Intel & NVIDIA Chips Still In Use Openly For Chinese Military & Nuclear Research

With China prevented by the U.S. government from accessing technologies that would assist various companies and organizations overseas in the use of designing military and nuclear weapons, that has not stopped any Chinese groups from obtaining non-blacklisted technology from other sources on the open marketplaces, namely Aliexpress and Taobao, reports the Wall Street Journal.

China openly admits to using Intel and NVIDIA PC hardware obtained legally through online sellers from Taobao, Aliexpress, and more

One group discovered by a research report from WSJ was the China Academy of Engineering Physics, or CAEP, which the U.S. Department of Commerce has blocked since 1997. The news organization found that the CAEP utilizes Intel Xeon Gold CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs in their research that was obtained from the two online marketplaces as well as others. It should be noted that the CAEP assisted China with its nuclear program and created the first hydrogen bomb for China. WSJ reports that the government has hundreds of warheads, possibly over 400 stockpiled, and is anticipated to reach over 1,500 in the next ten to fifteen years.

The Trump and Biden administrations have attempted to halt China’s nuclear and military research and development, which has caused Chinese organizations to utilize consumer-grade CPUs and GPUs to assist with HPC or high-performance computing needs to help with their research.

Kevin Wolf, the former top Commerce Department official, told WSJ, “It is insanely difficult to enforce the U.S. restrictions when it comes to transactions overseas.” The CAEP still uses equipment and products purchased in 2020, including Intel processors and NVIDIA V100 graphics cards. In 2021, the Chinese government purchased over a third of the semiconductor chips in the world for supercomputers during the year 2021.

A U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security representative explained to WSJ, “As mass-market products move through multiple parties in global supply chains, full visibility on ultimate end users is a large undertaking.”

This unfortunate discovery is not hidden from the U.S. government or the public, as the CAEP has been open about using the machines and technology. It is unknown what steps U.S. officials are planning to take further to stop the development of more weapons in China.

News Sources: Wall Street Journal, Tom’s Hardware

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