(Staff Reporter) American scientists may be collecting the genes of ethnic Chinese people for the purpose of developing genetically engineered bioweapons, reports China National Defence, a military newspaper sponsored by the PLA Daily of the People’s Liberation Army.
Earlier this year, Japanese media revealed that the United States government had tested crop-killing bioweapons in Okinawa as well as on Taiwanese and American soil during the 1960s and early 1970s. Despite the multilateral Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention that came into effect in 1975, many countries such as the US and Israel continue to operate bioweapon programs, the China National Defence report said.
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The newspaper claims the US military is developing a genetic weapon through a secret R&D project, with alleged participants claiming that the genes of Chinese, European Caucasians and Arabs are all part of the research. A large number of non-military organizations are also said to be participating in the US gene battle project in the hope of developing drugs and food that will mutate the genetic structure of certain people groups, the paper added.
The report said that the US has already developed actual genetic weapons, such as implanting an African and Middle Eastern virus in ordinary winemaking yeast to pass on various diseases. Russia is also said to be using genetic engineering methods to research a new anthrax-type toxin variant that is resistant to antibiotics, while Israel is rumored to be developing a genetic weapon that is deadly to Arabs but benign to people of Jewish descent.
These countries are investing heavily in gene research because genetically engineered bioweapons are not only efficient but also cost effective in their ability to kill masses of people, the report said. It might take, for example, just US$50 million to build a storage for genetic weapons, but it could take more than US$5 billion to store nuclear weapons, the paper said. If Ebola or the HIV virus could be weaponized, they could potentially wipe out humanity, the report added.
There are also numerous ways in which genetic weapons could be utilized. Bacteria or virus-carrying insects and microorganisms could be spread manually by hand, on planes or in bombs, and could be placed in rivers, cities or on transport infrastructure to ensure rapid effect.
Genetic weapons are more difficult to detect, and often only the engineers of the weapon have the keys to its genetic “code,” making it difficult for enemies to develop an antidote or vaccine in time. Compared to ordinary weapons, genetically engineered bioweapons can cause much greater psychological damage to the people targeted, the report said.
With the rapid advancement of biotechnology spurring the rising threat of genetic weapons, China National Defense said it is important to actively pursue the spirit of the the UN Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights issued in 1997, best known for its statement against human cloning and abuse of human genome against human dignity. On the other hand, scientists should be proactive in gene research that is beneficial to improving human health and immunity to better protect against genetic weapons.