Networking vendor Huawei has released a public refutation of a recent media report that alleged it was being investigated by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) for possible espionage.

In response to an aticle published by The Weekend Australian on September 5 2009 titled ASIO has ear on Chinese whispers, (see the online version here) Huawei Australia’s managing director, Guo Fulin, said the claims made in the report are "totally without foundation and based purely on unsubstantiated allegations."

The article claimed Huawei employees in Sydney and Melbourne approached ASIO with concerns the company is employing Chinese nationals as technicians in Australia who have direct links to China’s People's Liberation Army.

"The articles falsely accuse Huawei of engaging in espionage activities and offer no proof to support this charge," Fulin wrote.

Fulin addressed the response letter to the Editor of The Australian, Paul Whittaker.

"The articles also say that Huawei is currently being investigated by ASIO. We are not aware of any investigation. However, we can be certain that any review would find the allegations that are the focus of your articles to be baseless."

Fulin admitted that Huawei has approached ASIO as part of a "briefing on our company and our commitment to the telecommunications industry in Australia" that the company provides to all of key stakeholders, including government, industry and customers.

"In the case of ASIO, we felt it was important that this agency was fully aware of our activities in light of the false allegations included in past articles of [The Australian]," he said.

Huawei maintains it is 100 per cent employee-owned and “no governments or government agencies have any involvement or ownership in our operations”.

The company employs some 87,000 people in 100 countries and claims 36 of the world’s 50 leading telecommunication network operators in its customer base.

The article also claimed that Huawei has recently sacked several dozen of its Australian-born workforce, replacing them with Chinese nationals brought in from China - a claim Huawei also denies.

"We are committed to a policy of localisation, as evidenced by the recent senior appointments of Australian technology industry leaders in our company," Fulin wrote, adding despite the economic climate, Huawei is continuing to hire.