HCSS in the media

Politiken: Tycho de Feijter on collaboration with China's Naval University

July 29th 2020 - 14:16

Denmark’s Aalborg University has inadvertently collaborated with researchers from the Chinese navy to develop electrical components for power systems in ships and submarines, reports newspaper Politiken. HCSS subject matter expert Tycho De Feijter comments that the research will undoubtedly be used to advance China's plans to modernize their navy.

Aalborg University regrets the collaboration, and will in future pay more attention to political interests in scientific research: "As a university, we have not been sufficiently aware that it is not just enough to look at whether a partner has the necessary academic level. We must also consider the political and ethical aspects ."

It surprised De Feijter, former defense analyst at the Dutch embassy in Beijing, that Aalborg University had accepted the collaboration, since the Naval University of Engineering (NUE) is China’s premier scientific institution for the navy.

“It is well-known that NUE is purely a military institute. The knowledge obtained in the collaboration project will surely be used by China to further develop these plans. That is why they have these collaborations in the first place”, Tycho de Feijter says.

China has a strategic interest in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, where they are building artificial islands with military installations. A significant challenge for China has been to ensure stable electricity to the islands. “China has been looking for compact power-generation systems for many years”, de Feijter says.

Therefore, he is not surprised that the Chinese fleet is seeking knowledge on power systems around the world, including at Aalborg University.


Translation of parts of the original Danish article; published by Sebastian Stryhn Kjeldtoft in Politiken, July 26 2020


Tycho de Feijter is a China-expert specialized in Chinese defence and the Chinese automotive sector. He studied law in Amsterdam and Beijing, graduating with a thesis on China’s accession to the WTO. After graduation, De Feijter moved to China and stayed for 15 years, extensively researching and traveling the country. He worked 11 years as a local expert for the Dutch Embassy in Beijing, first for the Economic & Commercial department, and then for the Defence Department.