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16 Dec, 2021 19:54

US blacklists Chinese firms over ‘brain-control weaponry’

US blacklists Chinese firms over ‘brain-control weaponry’

The US Treasury has blacklisted 34 Chinese companies and research institutes, with Washington accusing one of the named institutes of developing “brain-control weaponry.”

The Chinese institutes and firms were added to the department’s ‘Entity List’ on Wednesday, joining more than 260 other Chinese businesses – including smartphone giant Huawei – already on the list. Placement on the list forbids these firms from buying technology from the US without express permission from Washington.

Among the entities listed are the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS) and 11 of its research institutes. In an entry to the Federal Register published Thursday, the Biden administration claimed that these institutes “use biotechnology processes to support [the] Chinese military,” and have developed “purported brain-control weaponry.”

“The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives. Unfortunately, the PRC is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo wrote in a statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China’s alleged human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

Four other companies were added to the list “for their support of China’s military modernization,” while five additional firms were added for allegedly trying to acquire US technology to help the Chinese military.

The Federal Register entry did not elaborate further on the alleged Chinese “brain-control weaponry,” nor did it specify which of the AMMS’ institutes was behind this supposed weaponry. 

The Biden administration has largely continued former President Donald Trump’s antagonistic stance toward Beijing. While Biden has not imposed any fresh tariffs on Chinese goods, he has not removed those put in place by Trump. In addition, the Biden administration continues to target the Chinese technology sector with sanctions, expanding a Trump-era ban on American investments in companies working with the Chinese military, and weighing sanctions on the country’s largest semiconductor manufacturer.