House Investigates UC Berkeley’s China Ties

July 17, 2023

Members of the House have "grave concerns" about a partnership between the University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese organizations that could be aiding the communist government in military and economic development.

The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party sent a letter last week to the school's president regarding the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute, which brings together the California university with China's Tsinghua University and the city of Shenzhen in southeast China. The letter called out the institute's development of "dual-use technologies" that could benefit the Chinese military and requested information on the institute's research and funding.

"Berkeley’s P.R.C.-backed collaboration with Tsinghua University raises many red flags," the letter, signed by committee chairman Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), read.

Berkeley told the New York Times that it takes national security "very seriously."

"The campus is reviewing past agreements and actions involving or connected to Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute" and would "fully and transparently cooperate with any federal inquiries," the university said.

Funding the school received from Chinese entities also was called into question, the New York Times reported:

The committee also questioned whether Berkeley had properly disclosed Chinese funding for the institute, and cited its collaborations with Chinese universities and companies that have been the subjects of sanctions by the United States in recent years, like the National University of Defense Technology, the telecom firm Huawei and the Chinese drone maker DJI.

It also said that Berkeley faculty serving at the institute had received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and other U.S. funding for the development of military applications, raising concerns about Chinese access to those experts.

The letter comes after the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in May called out Berkeley's failure to properly report more than $200 million in funding it received from China.
"In exchange for monetary contributions, UC Berkeley officials offered exclusive tours of cutting-edge semiconductor research facilities to Chinese delegations," the committee chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) wrote. "These delegations included Chinese researchers as well as multiple senior Chinese government officials."
In 2021, reports showed that Berkeley took millions of dollars from China to run a big data research center and advise the regime. The collaboration allowed China to access U.S. expertise in automated cars and big data.

Published under: China