The measure passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives prohibits the purchase of biotechnology equipment or services from all U.S. adversaries – including North Korea, Russia, Iran and China. It was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), the chairman of the House China Select Committee.
In particular, it seeks to ban the BGI Group – formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute – from doing business in America. BGI Group, which is among the largest genomic sequencing firms in the world, has been accused of stealing Americans' DNA and exploiting the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to collect genetic data. Even the U.S. Department of Defense has branded it as a "Chinese military company." (Related: "Beijing hid the truth:" Marco Rubio publishes covid report).
Gallagher led the effort with an amendment to essentially ban the company in the House's version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Meanwhile in the Senate, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) led a similar endeavor. The ban on BGI would be included in the NDAA's final version, to be approved by both chambers of Congress.
Anna Puglisi, a senior fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology think tank, described BGI as the counterpart of Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei in the biotechnology sector. She continued that China is "not a neutral actor," adding: "It's about defense, it's about economic security – they really do look at biotech as the next industrial revolution."
In a related development, National Review said two lawmakers called for BGI to be added to the U.S. government's export blacklist and its Chinese military company investment ban list. Gallagher and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) issued this call through a letter they jointly signed. They addressed the correspondence to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
"BGI has used its dominant position to further the CCP's strategic goals by acquiring sensitive health data from the rest of the world," the two wrote. "BGI and at least 14 other Chinese companies perform genomic sequencing for U.S. healthcare patients. As mandated by Chinese law, these companies have almost certainly shared this data with the Chinese government."
It is believed that BGI and its operations in the U.S. and throughout the world could give China an advantage in the so-called DNA arms race – raising the alarm that data could one day be used for a bioweapon.
U.S. officials have noted that BGI was picked by the Chinese government to operate China National GeneBank, a government-owned repository that includes the genetic data of millions of people throughout the world. A 2021 intelligence report linked the company to Beijing's directive to obtain more human DNA, especially from the United States.
BGI has transformed from a little-known research institute that decoded the DNA sequence of rice plants and pandas into a global company active in animal cloning and other forms of genome and health research. Its healthcare technology is often offered below market rate, since the company is offset by heavy funding from the Chinese government.
The intelligence community fired off warnings about BGI's aggressive efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to set up labs in 18 countries and sell test kits in 180 nations, which could be used to bring back genetic data to China.
Visit CommunistChina.news for more similar stories.
Watch this report about a Chinese bioweapons laboratory operating in California, a clear threat to national security.
This video is from You Silenced Me channel on Brighteon.com.