Bipartisan Legislation Aims to Curb Chinese Biotech Influence in America
The U.S. Congress sponsored bipartisan legislation to ban BGI, China’s largest genomics company, from doing business in the U.S. After intelligence authorities warned of Beijing’s efforts to collect genetic data on Americans, the proposed bills address national security concerns according to the recent news released by NBC News.
The legislation, championed by important officials from the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party and the Senate Homeland Security Committee, targets BGI, previously known as Beijing Genomics Institute. The Pentagon blacklisted BGI as a Chinese military business because it was accused of exploiting genetic information against ethnic minorities in China.
The legislative initiative, supported by leaders from both the House and the Senate, aims to safeguard Americans’ personal health and genetic data from foreign adversaries. Lawmakers argue that the bills are crucial to preventing the exploitation of genetic information for espionage or the development of targeted bioweapons, echoing concerns raised by former counterintelligence officials.
BGI’s Denials and Lawmakers’ Concerns Collide
While BGI maintains that it does not operate clinical laboratories or collect patient samples and asserts no connection to the Chinese government or military, lawmakers have expressed skepticism, citing extensive collaborations with the People’s Liberation Army and their ongoing research endeavors. The proposed legislation, if enacted, could significantly impact BGI’s presence and influence within the American biotech market.
This legislative development represents a pivotal effort to address the potential security risks associated with China’s involvement in the American biotech industry. The proposed ban on BGI illustrates the growing concerns surrounding the collection and utilization of genetic data by foreign entities, reflecting a concerted endeavor to safeguard national security interests and protect sensitive personal information.