FCC tacks China Unicom onto list of Chinese telcos banned in the US

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The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has removed the authority for China Unicom to operate in the US for national security reasons.

The agency’s four commissioners voted unanimously to revoke the licence of China Unicom’s US subsidiary, with the agency explaining that the telco’s presence in the US posed a national security risk for the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and misroute US communications and engage in espionage.

“In March 2021, the Commission found that China Unicom Americas had failed to dispel serious concerns regarding its retention of its authority to provide telecommunications services in the United States,” the FCC said in a statement.

“[China Unicom] is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”

The state-owned China Unicom has also been accused of misleading the FCC and Congress about the activities it conducted in the US, which the agency said has fractured the telco’s ability to be trusted given the critical nature of being a provider of telecommunications services.

With the ban, China Unicom joins China

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