published : 2023-11-07

Congress Weighs Ban on Government Contracts for 'Adversarial Biotech Companies' like China’s BGI

Gallagher's Amendment Seeks to Block CCP-Linked Beijing Genomics Institute from Contracting with the United States Government

A photo of the U.S. Congress building in Washington, D.C. taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are currently conferencing and negotiating on final text for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

In the House version of the NDAA, a provision was passed that prohibits the United States government and its contractors from buying equipment from 'adversarial biotech companies.'

This provision aims to prevent these companies, such as China's Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), from exploiting Americans’ genetic information for malign purposes.

House China Select Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher introduced the provision, explicitly listing BGI.

Gallagher argues that BGI, which collects genetic data on people worldwide, including pregnant women, has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

An image of the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) headquarters in Shenzhen, China taken with a Nikon D850

He believes that the CCP will use the genetic data collected by BGI to further its malign aggression, even potentially developing a bioweapon to target the American people.

Gallagher is urging Congress to take action and include this critical provision in the final bill.

Sen. Bill Hagerty is also collaborating with Gallagher on prohibiting the acquisition of genetic sequencing equipment from BGI and its subsidiaries.

Hagerty emphasizes the need to prevent CCP-aligned Chinese biotech companies from collecting Americans’ DNA.

The Intelligence Community has been warning about China's collection of health care data and DNA, deeming it a serious risk to privacy, economic, and national security.

A picture of a DNA sequencing laboratory with scientists in protective suits working, emphasizing the importance of genetic data security taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III

China considers genomic data a strategic commodity and has been prioritizing its collection as part of its efforts to advance artificial intelligence and precision medicine industries.

BGI, in particular, has been highlighted by the intelligence community for its activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including marketing testing kits and establishing labs worldwide.

The Pentagon has classified BGI as a 'Chinese military company.'

Efforts are underway to ensure the final NDAA includes the provision to safeguard Americans' sensitive health information and restrict contracts with adversarial biotech companies.