U.S. House committee investigating Georgia Tech and its ties to university in China

ATLANTA — A U.S. House committee has announced that it is investigating Georgia Tech and its ties to a Chinese university.

The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party said it wants to know about Tech’s ties with Tianjin University, “a Chinese university with significant ties to the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army.”

The Georgia Tech Shenzhen Institute was built in October 2022 in partnership with Tianjin University, but Tech has had an exchange program with the university since 2009. The program welcomed its first group of graduate students in August 2014 and has since brought in students from over 13 countries and regions, the institute’s website said.

“GTSI strives to promote exchange and cooperation in higher education between China and the United States. It shall educate students with integrity and excellence who are committed to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology,” the institute’s website said.

The House committee said Tech has been using money from “its Department of Defense research institute to fund sensitive research with Tianjin University, which was placed on a U.S. government blacklist for stealing American technology with military applications.


“The lawmakers expressed concern over millions of dollars that Georgia Tech accepted from the People’s Republic of China to support its partnership with the blacklisted university, in addition to other PRC funding that the university appeared to neglect reporting to U.S. officials,” the committee said in a news release.

The committee sent a letter Thursday to Tech’s president, Dr. Angel Cabrera, asking for “information regarding its relationship with the Chinese military-linked university, including information about funding, collaborations, and research partnerships.”

“Tianjin University houses major defense laboratories and was involved in a trade secret theft scheme to steal technology with military applications from U.S. companies, activities for which it was placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List in 2020,” the letter said.

In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, Georgia Tech said:

“Protecting national security and contributing to and assuring American competitiveness are core to Georgia Tech. We have implemented ongoing measures to ensure security and compliance across our academic and research functions. We are continuously evaluating and adapting our systems.

“We insist on strict adherence to all rules and regulations that have been established to protect our nation and its interests.

“We welcome the inquiry from Congress and will respond to the questions raised in a timely manner. If there are processes that can be enhanced, we will work to promptly implement them.

“An important fact check -- The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) does not provide funding or have any research partnerships or collaborations with Tianjin University or entities affiliated with Tianjin University.”


Comments on this article