Minzu University of China


Minzu University of China (MUC) is designated medium risk for its work on developing speech recognition of minority languages and facial recognition of ethnic minorities. 

Minzu University of China is a distinguished institution for its research on ethnic minorities. It is jointly overseen by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC), the Ministry of Education and the Beijing Municipal Government.https://archive.fo/yZlJd MUC was selected as one of 42 ‘world-class’ universities under the Ministry of Education’s Double First Class University Plan—a plan that seeks to improve the global standing of China’s elite universities. https://archive.fo/R0g9l ; https://archive.fo/srWcG ; https://archive.fo/kp2kY ; https://cset.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/CSET-Universities-and-the-Chinese-Defense-Technology-Workforce.pdf; https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/985-world-class-20-chinas-strategic-move

MUC researchers have been involved in extensive research on developing speech recognition technology for minority languages and on developing facial recognition technology for identifying ethnic minorities. In 2013, two researchers affiliated with MUC conducted research on creating ethnic minority facial recognition databases and tested the experimental database on individuals from five ethnic minority groups.https://archive.fo/prtlJ In another study conducted by one of the same MUC researchers, undergraduate students from the MUC School of Information Engineering were used to test a facial recognition database.https://archive.fo/DhS77 Research at MUC for constructing ethnic minority facial recognition databases has been supported by government funding.https://archive.fo/MGKFl

The university’s School of Information Engineering is responsible for many projects focused on developing speech recognition technology for monitoring Tibetan and Uyghur languages.https://archive.fo/nfaFq Several of these projects are funded by government entities, including the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.https://archive.fo/nfaFq; https://archive.fo/mtONQ

Additionally, MUC hosts the National Language Resource Monitoring & Research Centre of Minority Languages, which it jointly established with the Ministry of Education, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the State Administration of Press and Publications in 2008.https://archive.ph/17j0i The Centre is responsible for monitoring and researching minority language resources, which includes conducting ‘online public opinion analysis’ of minority languages.https://archive.ph/feIhk Based on its findings, the centre submits policy guidance to the State Language Commission..https://archive.fo/JOqgz The Centre has also worked on projects commissioned by entities such as Xinhua News Agency and iFlytek—an artificial intelligence company on the US Entity List.https://archive.fo/JOqgz

In 2009, MUC and Xinjiang Normal University established the National Language Resource Monitoring & Research Centre of Minority Languages Uyghur Language Research Base (国家语言资源监测与研究中心少数民族语言分中心维吾尔语文研究基地), which is responsible for monitoring and analysing Uyghur language media and reporting findings to the State Language Commission.https://archive.ph/es0RT

One MUC professor is featured by the university for advising government departments and officials, including the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on issues pertaining to ethnic minorities.https://archive.fo/K8JYe

Defence and security links

In order to promote military-civil fusion, MUC signed a cooperation agreement with the PLA Army Armored Forces Academy in 2018.https://archive.fo/UHglD The agreement entails strengthening cooperation in areas such as national defence education and training, culture and art training for light cavalry personnel, and integrated development between the two parties.https://archive.fo/UHglD

Noteworthy international collaborations

University College Cork had plans to establish a joint college with MUC, but withdrew from the partnership in 2021 after 50 academics at UCC sought a report detailing MUC’s links to human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/ucc-to-abandon-joint-college-project-with-chinese-university-1.4500436

In 2017, the University of Sydney established a strategic relationship with MUC and the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC).https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2017/09/15/university-strengthens-partnership-with-china-s-minzu-university.html The SEAC is an agency under the leadership of the United Front Work Department.https://jamestown.org/program/reorganizing-the-united-front-work-department-new-structures-for-a-new-era-of-diaspora-and-religious-affairs-work/

In 2015, Arkansas State University and MUC signed a cooperation agreement to establish exchange student programs, joint research projects, seminars, conferences and workshops.https://archive.fo/LySFe

Last updated 13 May 2021. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.