In an unusually strong message, the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Adrian Zuckerman, has accused local media of “publishing propaganda” for “corrupt” Chinese authorities in exchange for money.
Mr. Zuckerman was referring to an aggressive advertising campaign by Chinese tech giant Huawei that has flooded a number of media outlets in recent weeks.
Huawei wants to win a license for 5G in Romania and the onslaught of ads appears designed to sway public opinion in its favor. The auction has been postponed to later this year.
“Huawei and its Communist Chinese bosses in Beijing are masters at intimidation, influence peddling and trying to prevent honest Romanians from reading the truth,” the Ambassador said in the statement published Friday.
He added it was “incomprehensible that any Romanian can advocate for Huawei or the Communist Chinese,” and “even more incomprehensible that some Romanian press outlets so easily succumb to the power of the almighty RON (Romanian currency) and publish propaganda for these corrupt entities and Communists.”
“The Communist Chinese disdain freedom, the rule of law, human rights, and the truth.”
Mr. Zuckerman, who was born in Romania before emigrating to the United States during the communist era, recalled Romania’s bloody 1989 anti-communist revolt where more than 1,300 people died.
Marking the 30th anniversary of the uprising, he said that back in December he had “stood in front of the interior ministry; I read the names of the martyrs who lost their lives 30 years ago.”
“I do not want Romanian children to have to read the names of future martyr patriots because of payments received by the greedy press from unscrupulous Communist Chinese actors to run their propaganda,“ he said.
“The Communist Chinese control the media and press in China and want to do exactly the same in Romania. Do not let them. Just say NO!,” he said.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis who is known to be opposed to a partnership with Huawei this year said the main criteria for the 5G auction was “national security guaranteed together with our partner, the United States and NATO.”
” We don’t want to have critical systems operated by untrustworthy companies,” he said.
In recent months, Mr. Zuckerman has publicly warned Romania about using Huawei to develop the country’s 5G networks saying it could pose a threat to national security.
He says U.S., European and South Korean companies, such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and Qualcomm, were leading the way with 5G development around the world and were safer and better options.