A Cambridge University college that produced a paper accused of ‘reputation laundering’ for Huawei received £200,000 from the Chinese state and £155,000 from the telecoms giant.
In February, Jesus College published a ‘white paper’ on global communications reforms which caused a stir for its favourable portrayal of Huawei following a previously undisclosed contribution.
The paper by the college’s UK-China Global Issues Dialogue Centre also said that ‘transnational governance’ of the technology industry ‘needs to consider differences in the normative standards accepted by different countries.’
Under a freedom of information request submitted by The Times, Jesus confirmed that it received £155,000 from Huawei last September to ‘cover a two-year research co-operation.’
Huawei’s alleged reputation laundering appears today to be money down the drain after intelligence chiefs warned the government that the company’s 5G infrastructure in the UK could enable spying by Beijing.
Professor Peter Nolan, 71, director of the China Centre and a fellow at Jesus, meets with Chairman Xiao Yaqingm, head of Beijing’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, in Beijing in September 2018
The FOI request by The Times also revealed that in September 2018, the month the college’s UK-China Global Issues Dialogue Centre was created, it banked £200,000 from an agency of China’s State Council, the country’s administrative authority.
A different group, the China Centre, is also affiliated with Jesus and every year it provides a two-week training course for execs from Chinese state-owned companies.
China’s own officials select and supervise who is dispatched to Cambridge for the training.
The Times reported that the charitable trust which oversees the China Centre was sent £55,000 in November 2018 from a group linked to China’s State Council.
Professor Peter Nolan, 71, is one of the charity’s trustees, director of the China Centre and a fellow at Jesus.
He became the first ever ‘Chong Hua’ professor at Cambridge, a role founded in 2012 ‘to further the study of China.’
The professorship was backed by a £3.7 million donation made by the daughter of former Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao, according to The Times.
Jesus College told the paper it ‘always upholds the principle of academic freedom when entering a partnership agreement.
‘It was made very clear [in February] that the report was funded by Huawei, and we would like to reiterate that the company was in no way able to shape or veto the publication’s views, research findings or conclusions.’
A Huawei spokesman said: ‘We are proud of our partnerships with world-leading universities and researchers here in the UK.’
Prof. Nolan did not comment.