A report released by the Hoover Institution identifies more than 250 published research collaborations between scholars based in the United States and counterparts from seven universities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that are integral to that nation’s defense research and industrial base. This report maintains that it is not in the US national interest to collaborate and assist with the military development efforts of the PRC. It said the PRC’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has administered the universities since 2008 and refers to them as the “Seven Sons of National Defense” (国防七子). They include the:

1. Beijing Institute of Technology (北京理工大学)

2. Beihang University (a.k.a. Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics, 北京航空航天大学)

3. Harbin Institute of Technology (哈尔滨工业大学)

4. Harbin Engineering University (哈尔滨工程大学)

5. Northwestern Polytechnical University (西北工业大学)

6. Nanjing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics (南京航空航天大学)

7. Nanjing University of Science and Technology (南京理工大学)

All seven universities were originally founded either as institutes of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) or from mergers of military engineering academies. They eventually became civilian universities (typically in the late 1970s and 1980s) and hence incorporate nonmilitary disciplines such as social sciences. Nevertheless, all seven stipulate that their core mission is to support the PRC’s defense research and industrial base and promote or execute military-civil fusion policies, which channel civilian research into military applications. Only four of the seven are on the US Department of Commerce’s Entity List for export control purposes. The report additionally said that PRC university departments employing coauthors who are named in the corpus have partnerships with the PLA’s General Armament Department, the PLA Rocket Force (which manages the PRC’s nuclear missile arsenal), and components of major state-owned defense conglomerates including: a) China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and divisions within its missile design and production subsidiary, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology; b) China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation; c) Aviation Industry Corporation of China and a subordinate research institute that supplies manufacturing technologies for defense industries; and d) China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. Several identified coauthors, it said, appear to have worked on classified defense projects, as indicated by “XXX” or “XXXXX” designators in their titles or funding codes; for example, a PLA General Armament Department “Panoramic View XXXXX System Preliminary Research Project.” Some coauthors’ biographies mention their work on projects for the PRC’s Central Military Commission Science & Technology Committee, PLA General Staff Headquarters, PLA General Armament Department, and PLA Unit 65927. One coauthor claimed to concurrently serve as a PLA General Armament Department Stealth Technology Experts Group member and a General Armament Department Military Use Electronic Components Technologies expert evaluator. One article named researchers from Northwestern Polytechnical University, a US university, and the Xi’an Engineering College of the People’s Armed Police (PAP), raising ethical concerns over applications of this research. The PAP performs domestic security and surveillance functions that help the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintain authoritarian control over the PRC’s population. The PAP’s Xi’an Engineering College subsequently merged with a PAP command unit in Xinjiang, which may implicate it in the mass detentions, internment, and repression of the region’s large Muslim population. No biographical information was found on the PAP-affiliated coauthor, raising questions about the degree of due diligence the partnering US institution might have been able to perform on this individual.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | Email Us
Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, A-50, Second Floor, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057
Tel: 011 41017353