Through partnerships with military universities in China, European universities ensure that high-quality technological knowledge flows to the Chinese army. This was revealed on Thursday by the China Science Investigation, an investigation carried out by a group of European journalists.
The news media found 288 scientific articles in the period 2015 to 2022, which were largely written by scientists from Dutch universities together with colleagues from a Chinese military University.
The investigations include artificial intelligence, radar and sensor technology, drones and robotics. According to studies, the Chinese army has a lot of interest in that technology, the Dutch researchers write.
Universities from the UK have the closest ties with Chinese military universities. Almost half of the total of 2,994 studies were conducted in the UK.
Defence expert Danny Pronk of the Clingendael Institute tells the journalists that this type of scientific research is at the service of China’s defense apparatus. He fears that vital technology and knowledge has already leaked out.
“The modernization of the Chinese army has taken off in the past ten years. The Netherlands must be much stricter in determining which fields of expertise it is allowed to cooperate with Chinese scientists and which are not,” says Pronk.
Dutch universities have said that they value academic freedom, but that they are aware of the risk that information can leak out.