China’s top spy agency has warned about the threat of a genetic weapon targeting a particular race.
The Ministry of State Security (MSS), in a post on WeChat, a domestic social networking app, has said organizations could develop a bioweapon to target individuals from a particular racial background.
“If used by individuals or organizations with ulterior motives, genetic weapons can even be developed to kill targets of a predetermined race, thereby selectively attacking targets with specific racial genes,” said the post by the MSS.
In recent months, the ministry has called on Chinese people to inform their public security organizations about any suspicious activities that “threaten national security.”
The ministry has alleged that foreign nation-states have been trying to collect human genetic data from China, without naming any specific country. The MSS further warned that genetic weapons pose a greater threat than traditional biological and chemical weapons as they can be easily concealed.
The MSS claimed in the post that an overseas non-government organization (NGO) recruited Chinese nationals to collect “data and information on the distribution of biological species in various places” and made them “upload the collected data through an app.” The ministry added that it linked to a nation-state, without clarifying the country’s name.
The post said the data was transmitted outside China and may have jeopardized its “biological and ecological security,” again, without naming any country in particular.
“Compared with traditional biological weapons and chemical weapons, genetic weapons are more concealable, deceptive, easy to spread and harmful in the long-term, and are difficult to prevent, difficult to isolate, and low-cost. Once used in war, the consequences will be devastating,” the MSS wrote.
Linked to the issue of MSS’ concerns about biosecurity are the origins of the COVID pandemic, which the post did not mention. China has rebuffed calls for a joint investigation by Australia and other countries into the origin of the virus.
The World Health Organization abandoned the second phase of the investigation after saying it had difficulty with physically conducting the study in China.
Beijing has also grown increasingly sensitive about data transfer from the Chinese mainland to overseas territories.
In recent weeks, China’s law enforcement agencies have investigated international financial due diligence firms based in the country over their access to proprietary economic data, which can reveal insights about the state of the economy.
In August, Chinese authorities imposed a fine of $1.5 million on the U.S. company Mintz Group for gathering statistical data in an “illegal fashion.”