Chinese state media warns of backlash over New Zealand's Huawei ban

Chinese state media warns there will be a backlash to New Zealand after the controversial decision to block Huawei equipment in the planned 5G mobile network.

Officials and experts have told Chinese tabloid Global Times that the ban will "only hurt [New Zealand's] industry and consumers".

Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times the move will backfire.

"New Zealand has taken this action just after the US reportedly asked its allies to say 'no' to Huawei equipment. It's following the US' lead on this matter, but it will only end up hurting itself," he said.

State media has also been reporting on the alleged backwards nature of New Zealand's technology infrastructure.

"We often have windy days, and the network is particularly vulnerable," a Chinese woman living in Auckland told the Global Times. "The speed is really slow compared with China."

Mr Xiang warned that rejecting Chinese companies would significantly slow the upgraded 5G rollout in New Zealand.

"The choices left for local operators are Ericsson and Nokia, and they may face cost increases of at least 30 percent," he said.

Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a press briefing last Wednesday New Zealand should offer a level playing field for Chinese companies.

"We hope the New Zealand Government can provide a fair competition environment for Chinese companies, which would be favourable for bilateral relations," he said.

According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, local Chinese media site Skykiwi has been censoring comments about the Huawei ban that support the New Zealand Government's decision.

"It would be extremely disturbing if this was an example of Beijing-style censorship extending beyond China's borders and into that of a liberal democracy like New Zealand," cyber analyst Fergus Ryan told the Post.

However Skykiwi editorial director Ziming Li says most of the comments on his site support the suspension of Huawei.

"We never censor or restrict the identity of those made comments, so those comment anonymously can freely express their opinions on our website," he told Newshub.

"Since we value the freedom of expression, so we won’t control the opinions or attitudes of these comments. Therefore, I don't agree with what you mentioned that 'Beijing-style censorship' exists in Skykiwi."