The University of California-Berkeley helped with the operation of a research center in China that gave economic advice to the Chinese Communist Party.
The Washington Free Beacon released a report that claims the university began working with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Chinese province of Guizhou’s local government to operate the Guizhou Berkeley Big Data Innovation Research Center (GBIC) in September 2016. The research center is located in the Chinese province of Guizhou, a relatively poor and underdeveloped region.
The Guizhou government said in a press release that the center is researching “big data, technological development, studying industrial innovation, incubation, and training.”
The RAND Corporation said in a 2020 report that Beijing has recently been focusing on big data to improve its political and military standing. The report also says that the Chinese government believes focusing on big data will help its public security forces, undergird its Social Credit System, and prepare China to win future military conflicts.
A researcher from Berkeley said that the center will give data support for the local Chinese government “in making economic decisions and improving public services.”
UC Berkeley, which is a taxpayer-funded university, admitted in a webpage description of the center that the goal of the research center was to “develop a state-of-the-art platform for Chinese, US, and international researchers and industry to conduct big data research.” The university has since removed the webpage.
A spokesperson for Berkeley told the Free Beacon that the research center is “no longer functioning” and has not been for the last year.
China has had an increasing impact on American universities. Federal records found that over 100 American universities have Confucius Institutes, a Chinese government-backed program that pushes Chinese Communist Party-sponsored propaganda on American students.