Doing business with Huawei: the battle between economic growth and human/animal rights

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, has agreed, against America’s wishes, to use Huawei technology and equipment to help build a 5G network in the UK. He had to do it because there is no alternative business that can quickly help to install 5G into the UK. One of the central planks of Boris Johnson’s successful election was to use the freedoms gained from leaving the EU to rapidly advance technology businesses. Indeed there is a great need to demonstrate to the world that the UK can, independently, advance rapidly, globally and economically. Johnson wants the UK to successfully compete against the world after Brexit. It is one reason to justify Brexit. In order to do that 5G is important.

Animal rights
Animal rights.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

In short, the Prime Minister of the UK is personally committed and has been elected on the above promises. He can’t let voters down and therefore he has to ignore China’s terrible record on human and animal rights. The decision, therefore, was a battle between morality and economic growth. Internationally, a country’s economic growth always trumps morality. You might get individual businesses acting ethically and making a good profit. However, in regards to the global competition between countries, I think you’ll find that there is no single country that stunts their economic growth because they take a moral stance on human and animal rights violations in trading partners.

His partner, Carrie Symonds is an animal advocate. I wonder how the discussions on Huawei with her unfolded in the quiet of their flat at No: 11.

Human Rights

You don’t have to look far to read about China’s human rights abuses. For example, the Chinese authorities have dramatically stepped up repression and systematic abuses against the 13 million Turkic Muslims in China’s north-western Xinjiang region. There is arbitrary, mass detention, torture and mistreatment as reported by Human Rights Watch.

Intellectual Property Theft

Many years ago, in order to compete aggressively with the rest of the world, China decided to bypass the usual research and development routes and simply steal intellectual property from businesses across the planet. For ages, intellectual property theft has been rampant in China as reported by America confirms that China has been stealing intellectual property for years. A report by the National Bureau of Asian Research in 2017 estimated that the theft of trade secrets could be as high as $600 billion in terms of economic value.

Animal Rights

My particular concern is the abject failure to support animal rights in China. As I have mentioned many times, there are virtually no animal welfare laws in China. For a country with the second largest economy, it is unforgivable for the government to openly reject the protection of animal welfare. This abdication of their duty to be concerned about animal welfare results in widespread animal abuse. Perhaps the best-known of these is the brutal dog and cat fur trade and the uniquely distasteful dog and cat meat markets. Of course, there are others: the roundup and mass killing of street cats and dogs before the Beijing Olympics comes to mind as one example. This was state sponsored animal cruelty.

It is notable too that many years ago China eradicated the South China tiger from the country. It’s a large country. There was room to share it with the tiger but they failed in that regard, quite abjectly. In China there’s a very long history of buying then killing at live wild animal markets and eating exotic animals for unfounded health benefits. The recent coronavirus outbreak is an example of what can happen when you participate in this sort of objectionable activity.


There is always competition between behaving morally and activities which are economically beneficially. Governments have to make a choice and as the global model is economic growth they feel that choice is taken from them. They have to conveniently forget about animal rights abuses in China, the suppression of Muslims, the marketing of human body parts from prisoners, mass intellectual property theft etc., in order to compete with this country which does not play by the rules of the game.


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