Bipartisan BIOSECURE Act Introduced to Safeguard American Genetic Data from Chinese Communist Party Biotech Companies

Krishnamoorthi, Wenstrup Introduce Bipartisan BIOSECURE Act to Safeguard American Patients and Tax Dollars from Biotechnology Firms in China

News Summary: Today, Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), along with Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), introduced the bipartisan BIOSECURE Act. This bill aims to protect American patient data and taxpayer dollars from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries’ biotechnology companies by prohibiting Federal contracting with these entities.

Who Did What: The BIOSECURE Act, introduced by Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, targets Chinese biotechnology companies, such as Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and WuXi AppTec, that have alarming ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The bill builds on earlier efforts in the 118th Congress.

Background and Context The CCP’s national security laws mandate that Chinese firms share requested data, including biotech companies collecting, testing, and storing American genomic data. BGI, for instance, has collected DNA from millions worldwide and used it without consent in genomic projects with the Chinese military. WuXi AppTec, another Chinese company, has reportedly stolen U.S. intellectual property and operated genetic collection sites with China’s military. These companies also have links to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs in Uyghur region,(Aka Xinjiang), China.

The BIOSECURE Act addresses these concerns, particularly given the significant revenue Chinese biotech companies generate from the U.S. market. For instance, WuXi AppTec makes over 60% of its revenue in the U.S., posing a direct risk to national security. BGI’s extensive infrastructure, including over 100 genetic collection laboratories in 20 countries, serves the CCP’s ambitions to dominate biotech.

Quotes:

  • Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi emphasized the importance of protecting Americans’ genetic information and national security: “Our bipartisan legislation would reduce this threat by preventing the flow of taxpayer dollars to biotech entities controlled by foreign adversaries, protecting the personal genetic information of Americans along with our national security.”
  • Chairman John Moolenaar of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party expressed support for the bill and thanked the sponsors for their leadership.
  • Chairman Brad Wenstrup of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic stressed the need to protect American patients and the biotech industry from exploitation by foreign adversaries, especially in light of China’s ambitions in the biotechnology market and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Rushan Abbas, Founder and Executive Director of Campaign for Uyghurs, highlighted the dire situation of Uyghurs and the exploitation facilitated by companies like BGI and WuXi AppTec.

Why BIOSECURE Matters Now:

  • BGI’s actions, such as harvesting genetic data from over 8 million pregnant women in Europe without consent, illustrate the urgency of safeguarding American genetic data.
  • The bill’s sponsors and supporters emphasize the need to break free from dependency on foreign adversaries, particularly in critical sectors like genomic testing and pharmaceuticals.

Human Rights Organizations Supporting the Bill:

  • Campaign for Uyghurs
  • Uyghur American Association
  • Victims of Communism
  • Hong Kong Democracy Council

Companies Involved:

  • BGI is a Chinese biotech company heavily involved in collecting, storing, and analyzing DNA globally, including in the U.S.
  • BGI has faced export control restrictions due to its involvement in genetic tracking in Uyghur region,(Aka Xinjiang) where the CCP is conducting genocide against Uyghurs.
  • Beijing utilizes BGI as a strategic tool overseas, amassing foreign genomic data and recruiting foreign talent.

You can read the full text of the bill here.

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