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The USCC launched a probe against Lenovo, but many wonder if the accusations are warranted

The United States government is planning to spend roughly $13M USD on computers from Lenovo. The company, famous for buying up IBM's PC manufacturing arm, is working on a deal with the US government to produce roughly 16,000 computers. Just recently, the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission (USCC) has requested that Lenovo be probed for any concerns about possible spying, eavesdropping or worse.

The supposed problem presented by the USCC is that the 16,000 computers are being built by a Chinese-mainland company.  The USCC argues that a foreign intelligence like that of the Communist Party of China (CPC) can use its power to get Lenovo to equip its machines with espionage devices. Lenovo has strongly declined that it is involved in any such activities.

Many analysts would call these probes are excessive and knee-jerk.  When manufactured under IBM, almost all Lenovo PCs were built in the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) to some degree or another anyway.  Of the top 10 system builders in the US, eight have some component manufacture attributed specifically to ECS-Tatung, at Taiwanese corporation that only assembles exclusively in the PRC.  Of the other two not represented by ECS-Tatung, Dell and Apple, Dell has a strong reliance on ASUStek -- another company that builds exclusively in the PRC. 

Despite the probe, Lenovo says that its international business, especially those that deal with the US, follow strictly laid out government regulations and rules. Lenovo also claims that even after purchasing IBM's PC division, its international business has not been affected negatively. Interestingly, in an interview with the BBC, Lenovo mentioned that an open investigation or probe may negatively affect the way that the company deals with future government contracts or bids. The Lenovo representative did not explain details on exactly what negative implications would occur if there were future investigations. The 16,000 PCs to be built for the US government are actually assembled outside of China in Mexico, Taiwan and Raleigh -- an oddity in the PC manufacturing business.

A top tier motherboard manufacturer spokesman spoke to us off the record claiming the Lenovo probe has "foreboding" implications.  If US companies are intimidated by probes of the USCC, such probes could be easily applied to virtually every PC manufacturer in the US: Intel motherboards are built by Taiwanese Hon Hai Precision Industries from facilities in Shenzhen; Acer components are built by component manufacturers in Shanghai; Dell PCs are assembled in factories in Suzhou and Shanghai.  The same spokesperson went on to say "We [Taiwanese manufactures] do more work in China than we do anywhere else in the world. I don't even want to think about what would happen to our US clients if we got a USCC probe."

CDW Government, the company originally contracted to fill the orders for the US government also carries several brands that are assembled in the PRC including Acer, BenQ, D-Link, HP, Sharp and Toshiba. 

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Lenovo/US probe
By crystal clear on 3/30/2006 4:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
Lets put things the other way around.Would China/Russia trust the USA, when it comes to spying?Would they buy goods/services from the USA for use in their Govt depts/agencies? -without taking the necesary precautions.Would a US construction firm be allowed to build the ministry defence of china or as a matter of fact Russia allow such things.
Every govt has the right to take precautionary measures against spying.The right to self defence.Preventions is better than cure.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By flare99 on 3/30/2006 5:52:56 AM , Rating: 3
Totally agreed with your assertion but the point is that China and Russia would not give an order to a US firm in the first place. Instead they are self sufficient enough to actually rely on themselves for all their needs.

Poor America... they relied too much on the outsourcing that now every little thing comes out from either China or India :)

Go globalization go!

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By Tupolev22m on 3/30/2006 8:56:55 AM , Rating: 2
Russia for one buys tons of US manufactured systems or systems from US companies, their domestic products are awful and our technology is still some of the best...

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By DigitalFreak on 3/30/2006 12:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, they still use analog gauges, knobs and wheels on their computers

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By Samus on 3/31/2006 4:21:50 AM , Rating: 2
You bush administration supporters make me sick. Are you saying we should just shut our doors and let the world exist without us?

Morons, we keep the world moving. Without America, everyone's economy would be fucked.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By crystal clear on 3/31/2006 4:33:05 AM , Rating: 2
If one studies how US govt depts/agencies work you will realize that there is no co-ordination between agencies & depts.There are a long list of security agencies, each one with its huge budget,staff, buildings etc.Nobody knows what the other is doing , to top it homeland security.Govt depts are not concerned with each others activities, example the dept incharge of buying computers is not bothered about security as its not their job.Suddenly an agency shouts STOP THERE...........A organized mess in short.Thats why you get lenovo type of episodes.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By creathir on 3/30/2006 1:44:44 PM , Rating: 3
The US Government does not own the companies in the US.
In China, their communist dictatorship owns everything, and controls everything. THAT is the difference.

Would China buy directly from the US government, of course not!

Would China buy directly from a private US firm, of course they would!

This is common sense people. You DO NOT let other states, which are HOSTILE towards you, equip your government. I would not touch these things with a 10 foot pole if I were the government. Not to mention, why give SO much money to a company outside the United States? Why not buy... Dells (I said it... yes I did... the D-word)
Or buy HPs?
Or buy any of the other fine US products or even the products of some of our allies.
China is NOT an ally, stands against the United States on anything regarding human rights, and has even REFUSED to return an airplane of ours that went down for almost a month. This country is dangerous and should not be rewarded for their egregious human rights violations.

Communism, is the enemy folks. Like it or not, but it is, and it has been for decades. When we manufacture our products, outsource everything over to them, all that does is strengthen their economy. It would be akin to buying "Made in the USSR" products left and right during the height of the Cold War. Instead, their economy would normally collapse under its own bloated weight, prompting the billion+ people who are enslaved to its government to revolt and be done with the over tried experiment of communism.

The US Government, of all entities should NOT be buying product from this country.

- Creathir

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By vxmqzz on 3/30/2006 2:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, the US plane "went down " in south China is a military plane. You should thank god thank Chinese didn't shoot it down. Will US allow another country's military plane fly over the boarder and spy on military bases? A simple logic is why a us air force plane "went down " in China? I think you should ask this before you blame the Chinese government.

As to Lenovo deal, I think USCC has the right to do this since this is its responsbility and they have the right to do so.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By masher2 on 3/30/2006 2:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
> "Will US allow another country's military plane fly over the boarder and spy on military bases?..."

Wow, its hard to believe such misinformation exists when the real facts are available at your fingertips. The EP-3E Aries involved in this case was patrolling in international airspace. It collided with a Chinese fighter sent to intercept it, which bumped the EP-3E, damaging it enough where it was forced to request landing permission on Hainan Island. A request that China was, by treaty and International Law, bound to accept.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By JackPack on 3/30/2006 3:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
No, the "law" only applies to civil aircraft, not a spy plane. The crew never radioed a request to land either. h66.htm

The EP-3E was flying 70nm from the Island, which is within China's EEZ.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By masher2 on 3/30/2006 3:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Um, this is from your OWN link:

> "Since the U.S. aircraft was flying over the ocean beyond the recognized 12-mile limit of a coastal state's territorial seas, it could not be said to have been flying over the territory of China "

And further:

> "Although the U.S. aircraft then landed on Chinese territory without verbal clearance, it did so in distress. Customary international law recognizes that ships at sea have a right to enter another state's port in distress ."

And further still:

> "Aerial surveillance conducted without using the airspace of the country being observed is a common practice for the United States and other countries with the technology and equipment to do so..."

Furthermore, the aircraft did in fact REQUEST emergency landing permission but received no reply.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By JackPack on 3/30/2006 9:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
I guess you have no idea what an EEZ is.

Nice selective quoting about a ship at sea. Too bad you didn't have the guts to quote the next sentence which says state aircraft do not have the land during distress.

Better stop digging your hole before you fall in it.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By masher2 on 3/30/2006 9:54:39 PM , Rating: 2
> " guess you have no idea what an EEZ is..."

I know exactly what it is, and its not relevant here...a fact YOUR OWN LINK points out. The aircraft was not in China's airspace. Period.

> "Nice selective quoting about a ship at sea. Too bad you didn't have the guts to quote the next sentence "

Let's quote the whole thing, shall we?

Customary international law recognizes that ships at sea have a right to enter another state's port in distress. By analogy a similar right probably extends to aircraft in distress, including state aircraft , although the Chicago Convention does not contain an express exception to article 3(c) for state aircraft

Now, since you can't understand your own links, let me explain. The Chicago Convention applies to CIVIL AVIATION only. It is part of but by no means all of international law. Its not relevant here. Other laws are.

Your link makes a vague reference to this fact. Let me be specific. The relevant law is the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Article 18. It specifically includes both ships AND AIRCRAFT in distress. China is signatory to this Convention and bound by it.

In short, you're wrong. Get over it and stop embarrassing yourself.

> "Better stop digging your hole ..."

Nice try, but anyone reading this thread will have no trouble drawing the proper conclusions.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By masher2 on 3/30/2006 9:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
Furthermore, I notice you failed to answer my point on the aircraft radioing for permission to land, or for that matter, about your incorrect statements on Chinese state ownership of Lenovo.

Care to answer these, or do you admit your errors?

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By masher2 on 3/31/2006 12:42:07 AM , Rating: 2
> "I guess you have no idea what an EEZ is."

I hate to embarrass you further, but this section of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea is relevant:

Article 58. In the exclusive economic zone, all States, [enjoy] the freedoms referred to in article 87 of navigation and overflight ...and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships, aircraft and submarine cables and pipelines ...

In other words, within the EEZ of any nation, ALL OTHER NATIONS have full rights to passage by ship and submarine and overflight by aircraft. Without permission.

You should have realized this from the name alone...the EEZ is for the exclusive ECONOMIC use of the host nation. It and it alone can exploit the natural resources of the EEZ. But it cannot bar passage to any other nation.

RE: Lenovo/US probe
By JackPack on 3/30/2006 9:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
the Chicago Convention does not contain an express exception to article 3(c) for state aircraft in distress

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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