Following protests, IEEE revokes sanctions on Huawei

IEEE had decided to bar employees of Huawei from reviewing submissions to its journals. Following this, China declared that it would suspend ties with the society. Several professors of premiere universities also resigned from the from IEEE

June 04, 2019 by Sandipan Talukdar
Image used for representational purposes only.

Following global protests, the New York City-based major scientific society, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) on June 3 revoked the sanctions on the employees of Huawei from reviewing submissions to its journals. IEEE had taken the step to comply with the US government sanction on the Chinese communications giant.

IEEE’s decision was followed by China declaring that it would suspend ties with the society and firing US employees working at Huawei’s Chinese headquarters. Several professors of premiere universities also resigned from the from IEEE.

The IEEE publishes almost 200 journals in a variety of areas. On May 28, the IEEE told the editors of these journals that, “It fears severe legal implications from continuing to use Huawei scientists as reviewers in vetting technical papers. The Huawei scientists can continue to be part of the IEEE editorial board, but until the sanctions are lifted, they cannot handle any papers.”

The US department of commerce on May 15 had come out with a notice that made it mandatory for certain companies to get a license before US technology could be sold or transferred. Huawei has been listed among such companies. The commerce department can refuse any license provided by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) if it finds that any sales or transfers render threat to US internal security. Huawei is a world leader in 5G technologies, the largest manufacturer of communications equipment and the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world. Experts have opined that the sanctions on Huawei are part of a larger technological war against China by the US.

The IEEE sanctions meant that Huawei’s scientists would not have been able to access technical information that would be a part of a research article. They would also not have been able to receive or access materials submitted by other persons prior to its acceptance by IEEE.

Protests from Chinese Side

Shortly after the declaration, the China Computer Federation (CCF), a Beijing-based professional society, announced the suspension of its ties with the IEEE. The CCF said in a statement that it would snap its “communication and collaboration” with a division of IEEE.

CCF, which is listed as one of IEEE’s sister societies, said on its website that it would also delete some IEEE journals from its list. This move came after two professors of the Peking University and Tsinghua University declared their resignations from IEEE in protest against the sanctions on Huawei scientists.

The Financial Times reported that Huawei had ordered its employees to cancel technical meetings with American contacts and sent home numerous US employees working at its Chinese headquarters.

(This article first appeared on Newsclick)