Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics


The Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) is designated very high risk for being China’s sole nuclear warheads research, development and production facility.

CAEP was founded in 1958 and now has over 24,000 employees. It is headquartered in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, but also has facilities in Chengdu and Beijing. Notably, Mianyang is home to a military-civil fusion (MCF) demonstration base—the Sichuan Mianyang High-Technology City. Sichuan Military District Commander Jiang Yongshen (姜永申) in 2016 stressed the important role that Mianyang plays in China’s larger science and technology development and the significance of its military-civil fusion (MCF) demonstration base.

The academy is best known for nuclear weapons, but also carries out research on directed-energy weapons. CAEP’s four main tasks are to develop nuclear weapons, research microwaves and lasers for nuclear fusion ignition and directed-energy weapons, study technologies related to conventional weapons, and deepen military-civil fusion. It claims that its research covers 260 specialising, primarily in the broad areas of physics and mathematics, mechanics and engineering, materials and chemistry, electronics and information, and optics and electrical engineering.

CAEP hosts part of the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, one of the worlds fastest supercomputers. ;

Despite the sensitivity of its work, CAEP has expanded its international presence in recent years. It claims to send hundreds of scientists overseas to study or work as visiting scholars. CAEP has also used Chinese government talent recruitment schemes such as the Thousand Talents Plan to recruit dozens of scientists from abroad. By 2015, CAEP had recruited 57 scholars through the Thousand Talents Plan, making it one of the largest recruiters of Thousand Talents Plan scholars.

CAEP maintains strong collaborative relationships with Chinese civilian universities. It runs a joint laboratory with the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and collaborates with universities and research institutions including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Science and Technology of China, Shandong University, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Sichuan University, Jilin University, Peking University and Tsinghua University. ; ; CAEP sponsors postgraduate students in many of these institutions who are required to work there for five years after graduating. At Jilin University, CAEP works closely with the State Key Laboratory of Superhard Materials (超硬材料国家重点实验室).

Major defence laboratories

Economic espionage and misconduct

CAEP’s Institute of Applied Phyiscs and Computational Mathematics in Beijing has been involved in two espionage cases—those of Peter Lee and Wen Ho Lee.

Peter Lee, an employee of TRW Inc., since acquired by Northrop Grumman, was a paid guest of IAPCM in Beijing for three months in 1997. While there, he reportedly divulged classified information on radar technology used for detecting submarines that had been developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a California-based research laboratory primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Lee was charged with filing a false statement about his trip to China and divulging classified information. Notably, ‘Mr. Lee had traveled to China with a group of scientists at the invitation of a Chinese visitor to his laboratory.’

In the 1980s, Wen Ho Lee, a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was approached by then CAEP director Hu Side in a Chinese hotel room, where he was asked for information on the W-88 thermonuclear miniaturized warhead. When Hu later visited Los Alamos for a meeting, Lee turned up uninvited and was reportedly embraced by Hu. Hu allegedly thanked Lee for computer software and calculations on hydrodynamics he had supplied.

End-user lists

CAEP is included in the US Government Entity List.

The Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research (北京高压科学研究中心), a subsidiary of CAEP run by Thousand Talents Plan Scholar, was added to the US Government Unverified List in 2019.

Panda International Information Technology Company (熊猫(北京)国际信息技术有限公司) was added to the US Government Entity List in 2014. It lists an address in the Beijing conference center of CAEP’s Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics, suggesting that it may be linked to CAEP.

According to documents leaked to the Washington Post, Panda International Information Technology Company has been partnered with Huawei to work on projects in North Korea since 2007 that may have breached US sanctions.

10 subsidiaries or affiliates of CAEP and 17 aliases of CAEP were added to the Entity List in June 2020.

The subsidiaries or affiliates include the following entities: 

  • Beijing Computational Science Research Center
  • Beijing Jincheng Huanyu Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research
  • Chengdu Fine Optical Engineering Research Center
  • China Jiuyuan Trading Corporation
  • Peac Institute of Multiscale Science
  • Sichuan Dingcheng Material Trade Co., Ltd.
  • Sichuan Haitian New Technology Group Co. Ltd.
  • Sichuan Zhonghe Import and Export Trade Co., Ltd.
  • Skyeye Laser Technology Limited

Last updated 5 May 2021. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.