Earlier, the New York Times broke a story about China and Russia spying on President Trump’s personal phone calls via his unsecured iPhone. In a case of possibly the most dangerous iPhone addiction ever reported, Trump continues to use his phone despite being warned of the breach.
China has not remained silent on the matter. The Verge writer Sam Byford reports on China’s official response.
“Hua Chunying, frequent official spokesperson and deputy director of the Chinese foreign ministry’s information department, said ‘If they are very worried about iPhones being tapped, they can use Huawei,’ as reported by The Washington Post’s Luna Lin. Hua went on to dismiss the NYT’s report as ‘fake news,’ according to the South China Morning Post. ‘Seeing this report, I feel there are those in America who are working all-out to win the Oscar for best screenplay,’ she is reported to have said.”
It is interesting to note that China has made no official denial that takes the accusation seriously. Hua Chunying’s hectoring response was more a gibe than a denial.
It is also worthy of note that Huawei was particularly called out as an alternative to the iPhone. There are many Chinese smartphone manufacturers that are favorably reviewed with strong support from U.S. enthusiasts.
Part of the answer probably lies in the fact that Huawei has been the target of government scrutiny by the U.S. government. But that only explains part of it. ZTE was also equally a target. In August, Engadget reported in a headline, “US bans government personnel from using Huawei and ZTE devices.”
China may have reason to feel somewhat persecuted by U.S. news outlets. They are still dealing with the fallout from the Bloomberg piece alleging Chinese spy chips being placed in servers used by 30 companies. So far, there has been no corroboration of any aspect of the story and stringent denials of every claim from the parties mentioned.
Now, an even bigger U.S. news outlet is accusing them of espionage against the President of the United States with no named sources or technical corroborative evidence. The U.S. and China have a strained political relationship at the moment. An all-out trade war is a possibility that both parties want to avert. These types of accusations do not help.
So far, Apple has not made an official response to the story. It is doubtful that China’s teasing comments will be the last we hear on the matter.