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31 July


Published documents confirming the connection of Huawei with the military

Huawei workers have teamed with members of various organs of the PLA on at least 10 research endeavours

Photo: Reuters

/NOVOSTIVL/ Several Huawei Technologies employees have collaborated on research projects with Chinese armed forces personnel, indicating closer ties to the country’s military than previously acknowledged by the smartphone and networking powerhouse. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.

Over the past decade, Huawei workers have teamed with members of various organs of the People’s Liberation Army on at least 10 research endeavours spanning artificial intelligence to radio communications.

They include a joint effort with the investigative branch of the Central Military Commission (the armed forces’ supreme body) to extract and classify emotions in online video comments, and an initiative with the elite National University of Defense Technology to explore ways of collecting and analysing satellite images and geographical coordinates.

Those projects are just a few of the publicly disclosed studies that shed light on how staff at China’s largest technology company teamed with the People’s Liberation Army on research into an array of potential military and security applications. Bloomberg culled the papers from published periodicals and online research databases used mainly by Chinese academics and industry specialists.

The author of a 2006 paper on America’s combat network radio, Zheng Chuangming, from the Shenzhen Huawei Base, looked into how US software algorithms helped boost efficiency and conserve power. Zheng had published a more general paper on the same system only months earlier but listed his affiliation on that earlier document as the state-owned 7th Research Institute of China Electronics Group Corporation.

Another Huawei employee, Li Jie, is listed as working with two military researchers on the genesis and outlook of the geographical information system, used to collate and parse location data. That is according to a study included in papers published after an academic seminar on telecommunications in the northern city of Dalian in 2009.

And in yet another paper published in 2013, Huawei employee Zhou Jian worked with a PLA hospital on ways to help doctors better detect heart signals. The study was funded by the PLA’s 12th Five Year project, according to an introduction to the paper posted on cnki.cn, an online archive of academic research papers. Zhou is identified as an employee of Huawei Technologies Co

The authors of the treatises, which haven’t been reported in the media previously, identified themselves as Huawei employees and the company name was prominently listed at the top of the papers.

"Huawei is not aware of its employees publishing research papers in their individual capacity," spokesman Glenn Schloss said in a messaged statement. "Huawei does not have any R&D collaboration or partnerships with the PLA-affiliated institutions," he said.

"Huawei only develops and produces communications products that confirm to civil standards worldwide, and does not customise R&D products for the military".

The armed forces too have strongly denied official links to Huawei. "Huawei is not a military company," Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June. "Do not think that because the head of Huawei used to serve in the military, then the company that he built is part of the military".