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Irresponsible Stakeholder
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By imposing groundless limits on the use of Lenovo computers, the US Government took a further step away from what it has urged China to do be a responsible stakeholder.

Based on unwarranted security concerns, the US State Department said last week that it would not use computers it recently purchased from Chinese firm Lenovo for classified work.

In March, Lenovo successfully bid for a US State Department contract to provide 16,000 desktop computers and equipment, some of which was supposed to be used in a classified network.

However, under pressure from some members of the US Congress who claimed the procurement from Hong Kong-listed Lenovo could lead to intelligence leaks, the US State Department decided to reallocate 900 of the computers. It insisted that the move was to ensure its information and communications channels would not be compromised by using Lenovo computers.

Such an overt act of discrimination is absolutely not what this highly-market-oriented Chinese company deserves.

In fact, what the unjust attack on the reputation of this Chinese computer maker will compromise is the credibility of the US Government, the self-appointed champion of globalization.

The United States has urged China to assume the role of a responsible stakeholder in a global system into which each country has integrated more than ever.

In this era of accelerated globalization, with trade barriers and soaring foreign investment, a government's attitude towards businesses from home and abroad serves as a litmus test of its commitments to the international community.

We are deeply troubled to see that while preaching the importance of free trade and opening to other countries, the US Government has time and again bowed to domestic protectionism under the disguise of national security concerns.

Playing the illusive national security card, some US legislators thwarted a Chinese oil company's attempt to acquire a medium-sized US oil company last year and pressured a company from the United Arab Emirates to drop its plans to manage several US port terminals this year.

The Lenovo case is only the latest in a spate of unfair treatments meted out to foreign investors by the United States.

With Lenovo's headquarters having moved to the United States and five US directors sitting on its 12-member board, the US Government has displayed an attitude so outrageous that the Chinese firm has had to call for help from the Chinese Government to secure equal treatment in the United States, which has failed to provide a fair and level playing field to all businesses in its market.

To facilitate free and fair trade and guarantee equal access to markets around the world is a shared interest of all players in the international arena.

By frequently politicizing business at the cost of foreign investors' due interests, the United States has shown it is an irresponsible stakeholder.

(China Daily May 25, 2006)


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