‘Hostages for Beijing’: UK Universities took £40m From Chinese Communist Linked Companies: Report

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 24: Servicemen of the Chinese Armed Forces march during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. The 75th-anniversary marks the end of the Great Patriotic War when …
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Chinese telecom giant Huawei and other firms owned or connected to the Communist Party have provided twenty British universities with tens of millions in funding for research projects, according to a report conducted by Conservative MPs.

The China Research Group of Tory backbench MPs reported that leading universities in the UK have accepted at least £40 million in research grants from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tied firms since 2015.

The findings, which were published in The Telegraph, revealed that Imperial College London received between £3.5 million and £14.5 million from Chinese telecom Huawei, which the British government has banned from the UK’s 5G network over security concerns.

The Chinese cash was funnelled into engineering and machine learning projects conducted at Imperial College, which rose to international attention last year over its doomsday death projections about the Wuhan virus.

Since 2016, the university also reportedly received at least £10 million from the Chinese government’s petroleum and chemicals corporation Sinopec, as well as at least £6.5 million from the state-owned defence and aerospace firm Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The report said that Huawei granted £1.1 million to Lancaster University to back research on machine learning, computing, and semiconductors, as well as £890,000 to York University for currently unknown projects.

The group of Tory MPs said that Bristol, Exeter, and Heriot-Watt universities refused to comply with their freedom of information act (FOI) request and Southampton University claimed that the request would take over 18 hours to comply with, which is over the threshold for needing to comply with an FOI request.

The China Research Group said that the true figure of Chinese funding will likely then be higher than the £40 million they uncovered.

Speaking to Breitbart London, the chairman and founder of Hong Kong Watch Benedict Rogers said: “The news that so many leading UK universities have received significant funding from companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party regime is deeply concerning.

“There should be a full inquiry into the higher education sector’s relationship with China. We cannot afford to compromise academic freedom and freedom of expression on campuses, and there is at the very least a danger that receiving significant funding from CCP-linked enterprises turns our universities into hostages for Beijing.”

Imperial College London has also been accused of having “four research centres sponsored by major Chinese weapons suppliers” in which they worked with Chinese military-tied firms to develop weapons technologies for Beijing, including next-gen stealth technology for fighter jets, according to a report from the Civitas think tank in February

Regarding the latest report, a spokesman from Imperial said: “We do not allow funders to interfere in our research, which is independent, open and transparent. We have robust measures in place to ensure academic independence.”

Huawei has consistently denied that it is controlled by the CCP, however, reports have indicated that the firm is “effectively state-owned”. The telecom giant has become hugely controversial in Britain over the past year, with pressure from the Trump administration leading to Prime Minister Boris Johnson back-tracking on his support for Huawei involvement in the UK’s 5G networks.

A spokesman for Huawei said: “We are incredibly proud of our partnerships with UK universities which make a significant contribution to the economy, better connectivity, and the fight against climate change.”

Representatives from Lancaster, York, and Southampton universities also denied that Chinese money had any undue influence on their academic integrity.

Universities in the UK have increasingly come under criticism for their ties to the dictatorship in Beijing, with MI6 reportedly investigating “some of the most prestigious universities in the country” for potentially violating national security laws through their work with Chinese weapons developers.

The leader of the China Research Group, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said: “Chasing the money around British universities is revealing of connections and ties that will be seen by some as compromising academic independence.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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