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Alberta asks universities to report on links with Beijing and Communist Party

EDMONTON — Alberta’s advanced education minister has sent a letter to four of the province’s universities asking them to pause their pursuit of new or renewed partnerships with organizations linked with China or the Chinese Communist Party.

A ministry spokesman says in an email that Demetrios Nicolaides has also asked the four comprehensive academic and research institutions to thoroughly review their relationships with entities that are potentially linked with the People’s Republic of China and its governing party.

The letter asks that the review ensures “these ongoing partnerships follow stringent risk assessments and due diligence.”

The universities have 90 days to submit a report with the requested information to Alberta Advanced Education.

The University of Calgary says in an email that it has received the letter and is reviewing it, but isn’t able to comment at this time.

In a statement, Nicolaides says he is “deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property” and further that research partnerships with China may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies.

“My priority is to work with our post-secondary institutions to protect Canadian intellectual property and to ensure that Alberta institutions do not enter into agreements with entities that would undermine our country’s core national interests,” Nicolaides said.

“We would also welcome a comprehensive national framework from Ottawa on these serious pressing issues, as national security and intelligence are primarily the federal government’s domain.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press