US Blacklists Chinese Tech Firms For Weaponizing Alarming Brain-Control Biotech
The US government just imposed trade restrictions on more than 30 Chinese research institutes and entities. The move comes in response to human rights violations and the alleged development of brain-control weapons. According to the Biden Administration, which has been very vocal on tech issues, those technologies undermine US national security.
China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, along with 11 of its research institutes, are on the list. According to a notice in the Federal Register, these organizations use biotechnology to "support Chinese military end uses and end users, to include purported brain-control weaponry."
In a statement addressing China’s human rights abuses in the far-west region of Xinjiang, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo accuses the Chinese government of "choosing to use these [biotechnology] technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups."
These restrictions and sanctions mean US technology can’t be exported or otherwise transferred to the listed entities without a special license. The move comes after months of discussions, some heated, about the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
The US has had more than its share of conflict with the Chinese government. In July 2021, hackers used a Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerability to attack nearly 30,000 organizations worldwide, many in the US. The Biden Administration blamed the Chinese government of spearheading the attacks.
Most recently, the White House announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses." Beijing, of course, denies any abuse of religious or ethnic minorities in the region.
In addition to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the Commerce Department listed four Chinese corporations in the restriction for helping modernize China’s military. Also listed are five other Chinese companies for supposedly "acquiring or attempting to acquire technology from the United States to help modernize the People’s Liberation Army."
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, called the move "unwarranted suppression" of Chinese entities. Speaking to CNBC, embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu claimed, "The facts and truth on Xinjiang-related issues are very clear. China’s development of biotechnology has always been for the well-being of mankind. The relevant claims of the US side are totally groundless."