Director of U.S National Intelligence and serving under Trump administration, John Ratcliffe wrote in the recent Wall Street Journal editorial about China running tests on members of its military, They conducted “human testing” on members of the People’s Liberation Army, and is working on biologically enhanced soldiers.
John penned “The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet, economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”
He voiced his concern on the idea of ethnicity that China is possibly be deprived of by writing “There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power.”
He believes China can travel to any length of distance to turn what we all see in fictional movies into reality (china working on biologically enhanced soldiers)
China, entitled as the second-largest economy and global technology leader, has been advancing more rapidly than any other country in the world. It has not only been the pioneer of some cutting edge technology but also has been breaking the glass ceiling with its incessant innovation.
China has been suspected of putting to use its CRISPR tool and working to make biologically enhanced soldiers. Let’s have a look what CRISPR actually is.
CRISPR is easy to pocket technology, feasible to deploy, to alter genomes or in a lay man’s language make the birth of genetically modified humans possible.
In 2018, He Jiankui, a Chinese biophysicist, along with his two colleagues edited genes in the human embryo and implanted into women. One of the women in late 2018 gave birth to twin girls.
The technology put to use was CRISPR–Cas9 to tweak the genes. As a result, a global outcry and the scientists requested not to make babies using technology.
Ratcliffe suggested that this is exactly the technology China has the ability to exploit in order to achieve its hazardous objective and they(China) are working on biologically enhanced soldiers Although he ain’t the first one in line to draw world attention to the matter.
“…the PLA is pursuing military applications for biology and looking into promising intersections with other disciplines, including brain science, supercomputing, and artificial intelligence,” scholars Elsa Kania, an expert on Chinese defense technology at the Center for a New American Security and Wilson Vorndick,a consultant on China matters and former Navy officer wrote in Defense One last year.
“While the potential leveraging of CRISPR to increase human capabilities on the future battlefield remains only a hypothetical possibility at the present, there are indications that Chinese military researchers are starting to explore its potential,” wrote the scholars.
A prominent Chinese general, they noted, said in 2017 that “modern biotechnology and its integration with information, nano (technology), and the cognitive, etc. domains will have revolutionary influences upon weapons and equipment, the combat spaces, the forms of warfare, and military theories.”
CRISPR also have other useful applications like rectifying defects in genes, improving crops and preventing spread of diseases. However ethical concerns too hem the tool.
China’s Military landscape
China, in 2020, is the owner of largest armed forces with about 2.18 million active soldiers.
China’s spending on its military is less than the U.S, which is considered to have spent a considerable share of its budget in the world. But still, it surpassed the U.S when it comes to missile development and its number of warships and air defence systems.
China is governed by the idea of dominance and superiority. The DoD’s annual report to Congress states that China’s ultimate goal is “develop a military by mid-Century that is equal to — or in some cases superior to — the U.S. military, or that of any other great power that the PRC views as a threat”.
Conclusion of china working on biologically enhanced soldiers
Ratcliffe in the editorial wrote “Today we must look with clear eyes at the facts in front of us, which make plain that China should be America’s primary national security focus going forward”.
Clearly, there have been tensions between the two nations on various grounds. From trade ruckus to the U.S laying the blame of the spread of coronavirus on China for having purposely designed the virus in their labs, the year has been a political battleground for the two leaders.
China has been world leader in many realms. The country never blusters and rather focus on substance. Though they know how to hide it behind the curtains well.
It has been a place where ideas become tangible and ambitions reality.The rate and efficacy of transformation this country shows is impeccable and at times frightening. The sheer idea of enhanced military troops is fascinating yet terrifying.