Cranes = 'spies,' how did Washington come up with this absurd equation?: Global Times editorial
Published: Mar 12, 2024 12:19 AM
ZPMC tests exported tire-type cranes in Nantong, Jiangsu Province on April 27, 2022. Photo:VCG

ZPMC tests exported tire-type cranes in Nantong, Jiangsu Province on April 27, 2022. Photo:VCG

A farcical drama concocted by the American public opinion field and Washington's anti-China politicians has once again moved from the performance level to the real level. Leading the charge is the so-called US House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, this time targeting Chinese-made cranes. The script is as old as it gets, but with a change in characters, claiming that heavy-duty cranes produced by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co Ltd (ZPMC) and used for many years in various locations in the US can act as "spies" and "provide China with a tool to disrupt US trade flows."

Such a ridiculous matter is not worth refuting. Over the years, the crane has never had any so-called "national security issues" in the US. Not only is it popular in various ports in the US, but ports in many countries around the world have also been using it without any problems. However, American anti-China politicians and media continue to hype and exaggerate the issue, ultimately forcing ZPMC to respond on Saturday, to demonstrate its innocence facing baseless accusations.

ZPMC emphasized in a statement that the cranes it provides do not pose any cybersecurity risks to any port, and the company has always strictly complied with relevant laws and regulations in various countries and regions, operating in accordance with the law. Regarding the issue raised by some American media that the cranes are equipped with "cellular modems," the statement provided technical and factual explanations. ZPMC's actions are open and above board, in stark contrast to the dark machinations of American politicians, providing a strong counterattack to the US political atmosphere of blind weaponization and securitization of China-related topics, helping to fundamentally address issues faced by Chinese enterprises operating overseas like ZPMC.

The development of heavy-duty cranes has reached the point where sensors are commonly installed. This is not some mysterious or complex device; it is primarily done for the maintenance of equipment and operational safety. The sensors monitor fluctuations in the weight of goods, lifting frequency, mechanical wear and so on. As for sensitive cargo information, it is controlled by the port's backend and cannot be accessed by the crane. The statement from ZPMC has also been verified by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). Clearly, what Washington politicians are concerned about is not this. Most of the time, they are not ignorant but have ulterior motives.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs once questioned the US: Why is it always the industrial champions of China who are being targeted as "threats" to US national security? From accusing Chinese IT manufacturers of leaving "backdoor" in their products to calling Chinese cranes "Trojan horse" that collect intelligence, and to blaming China-produced EV cells for "harming" US national security, some US politicians have been blowing up the bubble of "China threat," while exposing their real aim of suppressing China's development in the name of national security.

In July of last year, the US House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party also initiated an investigation into the Swiss company ABB Group, alleging that the software and equipment provided by the company to ZPMC might pose so-called "risks" to the US. Under the intimidation of the jurisdiction wielded by the US, ABB did not dare to stand up to defend its legitimate rights, but its response was also pragmatic and relatively objective. Several Washington politicians interfered with a legitimate, reasonable and mutually beneficial international business activity. Such incidents are no longer isolated in the US, and the inevitable outcome is harming both the US and others.

The heavy-duty cranes produced by ZPMC currently hold a share of 70 to 80 percent in the international market. Of the cranes used in various ports in the US, more than 200 are manufactured in China, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the total. This is the result of market choices. Even the US national security authorities and the Department of Defense acknowledge that ZPMC's cranes are "well-made and inexpensive." They are aware that the operations of various ports support the employment of 31 million Americans, injecting $5.4 trillion into the US economy annually. Going against market trends to eliminate an imagined "security threat," is this a rational and wise decision?

The "witch hunt" initiated by Washington politicians against China disrupts normal trade order, infringes upon the actual interests of local communities and the public of the US. It challenges the intelligence of the American people and has also angered more fans of Chinese products. The AAPA previously stated that "hastily removing cranes from US ports without immediate replacements would harm US supply chains, jack up prices for everyone, and exacerbate inflation even further." Perhaps this pain has not yet transmitted to Washington, but we believe this process will not last for too long. Faced with the unreasonable and unlawful harassment by the US, our enterprises cannot always remain silent. The twists and turns of right and wrong are so clear, and there must be a place to uphold justice. Justice prevails in the hearts of the people.