Civic IDEA has published the 6th China Watch report “Nuctech Company Ltd. in Georgia”, which evaluates the controversies over the Chinese biggest security scanner distributor “Nuctech Company Ltd”. The latter covers the company’s cooperation with the Georgian government, fraudulent activities related to Georgian and foreign tender procedures, malfunctions of its security equipment, and corruption scandals worldwide. More specifically, the report discusses the cases of Georgia, Namibia, Taiwan, and Europe, reveals Nuctech’s military ties with the Russian Federation, and reviews the US adversarial policies towards it.
Chinese company Nuctech company limited first appeared on the Georgian market in March 2008. At that time, The Minister of Finance of Georgia, Nika Gilauri, signed an agreement with Nuctech Company Limited on behalf of the Government of Georgia. The contract was on the implementation of the project for the supply of inspection complexes to the Government of Georgia. According to the 2014 report of the State Audit Office, in 2012, within the framework of simplified procurements, two contracts were signed with Nuctech Company Limited for the purchase of stationary X-ray scanners (NUCTECH MB1215DE). The X-ray inspection system was to be delivered at the Kazbegi customs checkpoint. The total value of the procurement was 4,566,775 USD. Within the tenders announced by the Revenue Service in 2011-2013, participating suppliers filed several claims against the National Procurement Agency over the fact that the Revenue Service adapted required technical specification to the Nuctech Company Limited catalogs; also, they were so complicated that many suppliers were barred from participating. In 2018-2020, the Revenue Service purchased a total of 5,870,722.48 USD goods from Nuctech Company Limited through simplified procurement. The objects of procurements were the preventive and corrective maintenance service of the X-ray scanners owned by the Revenue Service. One of the countries that properly resist Nuctech and restricts its access to critical domestic industries is the United States. The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) banned Nuctech installations in 2014 and provided a detailed review of the company’s misconduct leaning on its international experiences in the classified document. Furthermore, the US government is calling on its European allies to restrict Nuctech’s access to public tenders and disregard the baggage screening equipment it provides. Moreover, the US government is calling on its European allies to restrict Nuctech’s access to public tenders and abandon its baggage screening equipment. However, today European states respond individually to the allegations against Nuctech and its activities. For example, while Nuctech has successfully won tenders in Estonia, Finland, and Croatia, the Lithuanian government has officially banned equipment manufactured by this company. We are often asked about the specific damage Nuctech can bring to the country. For instance, in Ukraine, Nuctech not only supplied incomplete and defective equipment to the Ukrainian customs checkpoints but even won the case against the State Security Bureau and the Ministry of Finance in court. Namibia also has a painful experience, as Beijing removed it from China’s internet search engines and imposed all kinds of media censorship on it all over the country just because the latter had launched an investigation regarding the Nuctech-related corruption scandal. The Chinese authorities removed Namibia because Hu Haifeng, the son of the Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao, was involved in the corruption scandal there. Despite the global technological development, the Chinese Communist Party still effectively manages to ban undesirable internet searches from its population. It is noteworthy that in addition to expanding economic influence and participating in corrupt and fraudulent activities, Nuctech and its owner, Tsinghua University, also seek to spread influence through the academic sphere. The company works closely with St. Petersburg State University to develop high-energy X-ray machines, anti-terrorist equipment, and other technologies that have the potential of being used for military purposes.
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