The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is terminating all research and funding links with Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE in light or recent U.S. federal probes, div.group> p: first-child "/>
MIT is one of several prestigious academic institutions in the US to announce an end to ties with Huawei Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Minnesota have cut all future research collaborations with the Chinese telecom company as well, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.
"MIT is not accepting new Huawei and ZTE have their respective subsidiaries due to federal investigations regarding violations of sanctions, "MIT Associate Provost Richard Lester and Vice President of Research Maria Zuber wrote in a letter to the faculty on Wednesday
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The halt in funding to Huawei and ZTE comes at a time of heightening tensions between the U.S. and China.
U.S. lawmakers have said ZTE and Huawei equipment may represent national security risks, alleging that the companies' products could support Chinese espionage. Both companies have denied the claims.
In January, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Huawei with allegedly violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and stealing trade secrets from U.S. telecom T-Mobile
Huawei and ZTE, however, may not be the only international entities affected by a partnership with the university.
MIT's plans to cut ties with Huawei and ZTE are part of a bigger plan to ramp up its internal evaluation of international partners, the letter to faculty said.
"Engagements with certain countries – currently China, Russia and Saudi Arabia – merit additional faculty and administrative review beyond the usual evaluations that all international projects receive," the MIT officials wrote
MIT's "elevated-risk" review process will pay special attention to "intellectual property, export controls, data security and access, economic competitiveness, national security, and political, civil and human rights," the letter said
Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment about MIT's decision.
For more about MIT's cut in funding links with Huawei and ZTE, see the article in n the South China Morning Post.