WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence shows that China has conducted “human tests” on members of the People’s Liberation Army in the hopes of developing “biologically enhanced” soldiers, a U.S. intelligence chief said Friday.
John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, summed up the explosive claim in a long Wall Street Journal operation in which he claimed that China posed a prominent national security threat to the US
“There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s power aspirations,” wrote Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman in Texas.
His office and the CIA did not respond immediately to requests detailing the idea that China wanted to create “super soldiers” featured in Hollywood movies such as “Captain America,” “Blood Shot,” and “Universal Soldier.” .
Last year, two U.S. scientists wrote an article examining China ‘s efforts to apply biotechnology on the battlefield, including their view of China’ s interest in using genetic engineering technology to enhance human – and perhaps military – performance.
Specifically, scientists have studied Chinese research using the CRISPR gene editing tool, abbreviated as “clusters of short palindromic repetitions within regular intervals.” CRISPR has been used to treat genetic diseases and modify plants, but Western scientists consider it unethical to manipulate genes to increase the performance of healthy people.
“While the potential use of CRISPR to increase human capabilities on the future battlefield is currently only a hypothetical possibility, there are indications that Chinese military researchers are beginning to explore its potential,” wrote scientists Elsa Kania, a Chinese expert on New American Security. Center for Defense Technology and Wilson VornDick, China Adviser and former Navy officer.
“Chinese military scientists and strategists have consistently stressed that biotechnology“ could become a new strategic commanding height in the military revolution, ”the scientists wrote in a 2015 article in a military newspaper.
A prominent Chinese general, noted in 2017, said that “modern biotechnology and its integration with information, nano (technology) as well as cognitive, etc. areas will have a revolutionary impact on weapons and equipment, battlefields, war and military theories. “
VornDick said in a phone interview that he is less concerned about the battlefield benefits offered by such research than the consequences of manipulating human genes.
“When we start playing with genetic organisms, it can have unforeseen consequences,” he said.
Representatives of the Chinese government did not respond immediately to the request for comments.
The general message of Ratcliffe’s opinion paper is that China is a dangerous adversary that threatens U.S. economic and national security.
“The People’s Republic of China is the greatest threat to America today and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II,” he wrote. “Intelligence is clear: Beijing wants to dominate the United States and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically.”
In an interview with Fox News, Ratcliffe called on President-elect Joe Biden to be “honest” about China.
As NBC News reported, Biden and his foreign policy advisers agree that China poses a serious threat, but they believe the Trump administration has offered more blasts than content in response.