Taiwan’s national security agencies are mulling new initiatives to expand a ban on government departments, the military, universities and statutory bodies using Chinese-made information and telecommunications equipment, social networking apps or office software.
Taiwanese newspaper reports say the Executive Yuan will also issue a set of guidelines on how to dispose of equipment and applications from China as well as subsequent procurement of new equipment, with a list of specific Chinese companies whose products and services may pose threats to Taiwan’s security.
Until now, the ban implemented by the government, military and telecom operators has only singled out Huawei.
Chinese companies that could be banned include ZTE, which last year pleaded guilty to US sanctions breaches; Hikvision, whose surveillance products the Chinese government allegedly used to spy on Uighurs in Xinjiang; and Lenovo, which has been implicated in several Chinese-led espionage cases. Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and other manufacturers of electronic hardware would also be excluded from bidding for government orders.
If the new initiatives are enforced, government employees and servicemen could also be banned from using smartphones and other devices from these Chinese brands.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s National Communications Commission has reiterated that prior approval is a must before importing infrastructure equipment produced abroad, including core networks, communication devices, and base stations and transmitters used by TV or radio stations.
But the government is now being prodded to clarify if products of Western companies made in China by Chinese contract manufacturers will also face restrictions, and if Taiwan-branded equipment assembled in Chinese factories will be exempt from new restrictions.