Huawei has been accused of “infiltrating” a Cambridge University research center after most of its academics were found to have ties with the Chinese company, The Times, UK reported.

Three out of four of the directors at the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management (CCCM) have ties to the company, and its so-called chief representative is a former senior Huawei vice-president who has been paid by the Chinese government.

The university insists that one former Huawei executive has never delivered services to the center while the firm itself has said any suggestion of impropriety is absurd.

Daily Mail reported that critics have claimed that the Huawei ties is a demonstration that the university has allowed the CCCM to be infiltrated by the Chinese company which has been banned from joining Britain’s 5G network.

Johnny Patterson, policy director of the Hong Kong Watch campaign group, told the newspaper the university should investigate the relationship between Huawei and the CCCM.

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Meanwhile, Ian Duncan Smith described Cambridge University as ‘one of the worst offenders when it came to relying on money from China.

He told the Times that British companies and universities had grown ‘far too dependent on Chinese money in recent years and added: ‘The government needs to urgently set up an inquiry into the UK’s dependency on China across a range of institutions and companies.’

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who is head of the China Research Group and chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, told the newspaper: ‘Perceived academic influence is clearly an issue and just as universities would never take money from tobacco companies to investigate links with cancer so institutions need to be very careful about where they accept their money.’

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The Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management forms part of the university’s judge business school and describes itself as ‘an academic research institute dedicated to the study of the management practices and strategies of Chinese enterprises.

The center’s website describes how its ‘chief representative in China’ is Yanping Hu who is a former senior vice president at Huawei.