U.S. Expands “Clean Network,” Aimed at China

  • Pompeo stated that the "Clean Network" operation is designed to protect the privacy of American citizens and companies.
  • Many of the world's largest telecommunications companies have also been "cleaned up."
  • Some commentators equated the U.S. net-cleaning campaign with China’s Great Firewall.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a further expansion of the “Clean Network” operation Wednesday, in order to “maintain the security of American assets.” According to the US State Department, more than 30 countries and regions have joined the U.S. clean network operation.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology company, providing technological equipment and consumer electronics. It is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, and the second-largest smartphone manufacturer, behind Samsung. Huawei has been heavily criticized for cybersecurity concerns and surveillance usage by the Chinese government.

In the announcement, Pompeo stated that the “Clean Network” operation is designed to protect the privacy of American citizens and the most sensitive information of American companies from aggressive intrusion by malicious actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He stated that in order to protect America’s important telecommunications and technological infrastructure, he started with “five new fronts.” This is also on the basis of what the US announced on April 29 this year, that it will start the “5G network sweeping the road,” and further restrictions on Chinese technology companies.

Many of the world’s largest telecommunications companies have also been cleaned up, promising to use only trusted telecommunications providers in their clean networks. The United States also called on all allies and allied governments to join this “Clean Network” operation, to ensure the security of citizens’ information.

Technological Iron Curtain

Some observers believe that this time, the United States launched an expanded version of the “Clean Network” operation directly aimed at China. The “Clean 5G” operation in April was to prevent the Chinese company Huawei from participating in the construction of the 5G network in the United States. This time, it expanded the cleanup of Chinese technology companies from the infrastructure to the application level.

Some commentators equated the U.S. net-cleaning campaign with China’s Great Firewall. They believed that the U.S. had created an “iron curtain of science and technology” outside China’s firewall, with the intention of completely excluding China’s high-tech industries from the future international digital economy.

Experts from various sources pointed out that the digital economy will be the largest and most critical driving force of the world economy in the next one to two decades. Whoever wins the dominance of the world’s digital economy will win the dominance of the future world economy.

TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos.

It is not yet clear how the United States will implement cleaning operations on these five new fronts, and what power the US government has to clean up the network. At the same time, it remains to be seen whether US allies around the world will respond to the call of the United States and collectively follow up to decouple from Chinese technology.

Before the United States announced this expansion, TikTok became a Chinese application that was accused of threatening the national security of the United States. President Trump promised to ban TikTok by September 15, unless it is sold to a US company. At present, the American corporation Microsoft is in negotiation to acquire TikTok, which is still in progress.

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized the United States for “unscrupulous measures to contain and suppress Chinese private enterprises, deducing textbook bullying” through the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Wang said that the Chinese companies currently unilaterally sanctioned by the United States are innocent, and hope that the United States will change its “narrow and selfish mentality and return to the right path of open cooperation.”

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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