University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

电子科技大学

The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) is designated very high risk for its very high level of defence research, links to potential human rights abuses, inclusion on the US Government Entity List, and relationship with China’s defence industry and nuclear weapons program.

UESTC was established in 1961 as one of China’s first defence industry universities. It is now subordinate to the Ministry of Education (MOE) and is also jointly supervised by defence industry agencies MIIT and SASTIND, as well as the Chinese military’s leading electronics manufacturer, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC).https://web.archive.org/web/20190528012351/http://www.moe.gov.cn/s78/A14/moe_667/200609/t20060912_17316.html ; http://www.moe.gov.cn/s78/A08/gjs_left/s7187/s7189/201403/t20140313_165432.html ; http://archive.fo/nhxS5

The university is one of China’s leading universities for defence electronics research. It claims to rank among the top MOE universities in terms of the scale of its defence research.https://web.archive.org/web/20190922224139/http://www.moe.gov.cn/jyb_xwfb/s6192/s133/s211/201004/t20100419_85185.html ‘十五”以来,学校承担的科研任务涵盖了军事电子全部技术领域和所有军兵种,共承担军事电子科研900多项,经费超过5亿元,位居教育部直属高校首位,一大批产品在武器装备中发挥了作用,有力保证了国家急需重点型号工程的研制,连续四年获得武器装备探索计划项目支持。’ ; https://web.archive.org/web/20190922222956/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.ArticlePage&Id=57482 ‘学校进入国防科工局/教育部共建高校,荣获“***工程突出贡献奖”(教育部唯一一家)’; ‘https://web.archive.org/web/20190922230017/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.SpecialReportArticleDocument&Id=53120 ‘2010年以来,学校国防科研规模较前五年增长了60%,整体规模居教育部直属高校前列’ Between 2011 and 2015, its annual spending on defence research grew by 210% to RMB400 million (AUD80 million) and may account for as much as 32% of its overall research spending.https://web.archive.org/web/20191014024835/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.SpecialReportArticleDocument&Id=53120 ; http://archive.fo/Uw937 ;UESTC’s science budget in 2015 was RMB1.238bn according to Ministry of Education statistics: https://web.archive.org/web/20170822221834/http://www.moe.gov.cn/s78/A16/A16_tjdc/201703/W020170303298684014598.pdf 16.43% of UESTC graduates in 2017 who found employment were working in the defence sector.https://news.uestc.edu.cn/upload/attach/4d44297e896a966efb7fe93bc86920ee.pdf UESTC gained secret-level security credentials about a decade ago, probably in 2006, making it one of the first MOE universities to hold them.https://web.archive.org/web/20190922235611/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.ArticlePage&Id=24472 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20190922235531/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.ArticlePage&Id=47804 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20190922235828/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.ArticlePage&Id=12191

UESTC research has been used by state-owned manufacturers of military aircraft, missiles, and military electronics and the PLA Navy on projects such as the JF-17 fighter and the Navy’s aircraft carrier program.https://web.archive.org/web/20190922234103/http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qWFSYDpG1jEJ:www.rd.uestc.edu.cn/uploads/ueditor/file/20180829/1535516085442988.pdf+&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

UESTC’s defence research covers areas including electronics, microwaves, terahertz technology, anti-jamming technology and signal processing, communication systems, military-use critical materials, optoelectric imaging.https://web.archive.org/web/20190922223219/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.SpecialReportArticleDocument&Id=53120 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20190922222956/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.ArticlePage&Id=57482 Between 2001 and 2005, UESTC undertook over 900 military electronics projects worth in excess of RMB500 million (AUD104 million).https://web.archive.org/web/20190922224139/http://www.moe.gov.cn/jyb_xwfb/s6192/s133/s211/201004/t20100419_85185.html

UESTC’s research on artificial intelligence has attracted scrutiny for its human rights implications. In 2015, a professor recruited by UESTC through the Thousand Talents Plan established a company called Koala AI. The company produces artificial intelligence surveillance systems that are used in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1.5 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have disappeared into concentration camps.https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-company-with-aussie-roots-thats-helping-build-chinas-surveillance-state/

UESTC has close relationships with the Chinese defence industry. The university operates a national laboratory on high-power radiation with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics, the PRC’s primary nuclear warhead research complex. CETC, a state-owned defence conglomerate, partnered jointly with the MOE to developUESTC’s capabilities. Under the arrangement, UESTC agreed to expand its collaboration with CETC, help train CETC personnel and send its best students to work at CETC.http://archive.fo/ZbgKK Defence industry agency SASTIND also signed agreements to supervise UESTC in 2008 and 2016.http://archive.fo/nhxS5

Major defence laboratories

Designated defence research areas

UESTC has at least ten designated disciplines and subjects with defence characteristics.https://web.archive.org/web/20190809062034/https://www.sciping.com/27245.html These include electronic components, electromagnetic field and microwave technology, signal and information processing, communication and information systems, optoelectric imaging, measuring and testing technologies and instruments, and military-use critical materials.https://web.archive.org/web/20190922222956/https://news.uestc.edu.cn/?n=UestcNews.Front.Document.ArticlePage&Id=57482; https://web.archive.org/web/20190922234103/http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qWFSYDpG1jEJ:www.rd.uestc.edu.cn/uploads/ueditor/file/20180829/1535516085442988.pdf+&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

Economic espionage and misconduct

UESTC’s inclusion on the US Government Entity List implies that it acts as a proxy for China’s nuclear weapons program.

UESTC is a known recruiting ground for PLA hackers, and been alleged to have links to a Chinese hacking group.https://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/Shadows_In_The_Cloud.pdf ; https://web.archive.org/web/20170713064905/https://www.chengduliving.com/chengdus-spy-network/

UESTC’s research on artificial intelligence has attracted scrutiny for its human rights implications. In 2015, a professor recruited by UESTC through the Thousand Talents Plan established a company called Koala AI. The company produces artificial intelligence surveillance systems that are used in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1.5 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have disappeared into concentration camps.https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-company-with-aussie-roots-thats-helping-build-chinas-surveillance-state/

While the professor was recruited by UESTC in 2014, the professor maintained his position at the University of Queensland until 2017. However the University of Queensland has stated that he did not declare any external paid appointments during this period, nor any plans to commercialise his research. At the time, the professor was a recipient of over $1 million in Australian Research Council funding that came with conflict of interest disclosure requirements.https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/uq-researcher-probed-over-ai-uighur-surveil/news-story/33a6ae6b304c6363d2a4be6a22bc4887

Noteworthy international collaborations

UESTC and the University of New South Wales in Australia jointly established the Joint Fibre Optics Research Centre for Engineering (J-FORCE) in 2018.https://web.archive.org/web/20190603000102/http://www2.eet.unsw.edu.au/photonics/News-UESTC%20delegate.html

UESTC and the University of Glasgow run a joint college in China that offers undergraduate degrees in electronics.https://web.archive.org/web/20191014010443/https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/international%20partnerships/uestc/ ; https://web.archive.org/web/20191014010545/https://www.gla.ac.uk/media/Media_557262_smxx.pdf

End-user lists

UESTC is included in Japan’s End User List for involvement in chemical weapons and missile development.

The university was also added to the US Government Entity List in 2012 as an alias for the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics, the PRC’s primary nuclear warheads development complex.https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2012/09/19/2012-22952/addition-of-certain-persons-to-the-entity-list-removal-of-person-from-the-entity-list-based-on

Last updated 7 December 2019. Unclear about any wording? Visit the terminology page.