A federal appeals court last week rejected China Telecom’s emergency attempt to overturn a US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order revoking its capacity to provide telecommunications services in the United States.
According to a Reuters report, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the previously filed bid by the local subsidiary of China Telecom to temporarily block the FCC order, which will take effect in early January.
Following this legal decision, China Telecom said that without a temporary halt to the FCC action, it “will be forced to cease important activities, causing irreparable harm to its business, reputation and relationships.”
In October, the FCC issued an order ending China Telecom Americas’ ability to provide domestic interstate and international telecommunications services within the US. China Telecom immediately appealed the ban.
“Promoting national security is an integral part of the Commission’s responsibility to advance the public interest, and today’s action fulfills that mission to protect the country’s telecommunications infrastructure from potential security threats,” the FCC said. .
The FCC said China Telecom Americas, a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned company, is subject to “exploitation, influence and control” by the Chinese government and will most likely be forced to comply with requests from the Chinese government without adequate legal process. to independent judicial oversight.
“Given the changed national security environment related to China since the Commission authorized China Telecom Americas nearly twenty years ago to provide telecommunications services in the United States, the Association finds that the ownership and control of China Telecom Americas by the Chinese government significantly increase national security. and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Telecom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misdirect US communications, allowing them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States,” the FCC said.
According to a recent report by the South China Morning Mail, China Telecom Americas has been operating in the US for nearly 20 years. The company has said its target customers are “the more than 4 million Chinese Americans; the 2 million Chinese tourists who visit the United States every year; the 300,000 Chinese students at American colleges; and the more than 1,500 Chinese companies in America.”
In April 2020, the FCC warned it could halt the US operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies, citing national security risks, including China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) after US agencies had expressed concerns about national security.