Tech & Science The Chinese professors from labs linked to military that studied in Australia

09:05  27 november  2019
09:05  27 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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a sign in front of a palm tree: Research papers obtained by ABC show links between Chinese professors at UOW and © Provided by ABC News Research papers obtained by ABC show links between Chinese professors at UOW and "high-risk schools". (ABC News: Jennifer Courtney)

Two professors at a NSW university have been linked to Chinese research centres that have reportedly carried out cyber attacks and espionage for the nation's military.

One of the professors attended the University of Wollongong's (UOW) cybersecurity centre several years ago while visiting from a Chinese laboratory allegedly implicated in executing cyber attacks against foreign countries.

Another professor, now working at the university, is a visiting scholar from a Chinese physics academy considered "very high-risk" by security experts due to its ties to the country's nuclear weapons program.

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Stories like ‘ Chinese espionage’ or ‘ China ’s infiltration in Australia ’, with however bizarre plots and eye-catching details, are nothing but lies,” Geng said. Several Australian universities have been criticised for research agreements with Chinese organisations linked to military developments or

A Chinese military scientist spent a year studying satellite navigation systems at a Perth university while his links to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chinese military scientists typically study in fields with military applications, such as hypersonic missiles, navigation technology, quantum physics

A third professor, who was accused by US and Taiwanese media outlets of being a military liaison, co-authored a recent research paper on encrypted coding with the UOW.

The revelations come 24 hours after the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released a report warning Australian universities were unwittingly creating security risks by collaborating with Chinese schools.

ASPI is an independent, not-for-profit think tank specialising in defence, national security and cyber issues.

It identified several "high-risk" universities on mainland China that had military ties and had also sent academics to Australia.

ABC found research papers showing UOW had collaborated with two Chinese professors whose online resumes revealed they worked at these "high-risk" schools.

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Police in the Chinese city of Shanghai say Mr Wang is an unemployed fugitive who was convicted of fraud. Australia 's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters Mr Wang's case was "in the hands of the appropriate law enforcement agencies", adding that his accusations are "very disturbing".

Kevin Carrico, who teaches Chinese studies in Sydney, Australia , is concerned about professors being targeted for comments perceived His post created a stir back in China , where it was quoted in the local news media. The Chinese Consulate in Melbourne contacted him requesting regular updates.

ASPI's cyber policy researcher Alex Joske said both professors' links to the centres should be probed.

"These centres are considered high-risk because of multiple claims they are linked to cyber espionage," Mr Joske said.

"These researchers were looking at methods of getting access to secured systems or secured information.

"Australia strictly controls cryptographic technology and there is a potential for people to have taken that technology back to China."

A UOW spokesman said the university was concerned about the allegations.

The spokesman said two of the professors no longer worked with the university and that it was the Federal Government's role to screen foreign visitors.

"Some of the research collaborations referred to by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and in subsequent media reporting, pre-date the introduction of the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012," he said.

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Media captionIs China trying to influence Australian politics? In recent months, Australia has been struggling with a vexing issue - how to stand up for Wider fears have abounded about civilian links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) held by Chinese nationals conducting business or studying in

Sixteen university labs around the world are identified as being run jointly by Chinese defence companies, or have major The others are in Australia , Germany, Switzerland and Austria. “[Something] that really alarmed me was the level of collaboration with Chinese missile scientists

"International PhD students and visiting academics are required to obtain a visa before undertaking research at the University of Wollongong.

"This involves providing the Australian Government with extensive personal information for assessment."

Alleged military connections

The resume and research papers show one professor studied and worked at China's prestigious Wuhan University in the Laboratory of Aerospace Information Security and Trusted Computing since the 1990s.

Her resume reveals she worked with a professor there, who has been accused by US media outlets of being a liaison between the laboratory and the Chinese military.

US and Taiwanese media outlets have previously alleged the centre, 800 kilometres west of Shanghai, is funded by China's military and linked to cyber attacks on Taiwan.

The professor was previously hosted by UOW at its Cybersecurity and Cryptography centre and undertook a collaborative research project.

Several years later, another professor from the same Chinese lab wrote a research paper on infiltrating security systems alongside a UOW academic.

That professor has been identified by US media outlets as having close ties to China's military.

It is understood the professors are still working at Wuhan University.

But academic papers show a professor now hosted by the University of Wollongong has also worked for a research centre that may have ties to China's military apparatus.

The professor is visiting from the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) — the nation's sole nuclear weapons development facility.

ASPI said that facility had been involved in two alleged espionage cases in the US during the 1980s and 90s.

ASPI has classified the CAEP as "very high-risk" and warned Australian universities to be wary of visiting academics.

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