Tsinghua University


Tsinghua University is designated very high risk for its high level of defence research and alleged involvement in cyber attacks.

Tsinghua University is considered China’s leading university in science and technology. Often characterized as ‘China’s MIT,’ Tsinghua is highly ranked globally, while also being the alma mater of numerous Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping. Tsinghua has been included in numerous Chinese educational initiatives, including acting as a Class A institution in the Double First-Class University Plan and with membership in China’s C9 League. As of spring 2018, Tsinghua University had 390 research institutions operating across a range of fields.http://archive.ph/nJvfF

Tsinghua engages in a range of military research and was awarded secret-level security credentials for classified research in 2007.https://web.archive.org/web/20191119053937/https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/news/4209/2011/20110225231900343740599/20110225231900343740599_.html In advancing military-civil fusion, Tsinghua also continues its ‘fine tradition’ of serving China’s national security and defense, actively creating new platforms and initiatives to support this strategy.http://archive.ph/za0Uc Not only its dedicated defence laboratories but also a range of key laboratories and research institutions at the university have received funding from the military.http://archive.ph/MFDCQ Since at least 2012, Tsinghua has also been jointly supervised by defence industry agency SASTIND as part of a program to deepen its defence research and links to the defence sector.https://web.archive.org/web/20190808043103/http:/www.1000thinktank.com/xwh/14611.jhtml ; https://web.archive.org/web/20191113061730/http://www.moe.gov.cn/s78/A08/gjs_left/s7187/s7189/201403/t20140313_165432.html

Tsinghua’s defence research covers areas such as artificial intelligence, air-to-air missiles, navigation technology, instrument science and materials science.

The university trains students for China’s nuclear weapons program, military and defence industry. In 2014 it signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP)—China’s nuclear weapons program.https://web.archive.org/web/20190926062646/https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/news/4205/2014/20140821091702249596903/20140821091702249596903_.html  In 2016, CAEP’s Materials Institute and Tsinghua established a joint postgraduate training base for teaching, research collaboration and equipment sharing.http://archive.md/qAEHC

Approximately 200 postgraduate students at Tsinghua are sponsored by CAEP or defence industry conglomerates each year through the Chinese government’s National Defence Science and Technology Scholarship program.2012 documents on the National Defence Science and Technology Scholarship program state that just under 200 places were available to Tsinghua University graduates. http://archive.md/p5GiS Scholarship recipients are required to work for their sponsoring organisation for five years after graduating.http://archive.md/CSz2s Roughly 2000 of the scholarships are awarded each year, indicating that Tsinghua students are among the primary recipients of them. Documents published by Tsinghua indicate that CAEP planned to sponsor 40 PhD students to study nuclear technology in 2013.http://archive.md/p5GiS CAEP continues to sponsor Tsinghua postgraduates.https://web.archive.org/web/20191118053558/http://www.ep.tsinghua.edu.cn/essay/69/585.html In 2004, Tsinghua agreed to supervise doctoral students from the PLA’s Second Artillery Engineering University, now known as the Rocket Force University of Engineering.https://web.archive.org/web/20191119040723/https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/thunews/9658/2013/20131206143218954721423/20131206143218954721423_.html

Major defence laboratories

The State Key Laboratory of Intelligent Technology and Systems (智能技术与系统国家重点实验室) is involved in defence-related research but does not appear to be a dedicated defence laboratory.http://archive.ph/0grI8

Tsinghua’s Department of Electrical Engineering is heavily involved in defence research on anti-jamming for communications and signal processing.https://web.archive.org/web/20181011175716/http://www.eea.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/eea/1374/2010/20101224093926533597505/20101224093926533597505_.html

Economic espionage and misconduct

Tsinghua’s information technology infrastructure has been linked to cyber attacks targeting the Tibetan community, major companies, and government institutions in Alaska, Kenya, Brazil and Mongolia.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-cyber/chinese-hackers-targeted-u-s-firms-govt-after-trade-mission-researchers-idUSKBN1L11D2 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20191115041918/https://www.recordedfuture.com/chinese-cyberespionage-operations/

Defence and security links

In 2006, Tsinghua’s Multimedia Signal and Intelligent Information Processing Lab (多媒体信号与智能信息处理实验室) in the Department of Electronic Engineering partnered with voice recognition company iFlytek to establish a joint research institute.https://web.archive.org/web/20190322104104/https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/ee/8191/index.html iFlytek was placed on the US government’s Entity List in 2019 as a company implicated in supporting human rights abuses in Xinjiang through its surveillance technologies.https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/22/china-voice-biometric-collection-threatens-privacy ; https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/10/09/2019-22210/addition-of-certain-entities-to-the-entity-list

Starting in 2020, Tsinghua and the PLA’s Academy of Military Science have launched a new program for joint training of doctoral students in computer science.https://web.archive.org/web/20191009044816/https:/yz.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/yjszs/8545/20190711181200379437058/1562840196142.pdf

In 2004, Tsinghua started a joint doctoral program for students from the PLA’s Second Artillery Engineering University, now known as the PLA Rocket Force University of Engineering. By 2013, 35 students from the PLA’s strategic missile program had been trained at Tsinghua through the arrangement.https://web.archive.org/web/20190520034626/https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/thunews/9649/2013/20131206143218954721423/20131206143218954721423_.html

Tsinghua’s leadership has prominently highlighted their commitment to supporting China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion.https://www.battlefieldsingularity.com/musings-1/tsinghua-s-approach-to-military-civil-fusion-in-artificial-intelligence

Tsinghua’s International Technology Transfer Center in Shenzhen is intended to ‘serve as a bridge for the bilateral connection between international technological resources and industrial fields,’ contributing to the ‘national technological innovation system.’ This center was recognized as State-level Technology Transfer Center by the State Economic and Trade Commission and Ministry of Education in September 2002.http://archive.ph/Bm3f7

Noteworthy international collaborations

Tsinghua is an associate member of the Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research, through which it has collaborated with a number of European institutions.

Tsinghua contributes to the Beijing International Collaboration Base on Micro and Nano Device Technology.http://archive.ph/nJvfF

Tsinghua has launched the Sino-Russian International Joint Research Center for Aerospace Innovation Technology.http://archive.ph/nJvfF

Tsinghua’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS) has involved the Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science (CTCS), Tsinghua-Michigan Joint Center for Quantum Information (JCQI), Tsinghua-Waterloo Joint Center for Quantum Computing (JCQC), and Tsinghua-Aarhus Center for the Theory of Interactive Computation (CTIC).http://archive.ph/fiUKP

Last updated 21 November 2019. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.