NEWS AND ANALYSIS:
The Commerce Department imposed sanctions on Chinese technology companies and announced recently that China’s military is engaged in dangerous work related to “brain control” warfare research.
The announcement of the sanctions provided limited specific details of the work by China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and 11 related Chinese research institutes. Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said only that the academy and its affiliates are using “biotechnology processes to support Chinese military end-uses and end-users, to include purported brain-control weaponry.”
However, three reports by the People’s Liberation Army obtained by Inside the Ring shed light on the depths of China’s brain warfare research and show that it has been underway for several years.
The translated 2019 reports discuss developing brain control weaponry as part of what Chinese officials call the “intelligentization” of warfare.
According to one of the reports, advances in science and technology are leading to upgrades in methods and the ability to subdue enemies. “War has started to shift from the pursuit of destroying bodies to paralyzing and controlling the opponent,” said the report headlined, “The Future of the Concept of Military Supremacy.”
“The focus is to attack the enemy’s will to resist, not physical destruction,” it stated.
Brain science is being used to extend warfare in the sphere of human consciousness “causing the brain to become the main target of offense and defense of new concept weapons,” the report added.
“To win without fighting is no longer far-fetched,” it stated, quoting ancient strategist Sun Tzu’s maxim.
The report, which was published in the official military newspaper PLA Daily, also asserted that China is merging four major technology fields for military purposes: nano, bio, information and cognition.
The intended result will be enhanced individual capabilities. “Future human-machine merging will revolve around the contest for the brain,” the report said. “The two combatant sides will use various kinds of brain control technologies and effective designs to focus on taking over the enemy’s way of thinking and his awareness, and even directly intervene in the thinking of the enemy leaders and staff, and with that produce war to control awareness and thinking,” the report said.
A second Chinese report, also from 2019, disclosed that brain-machine interface is part of Beijing’s plan for the development of intelligentized warfare. The second report said “interactive intelligentization” will involve “direct control of machines using thoughts through mature brain-machine interface.”
Fused intelligentization is also being studied and involves integrating humans and machines toward the goal of creating enhanced human physiological and cognitive capacities.
A third report published by the PLA revealed that the China Electronic Technology Group is working on “brain confrontation” technology for warfare.
Among its various research focuses are “brain control technologies, such as measuring neuronal activity in the brain and translating neuro-signals into computer signals, establishing uni-directional or bi-directional signal transmission between the brain and external equipment,” the third report said.
Research also is being conducted on “neuro-defense” technology such as “leveraging electromagnetic, biophysical, and material technologies to enhance human brain’s defense towards brain-control attacks,” it said.
One brain enhancement technology involves wearable equipment that stimulates or manipulates brain electrical activities. Another is the use of brain-implanted microchips or other computer interfaces that enhance brain functions.
In sanctioning the Chinese institutes, the Commerce Department said the research activities are “contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy.”
The other institutes hit with sanctions include China’s Institute of Health Service and Medical Information; the Institute of Radiation and Radiation Medicine; the Institute of Basic Medicine; the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine; the Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology; the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology; the Institute of Medical Equipment; the Institute of Bioengineering; the Field Blood Transfusion Institute; the Institute of Disease Control and Prevention; and the Military Veterinary Research Institute.
The 11 institutes have been added to the Commerce blacklist called the Entity List.
Report: Japan, U.S. plan for defense of Taiwan
Japanese and U.S. military officials have drawn up plans for a joint defense of Taiwan in the event of an attack by China, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported last week.
Japanese government officials told the Chinese-language edition of Kyodo on Dec. 23 that the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Pentagon developed a new draft of a joint operations plan for “emergencies” in Taiwan.
The plan calls for U.S. Marines to set up temporary bases for offensive operations on the islands near Okinawa.
The Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee, known as the 2 plus 2 forum of foreign and defense ministers is expected to hammer out the military contingency plan early next year.
Initial operations will involve joint deployment of U.S. and Japanese troops to existing bases, according to the Kyodo report, which noted that it is unlikely new bases will be set up.
After holding a summit meeting together in April, President Biden and Japanese then-Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a joint statement that referred for the first time to the “importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Beijing has been putting increased military pressure on the Chinese-claimed, self-ruled island.
Last summer, Japanese officials let it be known through the press that a Chinese attack on Taiwan poses a threat to Japan and that Japan’s military would join a U.S. defense of the island.
Then in November, Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton joined in, telling a news outlet that it would be “inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the U.S. in an action [in support of Taiwan] if the U.S. chose to take that action.”
Both nations’ position put the U.S. government on the spot as the Pentagon and State Department for decades have avoided directly stating the U.S. military would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan from a mainland attack.
U.S. policy toward the defense of Taiwan has remained unclear over concerns about upsetting U.S.-China relations.
China has been increasing military pressure against the island state that broke from the mainland in the 1940s during a civil war that saw Nationalist Chinese forces flee to the island.
Since then, Taiwan has evolved into a vibrant democracy that Beijing regards as a threat to its authoritarian communist system.
Chinese warplanes regularly intrude into Taiwan’s air defense zone around the island and Chinese warships conducted frequent war games that state media has described as preparation for attacks.
Defense law hits contractors on China
The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Biden requires greater transparency for defense contractors and other companies doing business with the Pentagon in revealing work conducted in and for China.
The measure is aimed at preventing China from obtaining the fruits of Pentagon contracts through espionage or trade secrets theft.
Section 855 of the new law says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has until July to report to Congress on contractors that employ people who work for the Chinese government. The reporting must include numbers and locations of the world.
The disclosures are now required from all companies that submit bids or proposals for defense contracts.
The requirement will be in force through the end of 2024 and covers all contracts worth $5 million or more for commercial products and services. Those covered by the law include corporations or companies that conduct work on contracts in China.
• Bill Gertz can be reached at email@example.com.
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