December 30, 2021
China is developing brain control weapons that could be used to paralyze and control opponents instead of killing them, the US has alleged.
America has sanctioned China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and 11 affiliated research institutes for using ‘biotechnology’ to support the armed forces including ‘purported brain-control weaponry’.
The Commerce Department, which blacklisted the Chinese institutes, did not go into detail about the weapons – but a separate tranche of military documents penned in 2019 gives hints at what Beijing is trying to achieve.
Instead of ‘destroying bodies’, China should focus on ‘paralyzing and controlling the opponent’ by ‘attacking the enemy’s will to resist’, the report says.
The Commerce Department sanctioned the research institutes in a memo last week, and the 2019 documents were obtained and translated by the Washington Times.
The Academy of Military Sciences and its affiliates are now on the ‘entity list’, meaning American firms cannot export or transfer goods to them without a licence.
It comes amid warnings from other government departments to US companies that China is trying to acquire American technology in fix key sectors, including biotech.
One official, speaking to the FT, said the technology that China is trying to develop includes ‘gene editing, human performance enhancement [and] brain machine interfaces.’
Gina Raimondo, the US commerce secretary, said there are concerns that China will use any such weapons to maintain control over its own citizens – including ethnic minority Uighur Muslims.
‘Unfortunately, the People’s Republic of China is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups,’ she said.
‘We cannot allow US commodities, technologies and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to US national security.’
The Commerce Department also blacklisted companies from China, as well as Georgia, Malaysia and Turkey, for allegedly diverting US items to the military of Iran, a US adversary on which Washington maintains sweeping sanctions.
Based in Beijing, the Academy of Military Medical Sciences has been active in development of a Covid-19 vaccine. But the United States has been increasingly alarmed by the connections between civilian and military research in China.
Rights experts, witnesses and the US government say that more than one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims are incarcerated in camps in an effort to root out their Islamic cultural traditions and forcibly homogenize them into China’s Han majority.
Beijing describes the sites as vocational training centers and says that, like many Western nations, it is seeking to reduce the allure of radical Islam following deadly attacks.
The United States has described the campaign as genocide and, amid mounting concern, plans a boycott of official representation at the Beijing Winter Games next year.
The United States is also expected soon to become the first country to ban all imports from Xinjiang, arguing that camp labor is so prevalent that it is difficult to separate it from other goods.
After prolonged negotiations, lawmakers from the two parties and the Biden administration reached an agreement on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which will ban the import of all goods from the region unless there is verifiable proof that production did not involve slavery.
Xinjiang is a major source of cotton, with the Workers Rights Consortium, which monitors factories, estimating that 20 percent of the garments imported into the United States each year include some material from the region.
‘We must take a clear moral position to stand with those who are suffering because of forced labor. No more business as usual,’ Representative Jim McGovern said after the House last week approved the act which is expected to clear the Senate and be signed by Biden.
The United States last week also imposed sanctions on two ethnic Uyghur political leaders in the Chinese administration of Xinjiang.
China earlier Thursday voiced anger over US sanctions on four Chinese chemical weapons and one individual for allegedly fueling the painkiller trade through illicit online shipments.
‘These kinds of erroneous acts, in which one side is sick but forces the other to take the medicine, is not constructive,’ foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.