The Obama-Biden administration facilitated the expansion of Chinese Communist Party-linked BGI Genomics into the U.S., forcing the Trump administration’s Departments of State and Homeland Security to block states from using the firm’s coronavirus test kits.
From Beijing to the Beltway.
The Obama administration allowed the Chinese firm to gain a foothold in the U.S. through its Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), allowing BGI to acquire the California-based firm Complete Genomics.
The 2012 deal was highly controversial, seen by many as a national security threat as it granted a Chinese company access to the genetic data of millions of Americans. Any company in China – public or private – can be requisitioned by the Chinese Communist Party to “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
A recipient of Chinese government loans, BGI Genomics counts researchers affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, hosts a Communist Party committee, collaborates with Huawei, and is a partner in the Genebank program, a collection of DNA sequences that describes itself as “approved and funded by the Chinese government.
And these concerns have re-emerged in response to the firm offering coronavirus test kits to states nationwide – market access made possible by Biden and Obama’s CFIUS greenlight.
According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, the correspondence “illustrate how the U.S. government actively — if quietly — tried to keep the state out of a project involving the Chinese firm BGI Group.” These warnings “led the office of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak in April to direct a Nevada hospital not to use any of the donated 250,000 test kits as officials turned down an offered laboratory deal.”
“U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that foreign powers like China could exploit samples to discover the medical history, illnesses or genetic traits of test takers” the report added.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example, has identified BGI as having “ties to the Chinese Government,” raising red flags about how the foreign regime could exploit its possession of Americans’ DNA material.
The Trump administration also moved to blacklist various subsidiaries of BGI in response to the firm collaborating with the Chinese Communist Party in repressing Uyghurs through genetic-based surveillance systems.