China to protect 'legitimate rights' after US penalizes ZTE

FILE- In this Feb. 26, 2014, file photo, a sign for the ZTE booth is seen at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The U.S. Commerce Department is blocking Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp. from importing American components for seven years, accusing the company of misleading U.S. regulators after it settled charges of violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

BEIJING — China's government said Tuesday it was ready to protect its "legitimate rights" after U.S. authorities penalized one of the country's most prominent tech companies in a case involving exports of telecoms equipment to Iran and North Korea.

The Commerce Ministry expressed hope Washington would treat ZTE Corp. fairly after the U.S. Commerce Department concluded it paid bonuses to employees involved in the export scheme instead of disciplining them as promised in 2017.

The Commerce Department on Monday barred state-owned ZTE for seven years from importing American components.

ZTE, headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen, pleaded guilty in March 2017 and agreed to pay a $1.19 billion penalty for shipping the telecoms equipment to North Korea and Iran in violation of U.S. regulations.

"We hope the United States will properly handle the matter in accordance with regulations and create a fair, equitable and stable legal and policy environment for the company," a Commerce Ministry statement said.

"The Ministry of Commerce will pay close attention to the progress of the situation and stands ready to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies."

ZTE said in a statement it was "evaluating the possible impact" on the company.

Must Read

New wave of anti-China activists set for Hong...

Sep 5, 2016

A new wave of anti-China activists appeared headed for victory in Hong Kong's most crucial...

Giant panda is no longer endangered, experts say

Sep 5, 2016

A leading international group has taken the giant panda off its endangered list thanks to decades...

Hong Kong pro-democracy candidates retain veto in...

Sep 5, 2016

A group of young Hong Kong pro-democracy activists has pulled off a stunning election victory,...

Air China removes mag with offensive article...

Sep 8, 2016

Air China says it has removed copies of its inflight magazine containing an article criticized as...

Leader of Chinese protest village gets 3 years in...

Sep 9, 2016

The democratically elected mayor of a fishing village in southern China _ which became a focus of...