It’s been revealed that the Chinese professor Guojie Zhang at the University of Copenhagen has been studying monkey brains to help Beijing’s military fight wars at high altitudes, without informing his superiors on the campus, the Daily Mail reports.
The University of Copenhagen has confirmed to Reuters that the professor studied at the university. Professor Guojie Zhang is also working for the Shenzhen-based genomics giant BGI Group, which funds dozens of researchers at the university and has its European headquarters on the university’s campus in Copenhagen.
The professor, together with a student he was supervising, worked with a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) laboratory. They were researching monkeys’ brains after being exposed to extreme altitude to develop new drugs to prevent brain damage. A priority the PLA has identified for Chinese troops operating on high plateau borders, the Daily Mail writes.
The paper was co-published by professor Guojie Zhang and a PLA major general in early 2020 and at that time, the University of Copenhagen was “not familiar with the fact that the paper also included authors from Chinese military research institutions,” Niels Kroer, head of the University’s biology department, said via email to Reuters.
Professor Guojie Zhang has said that the university didn’t require researchers to report co-authors on scientific papers which is why he did not inform the university of the link. Moreover, BMI stated that the study with the PLA laboratory “was not carried out for military purposes” and brain research is a critical area for understanding human diseases.
Commenting on the matter, China’s government science academy stated that the study had national defense and civilian benefits on the Tibetan plateau.