prevent the island from formally declaring independence.

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