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Funding Links With Chinese Firms Huawei And ZTE Cut By MIT

Funding Links With Chinese Firms Huawei And ZTE Cut By MIT
Citing the problems that it might face because of the ongoing investigations by the US federal investigators against the Chinese etch giant Huawei and ZTE, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced the termination of its relationship of funding with these two companies.
Similar moves had been earlier taken by the Stanford University and University of Minnesota in which both the educational institutions have severed all future research collaborations with Huawei.
“At this time, based on this enhanced review, MIT is not accepting new engagements or renewing existing ones with Huawei and ZTE or their respective subsidiaries due to federal investigations regarding violations of sanction restrictions,” Richard Lester, MIT’s associate provost, and Maria Zuber, the school’s vice-president for research, said in a letter to staff on Wednesday.
Experts see the move by MIT to be a part of a larger strategy of the institution of stricter screening of research partners. This can result in relationships with other entities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Russia and Saudi Arabia also being affected.
“Most recently we have determined that engagements with certain countries – currently China [including Hong Kong], Russia and Saudi Arabia – merit additional faculty and administrative review beyond the usual evaluations that all international projects receive,” the letter said.
There were no comments available from MIT
“We're disappointed by MIT's decision, but we understand the pressure they're under at the moment. We believe that scientific research is carried out for the benefit of all mankind, and should be free from the influence of geopolitics. Huawei denies the allegations of the US government, and we trust the US judicial system will ultimately reach the right conclusion,” a  Huawei spokesman told the media.
There were no comments from ZTE.
A presentation by Huawei in 2017 has claimed MIT to be a collaborator of the company in its program called the Huawei Innovation Research Programme (HIRP) which has been defined by the company to be a global initiative “to identify and support world-class, full-time faculty members pursuing innovation of mutual interest”.
“At the same time, we ask that governments in countries where they are based provide a just, fair, and nondiscriminatory environment,” said Geng Shuang, spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing.
The arrest of the chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, in Canada at the behest of the United States has made global headlines in recent times. Currently a case of extradition is undergoing.
A seven-year exports ban on ZTE was initiated by the US Department of Commerce about a year ago under which the US government stopped the Chinese company from accessing the market of US components and services which are critical for manufacturing of its smartphones and telecommunications equipment. The allegation against the company was that ZTE had attempted cover up the violation of US sanctions of Iran.  The matter was settled a number of months later by the company by payment of a fine of over $1 billion.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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