China’s Growing Biotech Threat
by Brandon J. Weichert (February 2020)
Chinese Market, Frank Coburn
The coronavirus is spreading like wildfire throughout China and, now, the rest of the world—with cases popping up in the United States, France, Australia, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, estimates indicate that the spread of the incurable, SARS-like coronavirus will reach peak levels by March of this year. The medical community also believes it will have the first phase of a potential cure underway by that time as well. Though, it must be noted that the initiation of the first phase of vaccine development does not mean that a vaccination will be available any time soon. It simply means that the medical community believes it is on the correct path toward a cure—which would likely become available many more months after phase one is completed. And, typically, the fact that the coronavirus breakout occurred in the Chinese province of Wuhan, the world will likely never know how long the infection has been underway in China or any other important detail that might reflect poorly on the Chinese regime.
What the world has thus far discovered has been disturbing: a major city in China, Wuhan, is falling under a massive quarantine (implying that China’s authorities were aware of this disease for some time and they have been keeping it under wraps). Soon, more than 40 million people—roughly the equivalent of the population of the state of California—will be under complete lockdown by Chinese authorities. The disease is also affecting nearby regions, including Shanghai. As this has transpired, an exodus of as many as 5 million people from Wuhan occurred before Chinese authorities could lock Wuhan down.
Bottom line: do not expect honesty and transparency from the Communist Party.
Despite what many shills in the Western corporate press are saying, Beijing has neither been open nor transparent with the world on the outbreak of this devastating illness. In fact, given how rapidly the Chinese regime has responded it is more than likely that Beijing was anticipating a massive outbreak of an illness that has been spreading for much longer than what they have told us Westerners. China’s leaders are simply trying to mitigate the negative press abroad and potential political backlash at home. Think of this as a Chernobyl-style event: the Communist authorities have done their level best to ignore the crisis and resolve it with their own capabilities. But, once it was clear those capabilities were insufficient to the task; that a larger response was needed, the Communists pivoted and attempted to save-face by appearing magnanimous and welcoming of foreign assistance.
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Don’t expect China to become the standard bearer for the cause of medical safety. Already, reports have indicated that the disease has been spread by Chinese nationals traveling out of Wuhan and into various countries. The United States has had multiple cases appear on both of its coasts. Infamously, a Chinese citizen who knew she was infected with the disease opted to flee Wuhan and sojourn to France so she could “get a decent meal” from a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon. Though she has sought medical assistance in France, the diner from Wuhan has exposed the entire area to the currently-incurable coronavirus.
According to some reports, a Chinese exchange student returning from Wuhan to study at George Mason University prompted U.S. officials to quarantine his entire dorm at the Northern Virginia university. Incidentally, George Mason University has been working with the Department of Defense to lead the creation of a vaccine for the coronavirus. There have been cases of Chinese exchange students flying into Northern Virginia to study at the Longfellow Middle School in Fairfax County, VA and being denied entry to that school as school administrators feared the Chinese students may have been carrying the disease. Of course, since the U.S. government has not enacted any formal quarantine or serious travel restriction protocols, the Chinese group was merely “asked” to stay at a local hotel until the Northern Virginia middle school could figure out what to do with them. The exchange students and their chaperones were effectively free to potentially spread the contagion all across Northern Virginia.
Western scientists specializing in the coronavirus have publicly lamented that China has mishandled the outbreak from the beginning and their efforts to contain the spread of the disease are too little, too late. Others are more optimistic, as the genetic code of the specific coronavirus is known to scientists and they will begin working on a cure. In Australia, they’ve supposedly managed to create a version of the disease in a lab, which will allow for Australian scientists to formulate a potential cure at faster rates. The real question must be: if the disease started spreading last year in Wuhan, why was the lavishly-funded global scientific community not taking these steps back then—especially given the protracted periods of time that pass between when a vaccine is first discovered and when it can be mass produced and distributed.
Something does not add up.
Yet, many Western outlets have praised China’s supposedly rapid response to the disease. After all, Beijing has invited Western doctors from the World Health Organization and other institutions to assist them in studying the outbreak and curing it. They’ve also shared the genetic code with the international community, which has allowed for labs in places like Australia to replicate the virus and begin work on a vaccine. Thus far, press outlets friendlier to the official Chinese government line (like The Washington Post) have insisted that the Chinese government is responding with “speed” to the outbreak. The Washington Post argues that “scientists are unraveling the Chinese coronavirus with unprecedented speed and openness.” Whatever transparency exists between China and the West right now over the matter of curing this coronavirus is born completely out of China’s desperation. They’ve exhausted all indigenous options for curing the ailment and now Beijing just needs to save-face . . . while dumping the problem in the rest of the world’s lap.
China’s Race for Biotech Dominance Endangers Us All
Meanwhile, other press outlets have insinuated that the long-time practice of selling rat and dog meat—as well as bat soup—in Wuhan’s legendary (and unsanitary) meat markets has allowed for the transmission of the coronavirus from animals to human beings, though many scientists in the West remain skeptical of such claims. Still, most officials appear to favor this theory as the likeliest cause of the outbreak. After all, should other, less popular theories about the cause of the coronavirus prove true (namely that the coronavirus was either intentionally spread in China, or that it was an accidental release from a Chinese lab), there may end up being an international crisis.
Indeed, some biological weapons experts are pointing to a much more nefarious source of the coronavirus: the Wuhan Institute of Virology, run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASC) and an organ of both the Chinese Communist Party as well as the People’s Liberation Army. As the former Israeli military intelligence officer, Dany Shoham, who has a background in microbiology—which is the area that the coronavirus falls under—told The Washington Times in January of this year, “Certain laboratories in [the Wuhan Institute of Virology] have probably been engaged, in terms of development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility in the Chinese [biological weapons] alignment.” What’s more, it is known that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has handled coronaviruses before, specifically strains of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which the current coronavirus that is plaguing both China (and is likely coming to a neighborhood near you) is most akin to. According to The Washington Times reportage, “SARS is included within the Chinese [biological weapons] program, at large, and is dealt with in several pertinent facilities.”
Herein lies the seeds of the real problem posed to the world: China’s rapid modernization. In just a few decades, China has managed to achieve that which it took more than a century for the West to accomplish in terms of industrialization and technological modernization. They have accomplished much, but China has done this by skirting international standards and downright cheating whenever it suited them. Yes, China has one of the world’s most incredible high-speed train networks. And, as Thomas Friedman oozed about in 2008, China has truly modern airports. Yet, China also has some of the world’s worst pollution rates and routinely steps on the rights of its citizens to spur faster modernization programs (such as the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, which required the forcible relocation of countless Chinese citizens from their homes to other parts of China).
The Chinese Communist Party has encouraged greater access to technology and modern accoutrements for their people so as to better compete with their American rivals. But, China consistently proves that it is unprepared to handle the downside risks of such advanced technology. We’ve seen Chinese ambition and recklessness play out before. As I document in my forthcoming book, Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower due out later this year, China surprised the world when it tested an anti-satellite weapon in 2007. International standards require that any country conducting an anti-satellite test in orbit must notify the international community, as the creation of a debris field would likely threaten nearby satellite constellations belonging to other countries and companies. The Chinese government, though, ignored those standards and simply popped off an ASAT at one of their derelict weather satellites. The test was successful. But it created the largest manmade debris field in orbit the likes of which continue orbiting the Earth to this day and will, therefore, continue to threaten all current and future spaceflight operations in orbit.
Now, China has become a pioneer in biotechnology research and development. And, they’ve shown a similar disregard for common standards—and they now threaten the safety of everyone on the planet, as they seek to control and manipulate the building blocks of all life. So, yes, China can celebrate its numerous achievements in such a historically short amount of time. Those achievements have come at great cost—to the population of the world.
You see, China has embraced a leap-without-looking format for rapid modernization. This is not merely a byproduct of the post-Cold War prosperity that China has enjoyed (in which it has experienced historic, double-digit growth rates consistently over many decades—far higher growth rates than its Western competitors). As I outlined in a previous NER article, China’s desire to outpace its Western rivals transcends the rise of the Chinese Communist Party to power in 1949. This pattern of assimilation, imitation, innovation, and inevitable primacy has been at play since the start of the Chinese civilization 4,000 years ago.
After the Chinese Empire had been laid low by the internal squabbles that arose following the death of the Ming Empire, the European empires eventually arrived on the shores of China looking for new markets to exploit. They found a pliable territory with what they assumed were a backwards people in need of civilizing. And, while the Chinese were technically backward compared to their Western counterparts, this had not always been the case. What’s more, the longer the European empires interacted with the Chinese, the more aware of their technological inferiority many Chinese thinkers and leaders became. One nationalistic Chinese scholar, Zhang Zhidong, implored young Chinese students to “Keep China’s style of learning to maintain societal essence and adopt Western learning for practical use.” This was Zhang’s “Exhortation to Study.” He wanted Chinese youths to go abroad and absorb as much Western knowledge as possible and then return to China and impart that knowledge onto the rest of the country. China would then establish the infrastructure necessary to become a modern country—and could use those practical Western concepts against the colonizing Westerners to best preserve China’s civilization and empire.
Zhang’s essay is notable because it arose at a time of great intellectual flowering among the nascent Chinese nationalist movement. Although Zhang never saw his ideas put into practice, and China would suffer many more “humiliations” at the hands of what they viewed as the “barbarian” European colonial empires, the writings remained profoundly influential among Chinese scholars into the twentieth century. One revolutionary Chinese fighter, Mao Zedong, was likely aware of these ideas as he had served as an academic before embracing the life of the Communist revolutionary. It is more than likely that these ideas undergirded Mao’s thoughts on foreign policy after his Communist Party had defeated the U.S.-backed Chinese Nationalist forces in the horrific Chinese Civil War in 1949. Early in his reign, Mao gave an incredible speech in which he declared that China had “stood up” against the West. He then vowed that the Chinese Communist Party would ensure that China would inevitably “Overtake Great Britain and catch-up with America!”
In order to accomplish such a herculean task, though, China would not play by the Western-written rules. It would chart its own course and overcome whatever obstacles—no matter the cost, however long it may take. Opaqueness would prove a pivotal asset for China in its self-ordained mission to overtake the West. Many spectators in the West who have been aware of China’s grand pursuit for international dominance have been aware of just how dangerous China’s rise has been. Among China’s elite there has been an unspoken race against time: the Chinese Communist Party must either deliver on the promises of greatness that they’ve consistently made over the decades or they will face the ire of their people and the dynastic cycle that has historically swept away corrupt or ineffectual ruling dynasties and replaced them with more competent rulers will reignite and end the CCP’s one-party rule. This is why China’s President Xi Jinping has identified the year 2049—the one-hundredth year anniversary of the CCP’s victory in the Chinese Civil War—as the year that the “China Dream” is fully realized.
Since assuming power as president of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping has spoken of the “China Dream.” So potent was Xi’s calls for realizing the “China Dream” that Chinese students built so-called, “dream walls” in their schools throughout China after Xi ascended to power. Chinese students wrote their dreams on the “dream walls” in their schools, so as to contribute their own goals of self-realization into the larger tapestry of China’s dream. Essentially, the “China Dream” is one of nationalist rejuvenation.
President Xi first explained the details of his “China Dream” to an audience of senior Communist Party leaders in 2013 at the National Museum’s Road to Revival exhibition. That exhibit detailed the supposed injustices imposed upon China by Western colonial powers (of which, they erroneously include the United States on that list) in the 19th and 20th centuries. Xi told his audience that, “We must make persistent efforts, press ahead with indomitable will, continue to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to achieve the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Xi became more explicit in his definition when he articulated that, “To realize the Chinese road, we must spread the Chinese spirit, which combines the spirit of the nation with patriotism as the core and the spirit of the time with reform and innovation as the core.”
Liu Mingfu, a retired colonel in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and a key figure in President Xi Jinping’s brains trust, wrote a book expanding upon Xi’s continual invocations of the “Chinese Dream.” Mingfu has told readers since 2013 that, “Since the 19th century, China has been lagging on the world stage. President Xi’s dream is of a stronger nation with a strong military.” Mingfu believes we are entering the post-American world in which world power will be up for grabs and he advocates that China reach quickly to take the mantle of the great global power from what he (and his comrades) believes to be a floundering United States. As the BBC reported in 2013, the term “China Dream” was an ambiguous one that inspired hope from many Chinese (most of whom belonged to the Han Chinese diaspora and many of whom were young) and fear from many outside China. For the former group, the “China Dream” has been seen as a unifying factor in national politics. As one Chinese student who was studying science told the BBC, “We Chinese must do something for the country. I want to be a professor in the future. I want to make a contribution to the education sector.” Yet, these notions of achieving personal success to assist in the overall quest for national greatness is key. And, for a very long time, national greatness and personal success has been wrapped up in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sectors in China.
Plus, China has invested heavily over the last decade in becoming a biotechnology superpower. In fact, China’s president-for-life, Xi Jinping, has claimed that being the world leader in biotechnology by the mid-2020s is a critical component of achieving his self-described “China Dream” by 2049.
For far too long, Western analysts have assuaged their egos with the idea that China was merely an imitative power that could never rival the innovative prowess of the United States. When the United States and China first began their rapprochement during the Nixon years, this was true. Yet, nature is rarely static—and this is most true in international affairs. The Chinese believed that only through “indomitable will” could China overcome its shortcomings from the previous two centuries. All that it required was decisive leadership and a firm grasp on how to manipulate those historical currents to one’s favor.
For China’s leaders, then, they had to follow the same development pattern that the Western states did to attain greatness. But, China’s leaders could not wait for developments to occur safely and “naturally.” Chinese leaders cheated, lied, and did whatever they could to halve the time it would have taken to bring China from an agrarian backwater to a post-industrial, knowledge-based consumption economy. Learning at the feet of the West, China decided to do things somewhat differently: centralized planning, long the bane of Western innovators, became the magical elixir to keep China “in the race” against the West. If decentralization and short-termism were viewed by Americans as being the keys to economic prosperity, technological innovation, and military dominance then China took the opposite view—and it has worked well for the Chinese thus far.
Yes, coopting Western manufacturing capabilities was the initial target of China’s leadership. They pilfered those capabilities from the West with relative ease—even gaining much-needed assistance from Western moneyed interests and politicians—but China was not content to remain as the sweatshop of the world. Soon, they moved up the economic devolopment chain, becoming a competitor in the white-collar, knowledge-based economy that America’s globalists vowed would never be open to the Chinese. Today, China competes with the United States for top-billing as being home to the world’s leading technological innovation hubs. From artificial intelligence to quantum computing to biotechnology, China is poised to displace the United States and its once-vaunted high-tech sector as being the producer of such new wonders of the world.
The Thousand Talents Program is State-Sanctioned Industrial Espionage
Yet, Zhang’s “Exhortation to Study” has always been imprinted in the minds of China’s leaders and young people. The Chinese government began an explicit program meant to effectively implement Zhang’s “Exhortation to Study” known as the “Thousand Talents Program.” This program claimed it sought to engage in a dynamic exchange of ideas and cross-cultural scientific innovation. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted in 2015, Beijing was more interested in recruiting Western-trained scientists in order to “benefit from years of scientific research conducted in the United States.” Many Westerners view this as proof of China’s inferiority. Although, I happen to believe that this is evidence of Chinese ingenuity. Why pay to innovate from the ground-up if you can simply replicate what another has successfully done, quickly catch up to that rival, bludgeon them over the head and steal whatever data they have, and then quickly leapfrog that confused and bludgeoned rival? These tactics help to keep upfront costs low, likely improve efficiency, and speed the development of new technologies that would grant considerable advantages to whichever country pioneered them. In this, Oded Shenkar’s thesis from his 2010 book, Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge, is essentially proven by Chinese actions in their mad dash to catch up and leapfrog the United States.
For decades since China opened itself to the West, Chinese youths have traveled to the West and acquired top tier educations. Over time, though, the numbers of Chinese students coming to study in the United States and the West has precipitously declined. This is because at least a generation of Chinese elites have already gleaned what they needed from the West and brought that information back home to China. With copious help from the Chinese Communist Party, these scientists, engineers, doctors, and business people have established a culture of high-tech innovation atop the infrastructure of imitation that China had built to stay competitive with the West over the years. So lucrative has China’s high-tech sector become that many Western—specifically, American—technology firms have moved operations to China or are considering closer ties with Chinese firms. Google wants to conduct artificial intelligence research in China. It is only a matter of time before Western firms look to partner with China on quantum computing. Similarly, Western biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms have entered into a strong embrace with the Chinese biotechnology industry. When my wife was a Ph.D. candidate in genetics at Yale, she would often receive offers from Chinese firms encouraging her to move to China for high-salaried figures to open a biotechnology research lab or company in China. Many of her colleagues received similar offers. China actively targets students in the West at the top schools engaged in cutting-edge STEM-related research, regardless of whether they are ethnic Chinese or not, and attempts to woo them into working for Chinese interests. All of this is to accrue top talent to incorporate into the larger “China Dream” of national rejuvenation and international domination—at America’s expense.
Whatever the Chinese could not glean from the West through “free trade” or the “open exchange of ideas,” they simply stole. Beginning in 2017, disparate reports have promulgated from throughout the West indicating various national security concerns surrounding the presence of Chinese scientists engaged in intellectual property theft of proprietary American, Canadian, and European biotechnology and biomedical research data. Here again is China’s attempt to leapfrog the West without investing in the long research-and-development process that the purportedly more innovative West routinely engages in.
Recent reports indicate that Harvard professor and Chemistry Department Head Charles Lieber has been indicted by the FBI along with two Chinese nationals for his involvement in illicitly helping China to establish the Wuhan Virology Institute. One of the two Chinese nationals arrested along with Lieber was once a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army. Another researcher, according to Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, “was a cancer researcher who tried to smuggle 21 vials of biological materials in his sock.” Lieber was paid $50,000 a month by Wuhan University of Technology for participation in the aforementioned “Thousand Talents” program. He was further given “more than $1.5 million to establish a lab and do research at Wuhan University of Technology.” When asked by American investigators, Lieber is accused of having “deliberately lied” about his “foreign research collaborations” in 2018. Although, documents obtained by investigators prove that Lieber had signed a contract with Wuhan University in 2012. Of course, this is not the first time that a brilliant American scientist has favored his country’s enemies over his own land—or that such a scientist would give truly dangerous technology to those enemies.
During the Cold War, it was revealed that the Manhattan Project had been severely penetrated by Soviet intelligence very early on in its development of the atomic bomb. Some scientists charged with developing the world’s most powerful weapon exclusively for the United States were found to have deep sympathies for the Soviet Union. These fellow travelers routinely gave proprietary research information regarding nuclear weapons to the Soviets. And, with the help of American scientists, like Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the Soviet Union was able to detonate its first atomic weapon in August 1949 in the Kazakhstan desert. After that, the world was changed forever as the United States no longer enjoyed a monopoly on nuclear weapons and the planet was taken to the edge of nuclear annihilation on more than one occasion in the insane dyadic Cold War struggle between capitalism and communism.
Similarly, today, people like Harvard professor Lieber may be retreading the path that the Rosenbergs blazed decades ago. Only instead of handing America’s nuclear monopoly over to the Soviets, Lieber and those who believe as he does, are enhancing the biological weapons capabilities of China. Ask any educated Chinese citizen and they will explicitly tell you that a state of cold war already exists between China and the United States. Many Chinese believe that, unlike the first Cold War, the Americans are slated to lose (young Chinese citizens are most sure of this). And, as you’ve seen from earlier parts of this work, most Chinese leaders embrace a worldview that demands China become the global hegemon at America’s expense—with technological development playing a pivotal role in this new cold war.
Last year, a group of Chinese scientists and researchers working in Canada’s only Level-4 virology lab, known as the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg, were fired and investigated by security officials for data breaches. On July 5, 2019, “Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng and an unknown number of her students from China were removed from Canada’s only level-4 lab,” according to a July 2019 report from the Canadian Broadcasting Service. Qiu, a virologist from China, had previously played an instrumental role in stemming the Ebola virus in Africa in 2014-16. Her primary field of research was in immunology with a focus on vaccine development. Qiu’s husband, a noted Chinese biologist who specialized in SARS and other respiratory illnesses, was also removed from the lab. The Canadian government has classified the investigation as an “administrative” matter for the NML. Yet, it is obvious that the Chinese researchers were seeking access to sensitive information on the spread of SARS-like disease—which is precisely what the coronavirus is.
Meanwhile, the FBI has been investigating a spate of security breaches at sensitive biological research labs throughout the United States. In April, it was reported that the National Institute of Health (NIH) began investigating illicit ties between foreign researchers—namely from China—who were taking U.S. federal funds to conduct scientific research. The concern was that Chinese researchers were failing to disclose the extent of their ties to their government and, as such, China was “taking unfair advantage of federally funded research.” In fact, the NIH decision to dig deeper into the potential ties between several Chinese researchers and their relationship with China prompted a whopping 55 research institutions in the United States to launch similar investigations foreign researchers working in their labs. After the first wave of these investigations was conducted, MD Anderson, which specializes in sensitive cancer research (and receives around $148 million in NIH funding), terminated at least three Chinese researchers for having failed to disclose their relationship with the Chinese government. The NIH investigation also determined that several Chinese researchers who received U.S. federal research grants from NIH had “active and well-supported research programs in China” and foreign firms which they had not disclosed to NIH when they went to work in the American labs.
As we have seen with the overall rapid development of biotech in China today, firms conducting biotechnological research and development are not hindered by the same moral qualms that routinely stymie research and development in the United States and parts of the supposedly Judeo-Christian West. Sinogene, a Chinese biotech firm whose board is basically a who’s-who list of American and Western pharmaceutical and science leaders, is rapidly working on cloning technology. They have already managed to clone a cat and are now working on using artificial interface technology to preserve the memories and personalities of clones. The Chinese founder of Sinogene—a card-carrying member of the Chinese Communist Party—insists that his breakthroughs will lead to the Holy Grail of biotechnological research and development: the successful cloning of a human being. As Sinogene perfects its cloning techniques, the company believes it will inevitably be able to clone replacement parts for people and conduct cutting-edge research on live human clones. Meanwhile, Chinese scientists working for the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASC) have created monkey-pig hybrids for zoological research and another Chinese scientist used the CRISPR gene-editing program to alter the genomes of twin baby girls to make their cells “resistant to infection by HIV.”
It is, therefore, possible that the coronavirus outbreak does have a more nefarious line to it. Perhaps the Chinese were testing how the West would respond to an outbreak. Maybe they were simply careless at their virology lab (standards in China when it comes to medical research are, shall we say, quite lax). We know from the above examples that the Chinese have been attempting to acquire research data about these diseases, how they’re spread, and potential vaccines. Yet, China’s scientists have been unable to gather that information through mendacity and subterfuge. So, it is possible that the Chinese Communist government has taken a different tack: openness. China needs information quickly from the West that the West has jealously guarded. Rather than continue the cat-and-mouse game of espionage, the Chinese have simply decided to sidle up alongside the Americans, hat-in-hand, and ask for help. We will have to assist them since the disease has now spread to America. But, don’t be fooled, the Chinese are winning the biotech race.
Or, perhaps, the Chinese regime just doesn’t care about the outbreak beyond its impacts on domestic political stability and one-party rule. In 2018, David P. Goldman (a.k.a. “Spengler”) spoke to a rapt audience at Hillsdale College in which he rightly pointed out that the Chinese regime does not look kindly on their massive population (at one billion and counting, that’s many mouths to feed and political units to keep happy). An outbreak might not be looked upon by Beijing’s leadership as entirely disastrous. It might be a chance to naturally cull their herd. This is especially true, as Xi Jinping spearheads China’s transition from an Old World, manufacturing-type, production economy into a post-modern, knowledge-based, consumption model economy. In the latter system, specialization becomes key and massive population density is often viewed as excessive (and, therefore, unwanted). Xi has been zealous in his application of “reform.” Last year, the Chinese strongman began closing down countless numbers of China’s infamous state-owned enterprises (dubbed by many in the West as “Zombie companies”) because they were a drag on the continued economic efficiency of his country. He has also spearheaded an attempt to counteract the economic importance of Hong Kong by building up neighboring Shenzhen, as well as enhancing Shanghai’s standing as a global technological innovation hub. Wuhan, too, with its level 4 virology lab is becoming an important factor in the technological and economic modernization of China.
No Common Morality with the West
The regime in Beijing is the same government in which its founder, Mao Zedong, presided over a system in which “at least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death.” From the 1970s until 2015, Beijing led a state-sanctioned infanticide program known as the “One-Child Policy” in order to keep fertility levels low, so as to prevent unwanted population growth in the already-massive Chinese population. And, as it has turned out, the “One-Child Policy” inevitably became mired in China’s preference for boys over girls—meaning that it was actually the “One-Boy Policy.” Families presented with the ominous choice of one child quickly chose to abort female babies and try for boys. Today, there exists an extreme sex imbalance in China that is having deleterious impacts on the socio-political stability there.
China is also a place where millions of political undesirables are rounded up routinely and held in hellish gulags known as “Laogai” labor camps. Further, the CCP has pushed a pro-Han Chinese ethnic cleansing program throughout the unruly outer regions of its vast territory. For decades, Beijing has encouraged internal colonization of Tibet by Han Chinese, so as to outnumber the native Tibetans in their own land, and to ensure that the territory never separates from China’s bosom. Beijing has also begun targeting the mostly-Muslim Uighur population of Xinjiang province, a part of western China. The CCP has established what amounts to concentration camps for the Uighurs while also advocating for one of the most reprehensible, blatant acts of industrial-scale, state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing: forcing Chinese Communist Party officials to sleep with Uighur women living in Xinjiang Province. It has also been confirmed that China maintains a large (and growing) prisoner population—mostly belonging to the Falun Gong religious minority—specifically meant for organ harvesting (prisoners are arrested for no real crimes; they are screened for desirable organs, executed, their organs harvested, and then sold on the open black market or to wealthy organ recipients around the world).
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Thus, it is conceivable that the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan will not deter the Chinese government from implementing its world-shaking foreign and domestic policies aimed at both undermining the American-led international system and empowering the Communist Party at home. The West cannot rest easy knowing, as the shills in the corporate press continue repeating, that China’s government is interested in “sharing” information on the virus with them. Fact is, the only reason that the Chinese are sharing data at all with the West is because they have likely been unable—or unwilling—to disclose the truth of the coronavirus outbreak: that it was the result of either nefarious intent or sloppiness by the Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Virology Institute.
China does not have the safeguards in place to handle the technology that it has come to possess. Western experts can pat both themselves and the Chinese on their backs for their “open exchange” of ideas during this crisis, but we must never forget that persistent Chinese espionage and barely covert economic warfare have led us to this place. To jumpstart their biological research into microbiology, China has clearly been influencing key Western scientists and institutions; manipulating them and playing us all for fools. Plus, the opaque nature of the Chinese system has likely prevented a timelier resolution to the outbreak which has now spread globally. Far from being the result of hyper-competent Chinese central planning, the outbreak of the disease and the subsequent proliferation of it to all parts of the world prove just how sloppy the Chinese are . . . and how incapable they are of acting responsibly with biological technology research. This is not because the Chinese are ignorant—far from it. It is because China is in a war mentality with the West. Therefore, China’s leaders prize speed and results to garner victory at all costs over their more judicious and conservative American foes.
What’s more, this disease has been raging for far longer than what the Chinese have officially acknowledged. It is only now getting international attention because the Chinese have been unable to stop the disease from spreading beyond their borders. It will also not deter China from pressing ahead with a variety of new biotechnological research and development programs. And, it is unlikely that the Chinese will significantly enhance their safety protocols or ethical standards—instead favoring to “beat the Americans” and then sort out the new messes created later.
Even if the coronavirus does not wind up being the equivalent of the Spanish Flu (hopefully it does not), China’s commitment to competing against the United States and developing an assortment of highly dangerous biotechnology—while ignoring international safety standards—means that the Chinese threat will only worsen over the next decade. These developments also ensure that, inevitably, a true outbreak caused by Chinese sloppiness will occur. Let us hope that this particular genie can be put back in its bottle before the disease becomes uncontainable. Let us also make longer-term preparations for preventing the easy exchange of biotech research with China as they seek to manipulate the basic building blocks of life to further their foreign policy goals and enhance their domestic political standing.
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Brandon J. Weichert is the author of the forthcoming book, Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower due to be published by Republic Book Publishers later this year. He is a contributing editor at American Greatness, The American Spectator, and New English Review. Recently, Brandon became a contributor at Real Clear Public Affairs. His work also appears in Real Clear World and Real Clear Defense. Brandon is a recovering congressional staffer who holds an M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He can be reached via Twitter @WeTheBrandon. For press inquiries email him at [email protected]
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