Commie Cash: Cambridge University ‘Infiltrated’ by Chinese Tech Giant Huawei

A visitor with a face mask walks past the logo of Huawei displayed on a screen during the Internationale Funkausstellung IFA international trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances on September 3, 2020 at the fair grounds in Berlin. - A special edition of the fair, adapted to health …
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese telecom giant Huawei has been accused of “infiltrating” Britain’s Cambridge University after it was revealed that three of the four directors Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management (CCCM) have ties to the Communist Party-linked company.

While Huawei was banned from working on the UK’s 5g network, the tech giant has reportedly sought other means of developing its influence in the country.

The Centre for Chinese Management is a part of Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, and offers two business courses which it claims are “tailored for senior and top executives from leading Chinese and non-Chinese firms”.

According to an investigation conducted by the London The Times newspaper, the chief representative for the CCCM, Yanping Hu, is a former Huawei senior vice-president and has previously been provided with a “special allowance from the State Council” of the Chinese Communist Party.

Cambridge University claimed that Hu “is not currently and has never provided anything towards or delivered any services to Cambridge Judge Business School or the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management”.

However, the paper noted that the CCCM’s website characterised Hu as its chief representative. The Times went on to claim that Cambridge scrubbed mentions of the former Huawei vice president following inquiries from the newspaper.

One of the centre’s founders, Tian Tao, is a senior advisor to Huawei, serving on the company’s International Advisory Council. Mr Tian is also believed to be a confidant of the founder and CEO of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, whose daughter, Meng Wanzhou, is currently facing extradition from Canada to the United States on charges of skirting international sanctions by allegedly working with Iran.

Another founder of the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management, Professor Peter Williamson also leads the UK-China Global Issues Dialogue Centre at Jesus College, which a report last year claimed that the college had received a £155,000 sponsorship deal from Huawei and a further £200,000 from the State Council, the top governing body of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The policy director of the Hong Kong Watch, Johnny Patterson said called on Cambridge to investigate the centre, saying that it appears the university has been “infiltrated” by China.

“Huawei’s ties with the Chinese government are no secret. It looks as if the research centre has been infiltrated by Huawei and the university should definitely investigate it. The close links between Huawei and Cambridge University have serious national security and moral implications,” Patterson said.

The former leader of the Conservative Party, Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that British universities have become “far too dependent on Chinese money” and that Cambridge was “one of the worst offenders”.

“The government needs to urgently set up an inquiry into the UK’s dependency on China across a range of institutions and companies,” Sir Iain said.

The head of the China Research Group and chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said: “Perceived academic influence is clearly an issue and just as universities would never take money from tobacco companies to investigate links with cancer so institutions need to be very careful about where they accept their money.”

A Huawei spokesman defended the company’s involvement in British universities, saying: “Any suggestion of impropriety is absurd and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of academic partnerships with businesses from around the world.”

Universities in the UK have come under increasing scrutiny for ties to the Chinese state. In February, the UK’s top foreign intelligence agency, MI6, reportedly began investigating “some of the most prestigious universities in the country” for alleged breaches of national security laws for working with CCP-tied weapons developers.

The investigation later revealed that some 200 British academics have been placed under investigation for helping the communist nation develop weapons of “mass destruction”.

Academics from at least 33 universities, including from Cambridge, were also accused of having worked alongside the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), the chief nuclear weapons developer for the Chinese government.

In May, an investigation carried out by the Foreign Office, Special Branch, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs “established a correlation” between UK universities in Britain reliant on tuition from Chinese students and the alleged technology transfers to Beijing.

One of the universities reliant on Chinese tuition, the coronavirus modelling Imperial College London, was accused of having at least “four research centres sponsored by major Chinese weapons suppliers”, including the development of next-gen stealth technology for the Chinese air force.

Imperial College has also received funding from Huawei to construct a new research centre.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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