Harbin Institute of Technology


Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) is designated very high risk for its top-secret security credentials, high number of defence laboratories and defence research areas, inclusion on the Entity List, strong defence industry links and involvement in covert activity.

HIT is one of China’s top defence research universities. As one of seven universities run by MIIT, it is known as one of the ‘Seven Sons of National Defence’ (国防七子). The Seven Sons of National Defence all have close relationships with the Chinese military and are core training and research facilities for China’s defence industry. In 2018, HIT spent RMB1.97 billion (AUD400 million)—more than half of its research budget—on defence research.http://archive.fo/JMWxB 29.96% of the university’s graduates that year who found employment were working in the defence sector.‘哈尔滨工业大学2018届毕业生就业质量报告’, Harbin Institute of Technology, 2019

HIT has been described by Chinese state media as having ‘defence technology innovation and weapons and armaments modernisation as its core’. It excels in satellite technology, robotics, advanced materials and manufacturing technology, and information technology.https://web.archive.org/web/20190517052211/http://hlj.cri.cn/20181112/8cfe30da-2aad-307b-bada-b0e38c40a120.html Other areas of defence research at HIT include nuclear technology, nuclear combustion, nuclear power engineering and electronic propulsion and thruster technology, many of which are officially designated as skill shortage areas for the Chinese defence industry.http://archive.fo/8ySdp

HIT is best known for its aerospace research and has a close relationship with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), a state-owned defence company that specialises in long-range ballistic missile and satellite technology.https://web.archive.org/web/20190517051856/http://news.hit.edu.cn/hgdyzght/ Since 2008, HIT and CASC have operated a joint research centre.https://web.archive.org/web/20190517054529/http://news.hit.edu.cn/2008/1201/c1990a49048/page.htm Defence conglomerates CASC, CASIC, AVIC and CETC rank among the top employers of HIT graduates.‘哈尔滨工业大学2018届毕业生就业质量报告’ Harbin Institute of Technology, 2019. 

The university is a major source of cyber talent and receives funding for information security research from the MSS, China’s civilian intelligence agency. A report prepared for the US–China Security and Economic Review Commission identified it as one of four universities focused on research with applications in information warfare.https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB424/docs/Cyber-066.pdf?_ga=2.30462079.1319451064.1567722102-1036413872.1567722102 In 2003, HIT founded its Information Countermeasures Technology Research Institute (哈尔滨工业大学信息对抗技术研究所).https://web.archive.org/web/20190906064707/http://www.cs.hit.edu.cn/2018/1126/c11289a218414/pagem.htm

Major defence laboratories

Designated defence research areas

The total number of official defence disciplines at HIT is unknown. During the period of the 11th five-year plan (2006-2010), a total of 47 disciplines with defence characteristics were approved.https://web.archive.org/web/20190816004619/http://news.hit.edu.cn/2011/0523/c464a78956/page.htm These included a broad range of disciplines relating to materials science, mechanical engineering, navigation, aviation, optics, biomedical engineering, computer science, electronics and signal processing.https://web.archive.org/web/20190816010351/http://iac.hit.edu.cn/2007/0614/c4166a111182/page.htm

Economic espionage and misconduct

Defence and security links

HIT runs a Military-Civil Fusion Research Institute in Beijing (哈尔滨工业大学军民融合研究院(北京)).https://web.archive.org/web/20180622121930/http://today.hit.edu.cn/news/2018/01-11/8650058010RL0.htm

HIT’s Reliability Institute of Electric Apparatus and Electronics (电器与电子可靠性研究所) was previously known as the Military-use Electric Apparatus and Vehicle Electronics Institute (军用电器和车辆电器研究所).  It hosts the Heilongjiang Province Key Laboratory on Electric Apparatus and Electronics Reliability Technology (电器与电子可靠性技术黑龙江省重点实验室).https://web.archive.org/web/20190816012245/

Noteworthy international collaborations

In 2016, HIT and Netherland’s Delft University of Technology signed a letter of intent to jointly establish the Shenzhen International College of Astronautics.https://web.archive.org/web/20190517045320/http://en.hit.edu.cn/m/news/2774

End-user lists

HIT is included on Japan’s End User List for its involvement in the development of missiles.https://web.archive.org/web/20180508113112/https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2017/05/20170524001/20170524001-1.pdf

HIT was added to the US Government’s Entity List in June 2020. The announcement of its inclusion stated: ‘Harbin Institute of Technology has sought to use U.S. technology for Chinese missile programs. This activity is contrary to national security and foreign policy interests.’https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/05/2020-10869/addition-of-entities-to-the-entity-list-revision-of-certain-entries-on-the-entity-list

Last updated 11 June 2020. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.