Oxford suspends research funding from China's Huawei

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018 file photo, The Huawei office building at its research and development centre at Dongguan in south China's Guangdong province. In a statement issues Thursday Jan. 17, 2019, Britain's Oxford University says it is suspending research grants and funding donations from Huawei amid growing security concerns about the Chinese telecom giant. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, FILE)

Oxford University suspends research grants, funding donations from Huawei, amid growing security concerns about the Chinese telecom giant

LONDON — Oxford University says it is suspending research grants and funding donations from Huawei amid growing security concerns about the Chinese telecom giant.

It's another setback for Huawei's image in Europe, an important market for the company, which has been effectively blocked in the U.S. over concerns its technology poses a cybersecurity risk. It's now facing increasing scrutiny in Europe, where it is expected it to play a major role in building new fifth-generation mobile networks.

The university decided on Jan. 8 that "it will not pursue new funding opportunities" with Huawei or related companies, it said in a statement Thursday.

The decision, which applies to both funding of research contracts and philanthropic donations, was made "in the light of public concerns raised in recent months" surrounding the company's U.K. partnerships.

Two existing research projects worth a combined 692,000 pounds ($895,000) will continue, it said.

"We hope these matters can be resolved shortly and note Huawei's own willingness to reassure governments about its role and activities," the university said.

Huawei said it was "not informed of this decision" and awaits the university's full explanation.

Britain's defense secretary and its intelligence chief both voiced concerns last month about Huawei's involvement in the country's rollout of 5G networks.

Huawei's troubles are expanding elsewhere in Europe. The company fired its sales director in Poland last week after authorities there arrested him on charges of spying for China. The Czech Republic has warned against using Huawei equipment because of security fears and Norway is rethinking the company's role in its telecom networks.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said in a rare interview this week that his company would never share secrets about its customers and their communications networks. Ren's daughter, who is also the company's chief financial officer, is fighting a U.S. request that she be extradited from Canada on charges related to Iran sanctions violations.

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