With its cast iron replica of Budapest’s Liberty Bridge and its pale-stoned version of Versailles, visitors to Huawei’s research centre in Dongguan could be forgiven for thinking they were in Europe.
It is a benign – if eccentric – tribute. But other attempts to forge close ties to the Western culture have much more serious implications.
The Telegraph can disclose today that the controversial Chinese telecoms giant backed 17 scientific papers with UK universities, about cutting-edge “dual use” technologies – which can have civilian applications but can also be used in military technology.
At least 15 of the papers focused on technology that experts claim could be used to communicate with swarms of drones or on highly advanced image recognition software that experts claim could be used for extreme levels of surveillance.