What happened: Several Huawei employees worked with members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on research projects from artificial intelligence to radio communications, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. At least 10 papers Bloomberg found on online academic databases were co-authored by Huawei employees and members of various organs of the PLA out of thousands authored by either party. A company spokesman said that Huawei was not aware of the joint projects and it did not have any research and development partnerships with PLA-affiliated institutions.
Why it’s important: The US has long been suspicious that the Shenzhen-based company may plant “backdoor” access into its 5G equipment so data can be accessed by Chinese intelligence agencies. This distrust spurred the ongoing crackdown on the company. The jointly published papers do not provide a clear link between Huawei and the military because tech companies worldwide including Google and Microsoft have collaborated with military agencies for decades. But Huawei’s response—claiming ignorance—does little to mitigate the suspicions.