House Rep proposes provision to defense bill that would keep Americans' health information away from Communist China

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A recent article published by the New York Sun stated that the chairman of the House Select Committee on China has proposed a bill that could potentially halt government contracts with adversarial biotechnology companies. 

The bill reflects growing concerns about potential biowarfare by Communist China against the United States. The Senate and House are currently negotiating the final text of the annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman Mike Gallagher has proposed an amendment to that, banning American from contracting with China's largest genomics company, Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI). 

In a statement to the Sun, Gallagher said, "The CCP will undoubtedly use the genetic data collected by BGI to further its malign aggression, potentially even to develop a bioweapon used to target the American people. The good news is that Congress can do something about it."

Gallagher's provision would block the purchase of biotechnology equipment or services from other U.S. adversaries, including North Korea, Russia and Iran.

Gallagher's proposed amendment piggybacks on the concern growing within the intelligence community over the People's Republic's potential manipulation of Americans' genetic data. The intelligence community has been reportedly warning for years of President Xi's national strategy of military-civil fusion, which is spearheaded by the People's Liberation Army.

According to the Sun, Xi and the People's Liberation Army have sought applications for biology as well as brain science, supercomputing and artificial intelligence. Gallagher said that BGI "collects genetic data on people all over the world, including that of pregnant women and uses it for research with the Chinese military."

Gallagher is working with Senator Hagerty to prohibit the American government and its contactors from acquiring the genetic sequencing equipment of BGI, which is required by law to share its data with the Communist regime. 

In a recent op-ed, senior policy advisor Bryan Burack with the Heritage Foundation, said, "Let's stop paying Beijing to steal our gene code. A procurement ban should have been implemented long ago." He argues that BGI poses a potentially enormous national security threat.

The Pentagon itself has described BGI as among the "Chinese military companies operating in America" and added it to the U.S. government's list of blacklisted companies. Gallagher and Senator Cotton reportedly urged the U.S. government to do this two years ago, at the time saying that "the United States must not turn a blind eye to the threat posed by Chinese biotechnology companies operating at the CCP's behest."

According to the Sun, the People's Republic has pledged to become a "global leader in precision medicine," which involves analyzing an individual's genetics to personalize treatment. In 2016, the People's Republic of China announced a $9 billion, 15-year project to collect, analyze and sequence genomic data. 

By August of 2020, BGI reported that it had sold test kits to 180 countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they established labs in 18 different countries. 

A 2023 Department of Defense report stated that, "The PRC likely possesses capabilities relevant to chemical and biological warfare that pose a threat to U.S., Allied and partner forces, military operations and civilian populations."

Gallagher is calling for a bipartisan push to stop federal agencies from working with companies that operate as "puppets of the Chinese military." He said, "I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to protect Americans' sensitive health information and include this critical provision in the final bill."
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