OXFORD UNIVERSITY has announced an indefinite suspension on donations and sponsorship from troubled Chinese tech giant Huawei.
The Shenzhen-based company has been under scrutiny from across the world over fears it may pose a security risk, owing to its unspecified links with the Chinese government which may stretch to espionage, something it has repeatedly and emphatically denied.
The company has a number of grants, bursaries and research programmes for academic establishments, but Oxford has been the first to make a conscious decision to decline future collaborations.
A statement from the University, which expresses a desire for things to be sorted out "shortly" confirms: "Huawei has been notified of the decision, which the university will keep under review. The decision applies both to the funding of research contracts and of philanthropic donations."
"The decision has been taken in the light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei."
Fears have been expressed that if things keep going for Huawei the way they have in recent weeks, any future sanctions against it could impact the University by association.
Existing projects will not be affected, with the statement confirming: "We currently have two such on-going projects, with a combined funding from Huawei of £692,000. Both projects were approved under the university's regulatory processes before the current levels of uncertainty arose. "
This is, of course, completely logical. To stop a research programme midway through on account of Huawei's dumb ass is exactly the situation that the Uni boffins are trying to avoid.
Huawei says it has not been informed of any such decision.
The very public problems facing Huawei have multiplied since Christmas, when the daughter of the company's CEO, and herself chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada and deported back to the US, accused of breaking agreed sanctions with Iraq.
This was further compounded last week when it emerged that the Polish sales director of the company was arrested and charged with spying - yes, actual spying - though all parties, including Polish investigators, have made it clear that there is no evidence that the spying was done at the behest, or with the knowledge of Huawei. μ
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