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WORLD

By Dave Yin / Nov 07, 2019 05:09 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The Chinese government has again asked for the release of detained Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in some of its first comments on the matter since Canada’s federal election last month.

“We urge the new Canadian government to face up to China’s solemn position and concerns, release Ms. Meng Wanzhou at once, ensure her safe return to China and take concrete actions to move our relations back onto the right track,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference.

Geng was responding to a question on whether China’s resumption of meat imports from Canada this week signaled a thawing of relations that chilled when Meng was detained in Vancouver in December 2018 on U.S. charges of bank fraud. The Huawei executive is also accused of misleading HSBC Holdings about her company’s dealings with Iran, which the U.S. has sanctioned. She is fighting possible extradition to the United States.

Following Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, in what was widely seen as retaliation. The two men were accused in March of harming China’s national security. China also stopped accepting Canadian canola shipments that month and banned Canadian meat imports in June.

“The current difficulties were not caused by the Chinese side,” Geng said, referring to the strained ties with Canada.

Incumbent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party was reelected in the country’s federal election Oct. 21 but lost its majority in parliament.

Canadian officials previously said they would wait until after the election to make a decision on whether to ban Huawei, accused by Washington of being a national security threat, from its rollout of 5G networks.

Contact reporter Dave Yin (davidyin@caixin.com)

Related: TSMC Denies U.S. Pressure to Cut Huawei Chip Sales

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WORLD

By Matthew Walsh / Oct 25, 2019 04:07 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, on Thursday awarded China the right to host the first edition of an expanded Club World Cup in 2021, in a move that experts say could pave the way for the country to host world soccer’s showpiece international tournament in the coming years.

The tournament, which currently features seven club teams drawn from six continental confederations in a straight knockout format, will be revamped to include 24 teams in a yet-to-be-decided participation model.

The decision has been construed in sports circles as a trial run for a potential China-hosted FIFA World Cup — the soccer world’s showpiece international event — sometime in the 2030s.

“The new FIFA World Cup for clubs will be a competition which every person who loves football looks forward to,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in an announcement of the decision. “It is the first real and true world cup for the best teams and clubs in the world.”

However, certain rights groups condemned the decision to award the competition to a country suspected of multiple rights violations, including against some of its ethnic minorities, something the Chinese government has consistently denied.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

Related: In Depth: What China’s Naturalized Athletes Reveal About Its Immigration Policy

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By Qing Ying and Ren Qiuyu / Oct 25, 2019 01:45 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The 39 people found dead Wednesday in the container of a refrigeration truck in Essex, southeastern England, are not confirmed to be Chinese nationals, according to information from the Chinese Embassy to the U.K., disputing a statement from local British police, state-run CCTV reported on Friday.

Essex police said Thursday that the people were “believed to be Chinese nationals.” China’s foreign ministry said that embassy staff stationed in the U.K. were en route to verify “relevant information.”

“We read with heavy heart the reports about the death of 39 people in Essex, England. We are in close contact with the British police to seek clarification and confirmation of the relevant reports,” said Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the U.K., in an embassy statement posted on Twitter.

Essex police said in a statement that of the 39 people on the truck, 38 “are believed to be adults, and one is a young adult woman.” Eight of the deceased are women and 31 are men, the statement confirmed. The police also said that the first 11 victims had been transported to a nearby hospital for identification and post-mortem examinations.

The truck’s contained had traveled from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, Essex, where it was collected at around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday. At 1:40 a.m., local paramedics informed the police of the bodies of 38 adults and one minor in a truck container in a nearby industrial park.

The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old citizen of Northern Ireland, was arrested and is in questioning.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.

Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (qiuyuren@caixin.com)

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By Bloomberg / Oct 25, 2019 11:11 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

(Bloomberg) — The Chinese-owned video application TikTok may be a national security threat to the U.S. and should be investigated, two key senators said in a letter to the acting director of national intelligence.

“TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter Thursday to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

TikTok, owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, has been downloaded over 110 million times in the U.S. and its growing popularity creates “national security risks,” the senators wrote. Their concerns include the safety of data on the platform, potential censorship and possible foreign influence campaigns in the U.S., they said.

The letter is part of growing pressure on the U.S. government to investigate ByteDance and, more broadly, step up efforts to review the potential security threats of Chinese technology. Earlier this month, Republican Senator Marco Rubio wrote to the Treasury Department to ask for a national security investigation into ByteDance, the world’s largest startup with a valuation of $75 billion according to CB Insights.

Schumer and Cotton warned Thursday that China may compel TikTok to turn over the data it collects, which includes “user content and communications, IP address, location-related data, device identifiers, cookies, metadata, and other sensitive personal information.”

“Without an independent judiciary to review requests made by the Chinese government for data or other actions, there is no legal mechanism for Chinese companies to appeal if they disagree with a request,” the senators wrote. Even though TikTok says that it operates outside China and keeps U.S data in the U.S., ByteDance must follow Chinese laws and turn over any data requested by the government, they added.

TikTok is a relatively rare example of a Chinese social media platform achieving global success. It is mostly known for lighthearted content — including lip syncing and dancing — uploaded by mostly teenage users. The app’s popularity showed signs of waning in the third quarter of the year, with global user-downloads falling 4% from a year earlier.

Related: After Coming Under Fire in U.S., TikTok Hires Local Law Firm for Policy Advice

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By Timmy Shen / Sep 25, 2019 03:34 PM / World

Photo: Wei Yiyang/Caixin

Photo: Wei Yiyang/Caixin

The trade dispute between China and the U.S. will be an ongoing challenge, former World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Friday at a roundtable hosted by Caixin in Singapore.

In the U.S., the debate about confrontation is “starting to turn somewhat toward the question of what will confrontation really accomplish,” said Zoellick, who is also a former U.S. trade representative.

“Given the commonalities in the mutual interest, I think there’s a greater sense of ‘well, is this a one-sided issue?’” he said, adding that the tensions may give rise to a policy movement that combines elements of both competition and cooperation.

Multiple economists from both countries say that the U.S. business community used to be a prime support for relations with China. “A lot of businesses have done quite well in China, but there’s no doubt (that) over the past five or 10 years, the mood became more negative,” Zoellick said.

If disputes over trade and investment, intellectual property protection, and forced technology transfer can be resolved, it will be very important for members of the U.S. business community to speak up and recognize the changes, Zoellick said.

Zoellick also commented on regional development and the anxiety that China’s foreign policy has caused both in the U.S. and globally.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.

Contact reporter Timmy Shen (hongmingshen@caixin.com, Twitter: @timmyhmshen)

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By Matthew Walsh / Sep 23, 2019 04:37 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese telecom giant Huawei has denied reports that it is planning to team up with China Mobile to buy embattled Brazilian carrier Oi.

“Huawei has no plans or interest to acquire Oi or any other Brazilian carrier,” Huawei said in a statement.

On Saturday, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that Huawei, in tandem with China Mobile, was targeting the struggling Oi in a bid to expand its influence in Latin America. Oi, which controls around 360,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables, was a tantalizing proposition for the Chinese firm eager to cash in on Brazil’s eventual rollout of 5G wireless technology, the newspaper said.

Although Oi is Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier, the company has languished in the doldrums since 2016, when it filed for bankruptcy protection as it sought to restructure around 65 billion reais (then $19 billion) of debt.

Huawei’s statement comes as the besieged company struggles to broaden its interests in overseas 5G markets. Several countries have blacklisted Huawei from all or part of forthcoming 5G infrastructure due to suspicions that the company’s systems could be compromised by the Chinese state.

Huawei denies those claims and has tried to win over its doubters by striking increasingly altruistic notes. Last Monday, the company’s chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, said in an interview with The Economist that he is willing to license Huawei’s 5G technologies to the U.S. in order to help the country strengthen its own next-generation telecom industry, a development that experts described as a “smart public relations move.”

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

Related: China’s Huawei Woos Tech World With $1.5 Billion and 5G Secrets
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By Huang Kaixi, Zhou Meilin and Tang Ziyi / Sep 18, 2019 04:41 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s large refiners are facing uncertainties after a drone attack on an oilfield in Saudi Arabia halved supplies of crude, refiners and analysts told Caixin.

Saudi Arabia is the largest source of China’s crude oil imports, with state-owned giants China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and China National Petroleum Corp. the dominant buyers. In the first seven months of this year, China imported 44.8 million metric tons of crude from the kingdom, accounting for 16% of its total imports.

The weekend attack that damaged most light crude oil facilities in the desert kingdom has prompted the two Chinese firms to swap some of their crude to heavier grades, which yield less gasoline and other fuels, company insiders told Caixin.

Analysts at the consulting group Wood Mackenzie said it will take a few weeks until most output from Saudi Arabia is restored, but the Middle Eastern nation may face challenges in finding suitable kinds of crude to make up the shortage.

Read the full story later on Caixin Global.

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)

Related: PetroChina Pulls Back from Venezuela Oil as U.S. Sanctions Tighten

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By Lu Zhenhua / Sep 16, 2019 11:13 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

U.S. President Donald Trump recently tweeted that he suspects China is secretly hoping to win the prolonged trade war by waiting until after next year’s presidential election and then negotiating a better deal with a new Democratic administration.

But he’s wrong. In Beijing’s eyes, the difficulty of reaching a trade deal with the U.S. has nothing to do with the American election cycle. Instead, Washington’s unacceptable demands make it impossible for the Chinese government to compromise.

And there’s no assurance that the 2020 race won’t elect an even more economically protectionist candidate. Beijing has already been alarmed by worrisome messages from some progressive Democratic hopefuls, including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and his fellow senator, Elizabeth Warren.

Read the full piece on Caixin Global later today.

Contact writer Lu Zhenhua (zhenhualu@caixin.com)

Related: Investors Take Heart From Trump Comment on Possible Trade Deal

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By Bloomberg / Sep 11, 2019 09:28 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The U.S. government will need to hold talks with Huawei Technologies Co. for there to be a trade deal with China, a top executive at China’s largest technology company said.

“Can I imagine a trade deal where the U.S. government doesn’t agree to talk to us? No I can’t,” Huawei Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy said at a briefing in Budapest on Tuesday.

Huawei has become a focal point for U.S.-Chinese tensions and is regarded by some as a bargaining chip in the negotiations. Washington’s decision to stop the company buying American technology has cut it off from vital supplies, from Qualcomm Inc. chipsets to Google’s Android operating software.

The U.S. has urged countries and companies to reject Huawei technology in the next generation of wireless networks, telling allies it could put their citizens’ data at risk. Huawei has denied any wrongdoing and accused the U.S. of singling it out for political reasons.

Purdy said the U.S. crackdown against Huawei is hurting American companies and workers more than Huawei. He said the company spent $11 billion on U.S. supplies last year and an estimated 40,000 U.S. jobs depend on its business.

Huawei wants “transparent mechanisms” for evaluating its equipment and that of its competitors, which would build “trust through verification,” Purdy said.

“We’re not asking we should simply be allowed to sell without any scrutiny,” he said. “We believe there has to be scrutiny for everyone.”

Read all of Caixin's coverage of Huawei here.
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By Han Wei / Sep 10, 2019 04:55 AM / World

Kristalina Georgieva. Photo: VCG

Kristalina Georgieva. Photo: VCG

Kristalina Georgieva, the chief executive of the World Bank, was nominated as the sole candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund, succeeding Christine Lagarde, the fund said Monday in a statement.

As the only nominee, Georgieva “has confirmed willingness to be considered as a candidate” for the next managing director of the IMF as the period for submitting nominations for the position closed Sept. 6, the IMF said.

Georgieva, a 66-year-old Bulgarian economist, has served as chief executive of the World Bank since early 2017. She will be interviewed by IMF executive directors before her appointment is approved.

The Executive Board’s goal is to complete the selection process as soon as possible and at the latest by Oct. 4, the IMF said.

As a veteran official of the World Bank and the European Union, Georgieva has deep expertise in development matters such as gender equality, humanitarian issues and climate change, according to the World Bank website.

As CEO of the World Bank, Georgieva has built support across the international community to mobilize resources for poor and middle-income countries and to create better opportunities for vulnerable groups, the World Bank said.


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By Matthew Walsh / Sep 06, 2019 05:09 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese scientists have developed a method of folding graphene with atomic-level precision, potentially opening the door to an array of new technologies including faster, more powerful computer processors.

The technique, described Friday in the American peer-reviewed journal Science, is likened to molecular “origami.” Scientists used the tip of an extremely powerful microscope to lift the edge of a graphene sheet just a few nanometers wide, fold it back over itself, and place the edge at a desired location.

Previous attempts to fold graphene lacked the precision of the new method, with the super-thin material folding either accidentally or at random.

Graphene, a kind of lattice made of a single layer of carbon atoms, is the strongest and thinnest material known to exist. Because it conducts both heat and electricity extremely well, graphene has applications in everything from energy generation to batteries and sensors. It also appears in a variety of composite materials.

The new technique’s potential uses in computer processing are considered particularly exciting. As processor components get smaller and smaller, their properties become harder to control, holding back improvements in computer speed and performance. Manipulating graphene on a microscopic level may allow scientists to build powerful new kinds of processors one atom at a time.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

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By Guo Yingzhe / Aug 16, 2019 03:07 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Japan replaced China as the largest holder of U.S. government debt in June amid an escalating Sino-U.S. trade war.

Although China’s store of Treasury bonds rebounded by $2.3 billion to $1.11 trillion — up from a two-year low in May — Japan’s holdings grew by $21.9 billion to $1.12 trillion, reaching their highest point since October 2016, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The figures represent the first time since May 2017 that China is not the largest holder of Treasury bonds. Previous data from the U.S. Census Bureau also showed that China is no longer the U.S.’s largest trade partner, falling to third place during the first six months of the year behind Mexico and Canada.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Aug. 1 to impose additional tariffs of 10% on a further $300 billion of Chinese goods starting Sept. 1, further fanning the flames of an already-fierce trade war. However, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced Tuesday that new tariffs on certain goods will be delayed until mid-December.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (yingzheguo@caixin.com) 

Related: Charts of the Day: China No Longer No. 1 for U.S. as Trade Row Bites

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By Tanner Brown / Jul 31, 2019 10:23 AM / World

Monaco Monte Carlo harbour french riviera

Monaco Monte Carlo harbour french riviera

One of Morocco’s largest banks is teaming up with China to help develop a new industrial city in the north African country, Reuters reported.

BMCE Bank’s president and chief executive told the outlet that China will help finance and build a 2,000-hectare city over 10 years.

“The city, to be called Tanger Tech Mohammed VI, aims to support 100,000 jobs and house 300,000 people, and the first development phase has already been achieved with industrial investors expected to receive the first plots later this year, BMCE Bank President and CEO Othman Benjelloun said via email,” Reuters reported.

Related: Chinese Consortium Signs Up for $6 Billion Algeria Phosphate Project

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By Tianyu M. Fang / Jul 04, 2019 06:15 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The U.S. must remove all punitive tariffs if a deal is reached between Washington and Beijing, Gao Feng, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday.

Washington’s unilateral tariffs on Chinese exports were the starting point of the trade frictions, Gao said at a press briefing, stressing that tariffs hurt both sides and ultimately harm the interests of American corporations and consumers while creating uncertainty for the global economy.

At the recent G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to resume trade talks after months of escalated tension. Global markets rallied as the U.S. chose not to impose threatened additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

When asked whether the U.S. and China are competitors or enemies, President Trump told Caixin in Osaka that the two countries are “strategic partners.”

Related: Xi and Trump Agree to Restart Trade Talks While U.S. Halts Additional Tariffs

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/ Jun 17, 2019 07:42 PM / World

President Xi Jinping, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, will pay a state visit to North Korea on Thursday and Friday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Xi was invited by North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, according to the Xinhua report, which used the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim met with Xi in China four times between March 2018 and January 2019, according to earlier Xinhua reports (link in Chinese).

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By Bloomberg / Jun 10, 2019 12:25 PM / World

Russell Vought. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Russell Vought. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A senior White House official is seeking to delay putting in place portions of a law that limits the U.S. government’s business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co., according to a person familiar with the matter.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, White House acting budget chief Russell Vought asked to delay a provision of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that bars any executive agency, government contractor or company that receives a government loan or grant from using Huawei equipment.

Vought warned that the law will place burdens on U.S. companies that use Huawei technology, according to the person. The Wall Street Journal, which reported Vought’s letter earlier Sunday, said he warned that the law could dramatically reduce the number of companies that would be able to supply the U.S. government.

The Trump administration has said Huawei, China’s largest technology company, represents a national security threat and has been pressing allies to exclude the company from 5G networks. The administration has also blacklisted the Chinese company, cutting off the supply of American components it needs to make its smartphones and networking gear.

View Caixin Global's full coverage of Huawei

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By Yang Ge / Jun 06, 2019 04:03 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The budding romance between China and Russia is reaching new heights.

Forget about their newest agreement to “upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era,” which was announced Wednesday by the Xinhua news agency.

For local people, there may have been more interest in the latest headlines coming from the zoological front, which have China bestowing a pair of pandas on the Moscow zoo. According to English website of Russian news outlet RT, the gift makes Russia just one of 18 countries globally to host the cuddly creatures, which typically become instant celebrities at any zoos where they reside.

The pair, named Ru Yi and Ding Ding, were actually given to Russia at the end of April but made their formal debut this week on a visit to the country by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Reuters reported. The pair are on loan to Moscow for 15 years as part of a research program.

Pandas are one of China’s most recognizable symbols, and lending of the animals to zoos around the world has become a common act of goodwill to other countries, leading some to call the practice “panda diplomacy.” One of the earliest such acts came following Richard Nixon’s famous trip to China in 1972, after which the U.S. was given a pair of pandas that resided at the Washington zoo for decades until their deaths.

Related: The Three Most Overrated China Travel Experiences

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)


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By Zhao Runhua and Teng Jing Xuan / Jun 04, 2019 06:31 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese citizens and companies in the U.S. risk “harassment” from law enforcement authorities and should also be wary of increased violent crime, Beijing said in two travel alerts issued Tuesday amid escalating trade tensions between the two countries.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in one alert that U.S. authorities had used customs inspections and drop-in interviews to harass Chinese nationals.

Chinese citizens should also be aware of increased cases of “gun shooting, robbery and theft” in the U.S., China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in its own travel notice.

When asked about the warnings, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that the U.S. authorities “should know clearly in their hearts” what they have done, the People’s Daily reported.

The two notices will be valid until the end of the year, and follow a Monday warning from China’s Ministry of Education about extended visa processing periods and increased rejection rates faced by Chinese students studying in the U.S.

Related: China Issues Warning Over U.S. Student Visa ‘Risks’

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)

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By Zhao Runhua / Jun 03, 2019 05:53 PM / World

People wait in line to apply for visas outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing on June 26, 2012. Photo: VCG

People wait in line to apply for visas outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing on June 26, 2012. Photo: VCG

China is urging citizens to be wary of heightened “risks” when studying in the U.S.

Some Chinese citizens who had applied to study or are currently enrolled at U.S. institutions have faced constraints including extended visa processing periods and increased rejection rates, according to a warning issued Monday by the Ministry of Education, which asked Chinese people to “strengthen assessment of risks” when planning to study abroad.

Reports emerged earlier this year of Chinese students and scholars in engineering and science programs at U.S. universities experiencing problems similar to the ones described in the warning.

“We hope to allow people to legally travel and immigrate to the United States while protecting U.S. citizens and national security,” a spokesperson from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing told Caixin in March in response to the issue.

Related: In Depth: Chinese Students in Limbo as Wait for U.S. Visas Stretches for Months

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By Tang Ziyi / Jun 03, 2019 01:10 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

One of the world’s largest science publishers has lifted a ban limiting Huawei employees’ participation in the peer review process, even as recent U.S. restrictions on the Chinese telecom company place pressure on international partners to cut ties.

The U.S.-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said Monday it would no longer ban Huawei staff from certain peer review procedures for research papers published by the IEEE.

It’s a reversal of a ban enacted by the IEEE last week to comply with a U.S. Department of Commerce decision to place Huawei on its “entity list,” which effectively prohibits American companies from selling technology to the embattled telecommunications giant.

IEEE now says the initial restrictions had been intended “to protect our volunteers and our members from legal risk,” but that the risk had been addressed after it received clarification from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“All IEEE members, regardless of employer, can continue to participate in all of the activities of the IEEE,” the organization said on Monday.

Huawei’s inclusion on the entity list, widely seen as a sign of the Trump administration doubling down on its accusation that Chinese firms regularly steal U.S. technology, has prompted fears of a freeze in academic cooperation between the two countries.

Last week, the China Computer Federation, China’s leading computer science research community, responded to the IEEE’s initial restrictions on Huawei staff by cutting off ties with an IEEE division.

Related: U.K.’s 5G Launch Gives Huawei Spot of Good News After Recent Setbacks

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