The telecoms giant has been embroiled in controversy because of its close relationship with the Chinese stateMatti Blume / Wikimedia Commons

The Cambridge University Engineering Society (CUES) has faced criticism for its partnership with Chinese telecoms manufacturer Huawei.

CUES counts Huawei as one of its ten high-profile sponsors and hosted the US-sanctioned company at its careers fair in October 2023.

The student-run society organised a site visit to Huawei’s Cambridge research centre in March 2022, the month when the University stopped accepting all new funding and research from Huawei.

The site visit featured a presentation from a former Cambridge student and current Huawei employee entitled: “From Cambridge graduate to Huawei Employee”.

Huawei’s events are advertised through the CUES mailing list and Instagram and Facebook pages.

Huawei is still tied to the University through CAPE, a research partnership it participates in between the University and a handful of corporations in the photonics and electronics industry.

Dr Wei Zhang, a director at Huawei, delivered a CAPE lecture in February last year.

The tech giant has been embroiled in controversy because of its close relationship with the Chinese state.

Back in 2020, the UK government decided to strip Huawei from Britain’s 5G infrastructure over concerns about national security.

The US Department of State imposed sanctions on Huawei earlier that year citing human rights abuses.

The company is said to be involved in the surveillance of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China, using their technology to help local police and government tighten their security infrastructure.

Engineering undergraduate and CUES member, Archie McCann, told Varsity: “Huawei is a company directly contributing to the Uighur genocide by manufacturing the tech used for their mass surveillance. To see Huawei promoted by, and sponsoring, the Cambridge University Engineering Society is just wrong.”

“I hope it is out of ignorance, rather than intentional reputational laundering of a genocidal company,” he added.

Another Engineering student said: “Although I am disappointed to see CUES being sponsored by Huawei, what we have to worry about more is the honeymoon between the Cambridge Engineering Department and the US-sanctioned Chinese company, which can be exemplified by CAPE.”

“While the department is cutting ties with fossil fuel companies for ESG reasons, collaborating with Huawei seems inconsistent,” they said.

The University was criticised in October by Tory MPs for having accepted millions in research funding and donations from Huawei.

A University spokesperson said: “The University paused all new research and funding from Huawei in March 2022. CAPE has no continued collaboration with Huawei. No new projects have started since 2021, and all projects have now run their course”.

“We have a robust system for reviewing strategic relationships and donations. All of our collaborations have been assessed against UK Government Export Controls and we collaborate regularly with the UK Government’s Research Collaboration Advice Team,” they continued.


Mountain View

Cambridge under fire for Huawei cash