Sichuan University


Sichuan university is designated very high risk for its relationship to China’s nuclear weapons program, suspected links to cyber espionage, and moderate number of defence laboratories.

Sichuan University (SCU) is a leading Chinese university subordinate to the Ministry of Education. In 2011 and again in 2016 SCU was the subject of joint construction agreements between the MOE and defence industry agency SASTIND designed to increase its involvement in defence research.

The university hosts at least three laboratories that focus on defence research and has a close relationship with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), the PRC’s primary nuclear warheads research facility. SCU’s Institute of Atomic and Molecular Physics and CAEP jointly established the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Engineering and the Institute of High Temperature and High Pressure Physics. In 2012, SCU was added to the US BIS Entity List as an alias of CAEP, implying that it acts as a proxy for the facility.

A 2011 study by American think tank Project 2049 concluded that a PLA signals intelligence unit ‘likely maintain a close, mutually supportive relationship with related organizations in Chengdu, such as Sichuan University’s Information Security and Network Attack and Defense Laboratory (四川大学信息安全及网络攻防研究室).’

Major defence laboratories

  • Key Laboratory of Fundamental Synthetic Vision Graphics and Image for National Defense (视觉合成图形图像技术国防重点学科实验室)
  • Key Laboratory of Advanced Special Materials and New Preparation and Processing Technology (Ministry of Education) (先进特种材料及制备加工新技术教育部重点实验室(B类))
  • Key Laboratory of High Energy Density Physics and Technology (Ministry of Education) (高能量密度物理及技术教育部重点实验室(B类))

Designated defence research areas

In 2016 SASTIND approved five disciplines with defence characteristics at SCU. Of these, only automation could be identified.

Economic espionage and misconduct

SCU’s inclusion on the Entity List indicates that it acts as a proxy for CAEP. Its suspected relationship with a PLA signals intelligence unit may indicate that it supports cyber espionage efforts.

Noteworthy international collaborations

End-user lists

In 2012, Sichuan University and University of Electronic Science and Technology of China were added to the US Government Entity List as aliases of CAEP.

Last updated 19 November 2019. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.