Here is the latest from Isaac Stone Fish, a contributing columnist for Washington Post's Global Opinions:
In October 2017, the Brookings Institution, one of Washington’s most prestigious think tanks, published a report entitled “Benefits and Best Practices of Safe City Innovation.” The report included a case study praising the Kenyan capital Nairobi and the Chinese city of Lijiang for implementing new technology in policing.
What the report failed to mention is that the controversial Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei provided the technology for both cities, or that Huawei is one of the world’s leading sellers of Safe City equipment, which the company describes as “cutting-edge” security to improve policing and oversight. The Brookings report did, at least, disclose who provided support for the research: “Support for this publication was generously provided by Huawei.” In other words, Brookings praised Huawei’s technology in a report sponsored by Huawei.
Brookings has a conflict of interest problem with Huawei — the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple, and a company long seen as a threat to the United States.
Between July 2016 and June 2018, Huawei gave at least $300,000 to Brookings, via FutureWei Technologies, Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of the company, according to Brookings' annual reports.
The person who wrote the Safe Cities report (along with a former Brookings intern) is Darrell M. West, Brookings vice president and founding director of its Center for Technology Innovation. Formerly a professor at Brown University, West has written 19 books, according to his LinkedIn page, and is a respected commentator on issues involving technology policy, privacy and security. Yet West’s relationship with Huawei raises questions about the independence of his scholarship — and represents a worrying example of China’s influence on one of America’s leading think tanks.
Most recently, Brookings was bashed for accepting money from Saudi Arabia, leading it to terminate certain connections to that government.
Several days ago, a group of China experts from think tanks and universities released a report saying that Beijing is trying to influence US think tanks.
Earlier this year, an Australian think tank report criticized Huawei for sponsoring overseas trips for Australian politicians.
In 2017/2018, the think tank Chatham House received between $62,000 to $125,000 from Huawei.