Clive Woodley is a former president of the UK International Ballistic Society. He’s a high-tech weaponry expert now working at the prestige Imperial College in London. On May 25, British newspaper UnHerd reported that the weapon expert might travel to China this July. There he will co-chair an international defense technology conference in Beijing.
The conference will focus on the latest discoveries in sensitive military technology. The newspaper reported that two of China’s most eminent defense scientists would join Woodley as co-hosts. That are Feng Changgen and Li Baoming. Both are high-ranking officials in the Chinese Communist Party.
In the article, investigative journalist David Rose has pointed out that Woodley has been cozying up to the Chinese regime, especially the CCP’s military. Since 2014, the British weapon expert has traveled to China seven times in eight years. He has attended many conferences organized by Chinese state-owned companies and military-backed research institutions. Woodley has also published eight papers, some of which he had co-written with other Chinese partners that have ties with arms makers. The latest publication was in 2021.
Journalist David Rose wrote that Woodley’s most recent conference took place around mid-October last year. It was in Jinan, Shandong.
The weapon expert’s under-reported activities have been concerning. A former senior MI6 officer told David Rose: “The fact there have been not just one or two talks but a consistent and continuing pattern of meeting and contact is deeply concerning. I can’t think of another case where a British lecturer has visited China many times to talk about weapons technology, nor written papers about it in Chinese journals.”
The former MI6 officer said Woodley’s intention might be innocent. However, with constant sharings in scientific forums, the officer perceived Woodley’s relationship with China as an example of how China’s intelligence service works.
The MI6 officer added Woodley might be unaware that the Chinese regime may have tried to steal his data from his laptop or phone during his visits.
Journalist David Rose reported Woodley’s situation to former army officer Tom Tugendhat. Tugendhat responded that his committee would conduct an investigation after Rose’s article was published. The army officer told Rose, “This case raises serious concerns about the integrity of our military secrets and the level of cooperation between a British expert and a potentially hostile state, and we will be looking into what exactly has happened — and why no one has raised such concerns before. No one could say his work is dual use. His career has had one end only — the development of weapons.”
Woodley has had major contributions to the military technology field, namely developing electric plasma-powered cannons, and using mathematical modeling to improve their firing mechanisms. He’s also an expert in developing railguns. It is a type of hypersonic artillery weapon that fires projectiles at six times the speed of sound.
In 2019, Woodley published a conference paper co-written with 2 other Chinese military experts, including the prominent expert Li Baoming from the Ordnance Science and Research Academy of China. Its title was “Recent Update on the Multi-Physical-Model of Electromagnetic Railgun.”
Just a year later, the Chinese regime revealed a prototype installed on a navy vessel. The government also announced plans to deploy so-call superguns widely by 2025.