Tianjin University


Tianjin University (TJU) is designated high risk for its involvement in defence research and links to an espionage case.

TJU is under the administration of the Ministry of Education and has also been supervised by defence industry agency SASTIND since 2012.https://web.archive.org/web/20190812020201/http://www.moe.gov.cn/s78/A08/gjs_left/s7187/s7189/201403/t20140313_165432.html The university has second-class security credentials, allowing it to participate in classified research projects at the level of ‘secret’.https://web.archive.org/web/20190823085326/http:/sme.tju.edu.cn/kxyanjiu/kxyjtstd/201706/t20170612_295973.html It hosts two defence laboratories, working on optoelectronics and propellants.

In 2015, A professor at Tianjin University was arrested by U.S. federal agents and accused of economic espionage and technology theft.https://web.archive.org/web/20190707051754/https://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/tianjin-university-defends-chinese-scientists-indicted-by-u-s/ He had been a professor in the School of Precision Instrument and Opto-electronics Engineering, which is home to one of the MOE labs involved in defense research. TJU is also a member of several international engineering alliances and has one National Defense Technology Innovation Team.https://web.archive.org/web/20190707053513/http://www.tju.edu.cn/tdgk/xxjj.htm

TJU carries out research for the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s civilian intelligence agency. It has hosted at least one MSS researcher and its scientists have been awarded for their work for the MSS on communication and information engineering.https://web.archive.org/web/20191011041451/http://math.fjnu.edu.cn/89/e7/c4861a166375/page.htm

Major defence laboratories

The university’s Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education on Advanced Ceramics and Machining Technology (先进陶瓷与加工技术教育部重点实验室) also has a strong focus on defence research but may not be a dedicated defence laboratory.https://web.archive.org/web/20190706182713/http://chemeng.tju.edu.cn/cn/kxyj;jsessionid=0C2389F6CABAA5156D28EA4AE9355E25?type=detail&id=1034   ; https://web.archive.org/web/20190707055809/http://acmt.tju.edu.cn/ ; https://web.archive.org/web/20190707175532/http://www.tju.edu.cn/info/1058/1813.htm ; http://archive.fo/LICzi ; http://archive.fo/ZzWMF

Economic espionage and misconduct

In 2015, the United States Justice Department announced the indictments of three professors from Tianjin University who were suspected of stealing technology. One of the professors, Zhang Hao, was arrested by federal agents in Los Angeles. Zhang Hao was also a professor at TJU’s School of Precision Instrument and Opto-Electronics Engineering, which is currently home to one of the Ministry of Education defense laboratories.https://web.archive.org/web/20190707051754/https://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/tianjin-university-defends-chinese-scientists-indicted-by-u-s/ Zhang faces 30 criminal counts alleging economic espionage and theft of trade secrets from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions Inc., which are two companies in the semiconductor sector.https://web.archive.org/web/20190707052224/http://www.siliconvalleyoneworld.com/2018/07/31/court-sets-19-day-trial-for-chinese-professor-accused-of-trade-theft/

Defence and security links

A researcher from the Ministry of State Security’s 13th Bureau, which is believed to be involved in cybersecurity and digital surveillance work, held an adjunct position at Tianjin University in the early 2000s.http://archive.fo/vsgLi

Noteworthy international collaborations

Tianjin University is a member of the China-ASEAN Engineering University Alliance (中国-东盟工科大学联盟), the China and Central European National Science and Technology Innovation University Alliance (中国与中欧国家科技创新大学联盟), and the International Energy Cooperation Agency – APEC Sustainable Energy Center (国际能源合作机构—APEC可持续能源中心).

The university has three Confucius Institutes established in Bratislava, Slovakia, the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Nice in France.https://web.archive.org/web/20190707053513/http://www.tju.edu.cn/tdgk/xxjj.htm Tianjin University’s Confucius Institute is the first to be geared towards science and technology.https://web.archive.org/web/20141021031330/http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2010/11/australia%E2%80%99s-first-science-and-technology-focused-confucius-institute

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