Science publisher IEEE ends ban on Huawei employees after protest

By Wei Sheng
1 min read
A guard stands at the door of a Huawei store in Shanghai on March 22, 2019.
A guard stands at the door of a Huawei store in Shanghai on March 22, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said on Monday that it had raised a ban on Huawei employees that blocks them from reviewing submissions to its journals, according to Reuters.

The New York-based professional association said last week that it feared “severe legal implications” for using Huawei scientists as reviewers in vetting technical papers and banned employees of the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant from participating in peer reviews for its research papers.

The IEEE ban came after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei and its affiliates to a trade blacklist, requiring a license for certain companies to buy US components and technology.

IEEE China said in a statement on Monday on its website that the initial restriction was to protect volunteers and members from legal risk.

Following the IEEE ban, China Computer Federation, a Beijing-based computer professional association announced that it would suspend ties with the IEEE and would also delete some IEEE journals from its list.

As part of the protest, 10 Chinese academic societies, including the Chinese Institute of Electronics, the China Institute of Communications, and the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence, issued a statement (in Chinese) to condemn IEEE’s decision.

“The restriction of scientists’ participation in academic exchanges violates the common value of science and academic freedom, it has also trampled on the normal order of academic exchanges and science development,” (our translation) the associations said in the statement.

IEEE said it had received the clarification it requested from the US Department of Commerce and the risk had been addressed. Based on the new information, employees of Huawei and its affiliates are allowed to participate as peer reviewers and editors in the association’s publication process, said the statement by IEEE China.

“All IEEE members, regardless of employer, can continue to participate in all of the activities of the IEEE,” IEEE China said in the statement.