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Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life

Your biological data is being targeted by the Chinese government for the creation of next-generation bioweapons. It is only a matter of time before Beijing gets what it wants, if it hasn’t already. 

Image Credit: Creative Commons.
COVID-19 Facemask

This essay is adapted from Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life, by Brandon J. Weichert, a 19FortyFive Contributing Editor (Encounter, 272 pages, $30.99.). The views expressed in this adaptation are the author’s own. 

Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) is a Chinese company with the world’s largest genomic database. It turns out that they’ve been very keen on getting DNA from pregnant women, not only in China but from around the world. BGI sells one of the world’s most popular prenatal tests. 

The product is sold in fifty-two different countries—thankfully excluding the United States.

The test, known as the “Non-Invasive Fetal TrisomY” (NIFTY), according to Reuters, is used by expectant mothers in their tenth week of pregnancy to “detect abnormalities such as Down syndrome in the fetus.” The NIFTY tests also “capture genetic information about the mother, as well as personal details such as her country, height, and weight, but not her name.” A staggering eight million women globally have taken the BGI NIFTY test.

Years after the tests were introduced globally, it was discovered that, contrary to what BGI promised its clients, genetic data was not discarded after testing was completed. The DNA of the pregnant women—and that of their unborn children—was incorporated into BGI’s massive genomic database used for extensive R&D in their growing bioinformatics program. 

BGI says that the only genomics data it uses in its experiments are from Chinese citizens, but this has been challenged by a coterie of researchers and reporters, including from Reuters.

As for the Chinese women’s DNA, BGI has admitted to working with the PLA to “use a military supercomputer to re-analyze their NIFTY data and map the prevalence of viruses in Chinese women, look for indicators of mental illness in them, and single out Uighur and Tibetan minorities to find links between their genes and their characteristics. 

It has since been confirmed, despite the public assurances of BGI, that the genetic information of women from outside of Chin was stored in China’s massive genebank. Since 2015, China’s regime has refused to allow for foreign companies and researchers to access the genetic data of Chinese citizens, citing national security concerns. Yet, idiotically, the United States allows for foreign researchers—including those from China—to gain access to the genetic information of American citizens.

This is such a concern that in 2021, the Senate passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) which had a provision specifically aimed at preventing Chinese genomic firms like BGI from gaining access to the genomic data of American citizens. While, thankfully, NIFTY is not used in the United States, we do use plenty of other technology from China, and unless Washington is far more cautious than it has been, severe consequences could arise, especially in the realm of advanced technology.

The news about BGI using a PLA military supercomputer to collate information in their massive genomic database should trouble national security experts. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, expressed deep concern to the US government about China’s significant advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence. 

Google shamelessly partnered with China in developing a significant artificial intelligence infrastructure for the nation—that is, until 2019, when the company decided to forego any further involvement. 

Google did not reverse its stance on AI development in China in 2019 out of patriotic duty. Google’s leadership did it because Congress, along with the Trump Administration, was coming down hard on the company for refusing to work on cloud computing with the Department of Defense, while still working with the CCP on artificial intelligence. Nevertheless, Eric Schmidt, the original founder of Alphabet, was right to raise a warning flag about the threat posed by BGI’s partnership with the PLA. 

China Biohacks Your Genetic Data

Your biological data is being targeted by the Chinese government for the creation of next-generation bioweapons. It is only a matter of time before Beijing gets what it wants, if it hasn’t already. 

In 2013, BGI purchased an American genomics company and, through that purchase, gained access to contracts and partnership with various American health institutions, according to US counterintelligence official Edward You, who spoke with the New York Times on this matter. Unfortunately, the US government and its scientific community have been far too slow to respond.

In February 2021, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center issued a warning that opens with a jarring question: Would you want your DNA and other healthcare data going to an authoritarian regime with a record of exploiting that data for repression and surveillance? 

Nevertheless, US biotech companies, innovators, and labs—even US government entities and officials—still seek to cooperate with China.

BGI entered the market promising to “industrialize” genomic research, to make biotech truly universal. The company is making good on that promise. In 2021, for example, BGI initiated a partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to combat childhood cancer. 

This, of course, could have been an easy way for BGI to gain access to the genomic data of American children afflicted with cancer, as well as to any other sensitive information the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia might have possessed.

As it turns out, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia wasn’t the only major American biotech entity to get involved with BGI. In 2013, BGI complete its controversial purchase of an American biotech start-up, Complete Genomics, Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., that had created a faster and more efficient way of gene mapping. 

BGI wanted to purchase the company both for its intellectual property and for its exclusive client list, which included the US National Cancer Institute, an affiliate of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

In 2012, when BGI expressed interest in purchasing the American genomic firm in question, the Treasury Department’s Committee for Investment of the United States (CFIUS) upheld the initial purchase for review. CFIUS acts as a check against foreign subversion of industries critical to US national security. 

But the CFIUS misses more than it catches. BGI’s purchase of Complete Genomics, Inc., went through. BGI has thus gained access to Complete Genomics’ exclusive client list, which also included Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and the Mayo Clinic, as well as its revolutionary gene mapping tool—all of which was undoubtedly absorbed into China’s robust indigenous industry.

Today, BGI claims it can make an individual’s entire genome for less than $100.

Your DNA is nothing more than data. Data that can be exploited. It can be used not only to identify you, but also to manipulate and attack you. The combination of biotech with artificial intelligence and other advanced forms of computing would allow China’s military and intelligence apparatus to develop comprehensive digital profiles of individuals and nations. 

Theoretically, specific weaknesses within your genes could be accessed, and weapons created specifically to harm you or those like you. 

Think of it as precision biowarfare. 

Specific Genetic Attacks

Several years ago, The Atlantic published a piece about how terrorists could soon have access to gene-editing technology that would allow for them to craft a specific genetic attack against the American president and assassinate him with biotechnology. If security experts were afraid of al Qaeda or ISIS taking control of this technology, just think about what it might do in the hands of China.

China’s proof-of-concept on this matter will likely arise from the ongoing quest to harvest as much genetic material from populations of undesirables such as the Uighurs and Tibetans. From there, it would not be surprising if, in a few years, we start witnessing the strange deaths of large numbers of Uighurs or others. What China tests on its own population will inevitably be scaled up and directed against its great American rivals. 

Creating specific ethnic genetic attacks is a far more efficient method for destroying one’s enemies. Just look at how poorly the Americans reacted to COVID-19, a disease that is relatively mild within the history of pandemics. We destroyed ourselves. China only had to release the plague and then watch as the world’s greatest superpower crumpled from within.

Now contemplate what Beijing’s strategists could achieve with a far deadlier pathogen, or with a bioweapon that only kills people with traits specific to the United States’ population. Suppose that the Chinese discovered a genetic trait common among large numbers of those serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

Perhaps the Chinese would want to create a bioweapon to which Americans from a specific European or African or Hispanic heritage would be susceptible, sowing chaos within the US military before the Chinese launched a military attack elsewhere in the world. With the Americans distracted because of the bioweapon that China launched, the Chinese military would theoretically have free reign to do whatever it wanted. 

Creating a Genetic Hurricane of Destruction

Or imagine that China’s regime wanted to kill or sicken a minority group in America to gin up discord. With biotech, China could wreak havoc on an unsuspecting military long before direct battle began. COVID-19, then, was not a random act. 

It was instead a warning shot of the dangers that unfettered biotech development, detached from any moral restrictions and driven by a fiercely nationalistic desire on the part of China’s autocratic leaders to control the world, poses the United States and all of humanity. 

As Donald Rumsfeld once said, “We are on notice. But we have not noticed.” China’s Biotech development is the greatest threat this country has ever faced—and almost no one, even after the pandemic was loosed from Wuhan, China, and the regime covered it up, allowing for it to spread to the world, is paying attention.

A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

Written By

Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.



  1. 403Forbidden

    May 23, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    This is the reason why the department of defense is planning to wage war on china in 2025.

    The current proxy war against russia is a terrible blunder by biden.

    The DoD had already set up over 30 well-funded biolabs in ukraine after the dissolution of the USSR.

    Those biolabs researched on novel viruses while also collecting the genetic profiles of slav populations.

    Thus no need for proxy war in ukraine.

    But the DoD has no biolab (directly controlled) in china and thus the coming war by DoD against china is far more justifiable.

    Biden cleatly has made a terrible error. He should be sending f-16s to the front gates of china coasts. Not to ukraine.

    But the coming president, or the 47th president, could make things right by waging war on china with sound advice from the department of defense.

    Time to call it a day in ukraine.

  2. Webej

    May 23, 2023 at 9:42 pm

    This article projects what Americans with their biolabs and biowarfare programs are thinking about on the Chinese, ruminating on how terrible it would all be if Chinese were to carry out what Americans would like to be able to do.
    It tells you almost nothing about the Chinese, but is very telling about the American mind. Of course America is the good guy and everything he does is therefore good, but Chinese doing the same would be very bad.

  3. David Chang

    May 24, 2023 at 3:15 am

    God bless people in the world.

    But People who don’t obey Ten Commandments are destroying our lives.

    “The completion of the human genome sequence in 2003, though momentous, was only the first step toward grasping the core mechanisms of human biology and disease. This ultimate biomedical goal also requires a comprehensive catalog of the genetic diversity in the human genome sequence across human populations. A flurry of high-profile scientific papers published this week herald the success of pulling together such a catalog. The manuscripts describe both the content and uses of HapMap, a catalog that maps human genetic variation and relates it both to disease and to human evolutionary history. HapMap gives scientists worldwide a first good look at the “order in variety” that is the human genome.

    All these studies are grounded in data presented in a significant paper published in the Oct. 27 issue of the journal Nature by an international consortium of more than 200 researchers from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. In this paper, the authors describe the patterns of genetic variation in hundreds of human DNA samples collected from four sites around the world.

    Perhaps the most striking finding in this mountain of data is the overwhelming evidence for previous work that suggested that human genetic variants located physically close to each other in the genome are collectively inherited as groups, or “haplotypes.” The comprehensive catalog of human genetic variation, now known as the “HapMap”, is publicly available to the biomedical research community. The implications — and potential value — of the genome’s haplotype structure for medicine has only begun to be realized.”

    “UCLA scientists, in collaboration with teams in China, have used the powerful technology of single-cell RNA sequencing to track the genetic development of a human and a mouse embryo at an unprecedented level of accuracy.

    The technique could lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses of genetic diseases, even when the embryo consists of only eight cells.”

    “Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are effective vehicles to deliver mRNA vaccines and therapeutics. It has been challenging to assess mRNA packaging characteristics in LNPs, including payload distribution and capacity, which are critical to understanding structure-property-function relationships for further carrier development. Here, we report a method based on the multi-laser cylindrical illumination confocal spectroscopy (CICS) technique to examine mRNA and lipid contents in LNP formulations at the single-nanoparticle level. By differentiating unencapsulated mRNAs, empty LNPs and mRNA-loaded LNPs via coincidence analysis of fluorescent tags on different LNP components, and quantitatively resolving single-mRNA fluorescence, we reveal that a commonly referenced benchmark formulation using DLin-MC3 as the ionizable lipid contains mostly 2 mRNAs per loaded LNP with a presence of 40%–80% empty LNPs depending on the assembly conditions. Systematic analysis of different formulations with control variables reveals a kinetically controlled assembly mechanism that governs the payload distribution and capacity in LNPs. These results form the foundation for a holistic understanding of the molecular assembly of mRNA LNPs.”

    “SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy and associated outcomes:
    Results from an ongoing prospective cohort”

    God bless America.

  4. SkiDoc

    May 24, 2023 at 6:51 am

    Wuhan was a practice run for the next stage.

  5. Sofronie the Monk

    May 24, 2023 at 10:13 am

    @403: And where exactly are those “well funded biolabs” in Ukraine? Russia has captured quite a consistent part of it, especially the Eastern part, where they were supposed to be, yet no trace of the fabled labs or superviruses has been found. Just like Dubya’s WMDs in Iraq, only more farcical.

  6. Ben d'Mydogtags

    May 27, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Combine personalized gene-hacking with Artificial Intelligence and you get a biological sniper rifle capable of rapid aim and fire.

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