Beijing’s envoy to Canada on Saturday denied that Chinese companies were involved in industrial espionage, and challenged anyone to prove the contrary.
“I can assure you that our companies working in other countries are strictly doing business according to the local laws,” Ambassador Zhang Junsai told CBC radio.
“If you really have the evidence, come (out) with it. If not...shut up,” he told CBC.
The diplomat blamed the allegations on “a Cold War mentality.”
According to the ambassador, “even the United States could not give out evidence.”
The comments came after a US House of Representatives panel in October concluded that Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat and should be barred from US contracts and acquisitions.
The US House Intelligence Committee panel launched its probe over concerns that China could use the fast-growing firms for economic or military espionage, or cyber attacks.
Both Huawei and ZTE have denied any ties with the Chinese government. Top firm executives appeared at Capitol Hill in September, stressing that they were focused on business, not politics.
The ambassador’s statement came as Canada’s Conservative Party government extended a probe into the proposed US$15.1 billion takeover of Calgary-based oil and gas company Nexen by China’s state-owned CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
“We’re here not to grab your resources. We’re here to participate,” the ambassador told CBC.
A mid-October poll showed that nearly 60 per cent of all Canadians fear that CNOOC would have a competitive advantage over public companies or believe foreign governments should not be able to control resources on Canadian soil.