Students at Georgetown University Unearth China’s “Underground Great Wall” using Online Research

Students at the Georgetown University have unearthed a massive network of tunnels meant to hide China’s missile and nuclear arsenal. It is called the “Underground Great Wall”. Phillip A. Karber, who was a top Pentagon official, active during the Cold War, led the team of students.

The Tunnel is spread across thousands of miles and is built by the Second Artillery Force, which is the strategic wing of the Chinese Army. These tunnels were unearthed with three years of continuous research, and the impressive fact is that most of it was done online.


The Washington Post writes,

Led by their hard-charging professor, a former top  Pentagon  official, they have translated hundreds of documents, combed through satellite imagery, obtained restricted  Chinese military  documents and waded through hundreds of gigabytes of online data.

The research uses traditional media like books, journals, strategy manuals, along with unconventional sources including Google Earth, Chinese TV coverage, Military websites and blogs. Although the research team is yet to make its findings public, it has stirred up discussions, and has gotten the attention of the Pentagon. Here is a  summary of the research.

This is the first time that online research has been used to identify classified military activities. Some Department of Defense officials are debunking it as highly ambitious.

Research efforts like these are very hard to verify and depend upon. The large online data, which this research is based on, is not accountable and cannot be verified. However, this aggressive pursuit gave those students sheer thrill. Whether this research is of any value or not, is in doubt. However, it will definitely raise a few eyebrows, and might create a new style of investigative research.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.