TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Thursday (July 18), Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka announced that Taiwan’s government will be introducing a blacklist of Chinese telecom products at the end of July prohibiting public agencies from purchasing or using designated Chinese ICT products.
The news of the blacklist follows after the introduction new guidelines in April, which govern use of ICT products among government agencies in Taiwan. The measures call for heightened oversight and regulation of telecom equipment to protect national security.
According to media reports, the new blacklist being drafted will prohibit the use of Huawei, ZTE, and Hikvision products across all government agencies and organizations. Huawei has already been under heavy scrutiny by Taiwanese authorities for years because of the corporation’s close ties to China’s military.
An official ban on government agencies' use of Huawei 4G products has been in effect since late 2014. However officials began to redouble their efforts to root out potentially dangerous ICT equipment from December 2018 following reports that Huawei was a “Trojan horse” being used for a global espionage campaign by China.
In late January, the first reports that an expanded blacklist on Chinese telecom products was in the works began to surface. At the time it was reported that Lenovo brand products would also be added to the list of banned ICT equipment.
Now it appears a more comprehensive blacklist is almost ready to be released, with ZTE and Hikvision added to the list of companies banned from selling products to Taiwanese government agencies. ZTE has been included because of its history of sanctions violations, and Hikvision has been targeted because of the company’s involvement with surveillance and detention of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province, reports China Times.
The complete blacklist has not yet been finalized according to Kolas, and more companies may be added in the coming days.
In related news, the Taichung City government announced on Thursday that it would be removing all security cameras around the city manufactured by Hikvision within the coming week.
In March of 2019, Taiwan’s National Communications Commission announced that it was also banning broadcasters and telecom operators from using equipment supplied by China due to national security concerns. Then in May, two of Taiwan’s top telecom service providers, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile, announced they would cease to sell Huawei smartphones once their remaining stock was depleted.