MIT halts collaborations with Chinese tech firms Huawei, ZTE

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said on Wednesday it has halted collaborations with Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp over US federal investigations of the Chinese technology companies’ alleged violations of sanctions.

“MIT is not accepting new engagements or renewing existing ones with Huawei and ZTE or their respective subsidiaries due to federal investigations regarding violations of sanction restrictions,” Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, said in a letter posted on its website.

Zuber also said the institute’s collaborations with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia will face additional administrative review procedures.

“The Institute will revisit collaborations with these entities as circumstances dictate,” she said.

Earlier this year, UK’s Oxford University stopped accepting funding from Huawei.

MIT has joined a list of top US educational institutes that are ditching telecom equipment made by Huawei and other Chinese companies to avoid losing federal funding.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO and daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at US behest on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of US sanctions against Iran. She denies wrongdoing.

ZTE was forced to stop most business between April and July last year due to US sanctions after Commerce Department officials had said the company broke a previous agreement and was caught illegally shipping US-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.

Chinese telecommunications equipment makers have also been facing mounting scrutiny, led by the United States, amid worries their equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. The companies, however, have said the concerns are unfounded.

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