At least 50 Canadian universities have conducted research projects connected to China’s military according to a new report.
The Globe and Mail reported on Monday that a study by US company Strider Technologies Inc. discovered that some of the country’s top post-secondary institutions could be helping further arm China with cutting edge military tech.
The University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Waterloo all took part in research with Chinese scientists linked to the People’s Liberation Army. Nearly all of Canada’s top 10 schools were implicated in Strider’s findings.
In the last half decade, collaborations have occurred with military scientists working for the National University of Defence Technology (NUDT) to advance projects related to missile guidance, drones and surveillance technology.
The Chinese institute has raised alarms internationally, including in the US, which chose to blacklist NUDT in 2015 for being “involved, or (posing) a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national-security or foreign-policy interests of the United States.”
Headed by the Chinese Communist Party, the university’s main goal is to give China a strategic advantage over its rivals – including Canada.
Some of the projects connected to China’s military have also received support from the federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
When confronted, university officials told the outlet that the federal government has not given any direction to stop the research, despite the fact that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has warned post-secondary schools about the risk that comes with such associations.
“On matters of national security, universities look to Canadian authorities for actionable direction, and there is no direction from such authorities to preclude the co-authoring of the research papers you describe,” University of Toronto’s vice-president Joseph Wong told the Globe and Mail.
Last year concerns about China’s grasp on Canadian institutions reached a new high after it was revealed that the country was operating a number of extrajudicial police “service stations” in Canada and other countries.
Experts have concerns that China’s government is using its global influence to monitor the Chinese diaspora and steal trade or state secrets for its own advantage.