North University of China


North University of China (NUC) is designated very high risk for its high number of defence laboratories, close relationship with the defence industry, and link to an espionage case.

NUC is a civilian university that specailises in defence research. It is jointly administered by the Shanxi Provincial Government and defence industry agency SASTIND. The university traces its roots back to an ordnance school established by the Eighth Route Army in 1941, and defence research is central to its identity. According to NUC’s website, ‘Our university has long established excellent and cooperative relationships with Central Military Commission departments, SASTIND, Norinco Group, China South Industries Group, China Aerospace Science and Technology Group, China Aerospace Science and Industry Group, and our graduates are spread across different areas in defence industry.’ Approximately 2000 of its graduates enter the defence industry each year.

NUC specialises in testing and developing weapons, including tanks, missiles and explosives. ; Its Underground Target Damage Technology National Defense Key Subject Laboratory reportedly runs the only underground shooting range in a Chinese university. The university is a member of the B8 Cooperation Innovation Alliance (B8协同创新联盟 or 中国兵器协同创新联盟), a group of eight Chinese research institutions that specialize in armament science—the ‘B’ in ‘B8’ stands for Chinese work for armaments, bingqi (兵器).

Major defence laboratories

Designated defence research areas

Economic espionage and misconduct

In February 2019, Zhao Qianli, an exchange student from NUC was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in the United States for illegally photographing a US military installation. Reportedly, investigators found a Chinese Ministry of Public Security uniform in his hotel room. The report, which cites unnamed law enforcement sources, claimed that Zhao ‘underwent military training as a university student’.

Defence and security links

In 2018, NUC established a Military-Civil Fusion Cooperative Innovation Research Institute.

Noteworthy international collaborations

NUC claims to have joint supervision arrangements with universities and research institutes in the US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, France, Germany, and Hong Kong. ; NUC also sends researchers to universities in the US, UK, Japan and Australia as visiting scholars.

NUC’s National Defence Research and Application Center of Precision Plastic Forming Technology (国防科技工业精密塑性成形技术研究应用中心) collaborates with: Japan’s Yokohama National University, the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge, the University of Windsor in Canada, and the RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

Last updated 18 November 2019. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.