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Premier: Telling companies to spy is 'not how China behaves'

Joe Mcdonald, AP Business Writer

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a press conference after the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (AP) -- China's No. 2 leader on Friday denied Beijing tells its companies to spy abroad, refuting U.S. warnings that Chinese technology suppliers might be a security risk.

Premier Li Keqiang's comment at a news conference was the communist government's highest-level rejection of accusations Chinese companies might spy on foreign customers.

Asked whether Beijing told Chinese companies to spy, Li said, "Let me tell you explicitly that this is not consistent with Chinese law. This is not how China behaves. We did not do that and will not do that in the future."

The United States and some other governments have imposed curbs on use of technology from Chinese vendors including Huawei Technologies Ltd. as possible security risks.

Huawei, the biggest global maker of network gear for phone and internet companies, has denied accusations it facilitates Chinese spying.

Huawei's founder told reporters this year he would reject government requests to disclose confidential information about foreign customers.