China’s nuclear research institute circumvents export ban to buy U.S. chips, U.S. Congress to investigate

In International
January 30, 2023
China's nuclear research institute circumvents export ban to buy U.S. chips, U.S. Congress to investigate

According to reports, a Chinese nuclear weapons and nuclear technology research institution has repeatedly purchased and used advanced computer chips from the United States since 2020, even though this institution has been included in the United States’ export control entity list since 1997.¬†The U.S. Congress said it would investigate the matter.

The Wall Street Journal of the United States reviewed and asked experts to identify seven nuclear technology research reports published by the China Academy of Engineering Physics in recent years, and found that six of them described the use of graphics processors and other computer chips to improve the performance of inertial confinement fusion devices. A March report mentioned the use of a US-based Intel Core i7-7800X processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card.

The report said that due to being included in the list of export control entities by the United States, the China Academy of Engineering Physics obtained computer chips that the academy could not directly purchase from the United States through other unknown Chinese businessmen as third parties.

Nvidia Corporation stated that the Nvidia-branded semiconductor used by the China Academy of Engineering Physics is a graphics processing chip that is often found in general personal computers. Due to the huge sales of personal computers around the world, no chip company can control who the end user of each computer is. .Intel Corporation stated that the company complies with the export control regulations of the United States, and the company’s distributors and users must also abide by the relevant restrictions.

Still, China’s military and its suppliers use shell companies and other means to get around restrictions imposed by the United States on end users, a former U.S. Department of Defense official said.The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees sensitive and dual-use technologies, said that “when a commodity product passes through multiple players in a global supply chain, it is a tall order to fully see who the end user is.”

Reports that China’s nuclear weapons research institute bypassed U.S. export controls to acquire advanced U.S. chips have drawn the attention of the U.S. Congress.¬†McCall, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security in a statement Sunday for failing to do its job.”Our government doesn’t have time to complain that these problems are hard to fix. We need solutions. That’s why I’m thoroughly reviewing BIS policies and rules to ensure export controls are being carefully enforced. Time is of the essence,” the statement said. “