Berkeley’s $220M Mistake Exposed in Massive Deal With China

by Yuichiro Kakutani at

Updated May 26, 2023  – U.C. Berkeley has failed to disclose to the U.S. government massive Chinese state funding for a highly sensitive $240 million joint tech venture in China that has been running for the last eight years.

The Californian university has not registered with the U.S. government that there was huge financial support from the city of Shenzhen for the tech project inside China, which also included partnerships with Chinese companies that have since been sanctioned by the U.S. or accused of complicity in human rights abuses.

The university has failed to declare a $220 million investment from the municipal government of Shenzhen to build a research campus in China. The money went directly to funding the new campus, which Berkeley does not own, not to U.C. Berkeley itself.

A Berkeley spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the university had yet to declare the investment—announced in 2018—because the campus is still under construction. However, a former Department of Education official who used to help manage the department’s foreign gifts and contracts disclosure program said that investment agreements must be disclosed within six months of signing, not when they are fully executed.

Berkeley admitted that it had also failed to disclose to the U.S. government a $19 million contract in 2016 paid direct to Berkeley from Tsinghua University, which is controlled by the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education.