China Denounces U.S. Government Rejection Of Lenovo

Calling the U.S. government's decision not to use computers made by Chinese firm Lenovo due to security risks a violation of fair trade, China also said the this attitude reflects a "Cold War mentality."

"This is a discriminatory policy against the normal business of the Lenovo (Group)," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan said in a statement on May 30. "It embodies a Cold War mentality and is arbitrarily invoking national security as a reason. This decision is unwise, it is an obstacle that violates fair competition and the principles of free trade," he said.

Chong's comments, posted on the ministry website, were the government's first on the issue since Washington announced on May 18 that the State Department would not go ahead with a plan to install 16,000 Lenovo computers.

The State Department bowed to angry objections from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan panel of experts appointed by Congress, to review the deal for the computers signed in March. U.S. politicians had said the plan to install the Lenovo computers raised serious concerns given accusations that China was aggressively spying on the U.S.

In 2004, Lenovo acquired the personal computer business of IBM for $1.75 billion, in what was then the largest buyout of an overseas concern by a mainland Chinese firm. The takeover was cleared by Washington despite objections from members of Congress about Lenovo being owned by Legend Holdings, which in turn is majority-owned by the state's Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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