Research for the China Defence Universities Tracker has determined that greater numbers of Chinese universities are engaged in defence research, training defence scientists, collaborating with the military and cooperating with defence industry conglomerates and are involved in classified research.
At least 15 civilian universities have been implicated in cyberattacks, illegal exports or espionage.
China’s defence industry conglomerates are supervising agencies of nine universities and have sent thousands of their employees to train abroad.
This raises questions for governments, universities and companies that collaborate with partners in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). There’s a growing risk that collaboration with PRC universities can be leveraged by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) or security agencies for surveillance, human rights abuses or military purposes.
Universities and governments remain unable to effectively manage risks that come with growing collaboration with PRC entities. There’s little accessible information on the military and security links of PRC universities. This knowledge gap limits the effectiveness of risk-management efforts.