FPI / July 2, 2020
China continues to build biotechnology infrastructure and is working with unspecified “countries of concern,” the U.S. State Department said in a June 23 report.
The unclassified report stopped short of revealing details about Chinese military research and development on biological weapons. But it said the U.S. did not have “sufficient information to determine whether China eliminated its assessed biological warfare” program as required under the Biological Weapons Convention, according to a report by security correspondent Bill Gertz.
China’s extensive work with viruses, including laboratory research on bat coronaviruses, has fueled concern that the virus that causes COVID-19 may have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan.
The Biological Weapons Convention bans the development, testing and use of biological arms and requires dismantling all past germ weapons.
The unclassified report provides new details regarding U.S. concerns “for many years” related to Beijing’s biological weapons research that is not permitted under the Biological Weapons Convention signed by 183 nations, including China and the United States.
“The United States has compliance concerns with respect to Chinese military medical institutions’ toxin research and development because of the potential dual-use applications and their potential as a biological threat,” the report said.
A retired Chinese general, Zhang Shibo, stated in a 2017 book, “New Highland of War,” that biotechnology advances were increasing the likelihood of offensive bioweapons, including the danger of “specific ethnic genetic attacks.” A report by the Chinese military’s National Defense University in 2017 included a section warning that biology is a new domain of warfare and that a future germ conflict could include “specific ethnic genetic attacks.”
The U.S. government approached China about its concerns and will continue to monitor Chinese biological activities, the report said.
FPI, Free Press International