BGI Group, the world’s largest genomics company, has worked with China’s military on research that ranges from mass testing for respiratory pathogens to brain science, a Reuters review of research, patent filings and other documents has found.
The review, of more than 40 publicly available documents and research papers in Chinese and English, shows BGI’s links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) include research with China’s top military supercomputing experts.
Shares of BGI Genomics Co, the company’s subsidiary listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, have doubled in price over the past 12 months, giving it a market value of about $9 billion.
BGI Group has supplied COVID-19 tests to nations worldwide including India.
According to Bill Evanina, America’s top counterintelligence officer, Chinese military is trying to collect DNA samples of foreign nations using BGI Group as a front.
“Foreign powers can collect, store and exploit biometric information from COVID tests,” read the statement issued by Evanina.
A CBS News report said that the BGI Group made the offer to Washington state, California, New York, and at least two other states. The offer was made as soon as the first major coronavirus outbreak appeared in the U.S.
Evanina told CBS News that he believed the Chinese government was engaged in a concerted effort to collect DNA in order to gain an edge on medical advancements.
As reported by GreatGameIndia earlier, China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion has highlighted biology as a priority, and the People’s Liberation Army could be at the forefront of expanding and exploiting this knowledge.
The PLA is pursuing military applications for biology and looking into promising intersections with other disciplines, including brain science, supercomputing, and artificial intelligence.
Since 2016, the Central Military Commission has funded projects on military brain science, advanced biomimetic systems, biological and biomimetic materials, human performance enhancement, and “new concept” biotechnology.