The British media reported on Monday that scientists from a number of prestigious universities in China, including Cambridge and Edinburgh, have been collaborating with Chinese research institutions to publish research and papers, and that one of the Chinese institutions has been put on the US sanctions list for developing nuclear weapons for the Chinese government. The incident was described as a “national scandal” and the authorities were asked to plug the loophole as soon as possible.
The Daily Telegraph reports that scientists from 33 British universities have collaborated with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) or its affiliates on research and published papers with Chinese scholars. Of these universities, 18 are part of The Russell Group, a group of 24 top UK institutions of higher learning.
The Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) is under the direct supervision of the Communist Party’s Military Commission and is on the U.S. sanctions list for helping the Communist Party develop nuclear weapons and military technology.
A number of British academics have published dozens of papers with Chinese Communist scientists, and some senior British scientists work at both British universities and the CAEP. For example, former Cambridge University professor Simon Redfern was a visiting professor at the Beijing High Pressure Science Research Center; and Dr. Gilberto Teobaldi, head of the group that runs the British government’s laboratory, became an “unofficial member” and has published at least seven papers in collaboration with scientists at the center.
The University of Cambridge has accepted at least three fellows from CAEP since 2014, including a Chinese scholar affiliated with CAEP’s “Shockwave and Explosion Physics” laboratory, with which the University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary’s College (QMUL) also have collaborative relationships.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, described the connection between the university and the Chinese side as “extraordinary,” saying that the university’s lack of vigilance over the backgrounds of its partners has led to them being associated with hostile countries and human rights abuses, and endangered the security of the United Kingdom. Dong Qinda also said that the government also has a responsibility to ensure that universities pay attention to the consequences of partners.
The Daily Telegraph commented that these joint projects show that British taxpayers’ money and the British government’s cutting-edge scientific facilities, including ARCHER, the UK’s national supercomputer, and Diamond Light Source, a £260 million particle gas pedal, could be used to help the Chinese Communist Party‘s nuclear weapons research.
UK government to ‘identify and mitigate’ damage
In response to the findings, a British government spokesman said the U.K. “will not accept cooperation with (agencies) that undermine our national security and will continue to work with relevant authorities to identify and mitigate the risks caused by interference.
British security services are currently investigating at least 200 British academics who are suspected of or have helped the Chinese Communist Party develop weapons of mass destruction. If they are convicted of violating the Export Control Order 2008, they could face up to 10 years in prison.