Huawei Under Fire After Forced Labour Claims Spark BT Probe

By Shabana Arif on at

Huawei can't seem to get break this week, and is in the spotlight once more, this time over forced labour allegations.

After a group of Tory MPs piped up about their dissatisfaction with Boris Johnson's decision to allow Huawei to be involved in the UK's 5G infrastructure, it seems they're doing everything they can to prove that the Chinese tech giant can't be trusted, with MP Bob Seely alluding to potential instances of forced labour.

Seely points to a study from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) that suggests that Huawei's contractors are using forced labour from China's Muslim minority. He has since asked BT to investigate on the grounds that the telecoms company needs to ensure that the companies it deals with aren't running modern slavery rings, as per its official Modern Slavery Statement.

Apparently, ASPI's study notes three examples of forced labour being used by Huawei subcontractors, and the company says it's aware of the report and is carrying out its own investigation, saying:

"We require all our suppliers to comply with international standards and applicable laws as a condition of doing business with us. We have read the ASPI report and are looking into the matter.”

BT is already liaising with Huawei and has said:

"We’re committed to respecting human rights, including international labour standards, in our own business and in our supply chain.

"Forced labour is never acceptable in our own operations or those of our suppliers, and we have engaged with Huawei in connection with these allegations.”

Huawei is already in hot water following the leak of internal documents that suggest it ignored trade sanctions to send prohibited US hardware to Iran. Things aren't looking great for the tech company right now. [The Guardian]