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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ejected China Unicom from the US market on Thursday, adding to the tally of Chinese telecommunications companies sanctioned by the agency over security concerns.

Thursday’s actions on a 4-0 vote follows 2021’s FCC action to bar China Telecom (Americas) Corporation, and the agency’s refusal two years earlier to let China Mobile enter the US market.

China Unicom must discontinue services in the US within 60 days of the order’s release. 

Thursday’s vote shows potential espionage and data theft by Chinese state-owned companies remains a concern under US President Joe Biden after being elevated as an issue by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel called the action “another critical step to protect our communications network from foreign national security threats”.

The unit, formally known as China Unicom (Americas) Operations, was earlier challenged by the FCC to show it was independent from the Chinese government, or face a proceeding that could result in ejection from the US market. 

China Unicom replied that it had operated in the US for nearly 20 years through a subsidiary that fully complies with the law. In a June 2020 filing, China Unicom said it had followed rules and there was no basis to oust it from the US.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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