Source: Bob Makohin
The Summer Games in Japan, which organizers and the world had hoped would mark a milestone toward the end of the sixteen-month-long global shutdown, unfortunately, fell prey to the COVID-19 virus. In Tokyo, the delta variant has impacted how the Olympics have been staged and can only lead to speculation on how the upcoming Winter Games might play out. One thing is certain: testing and more testing of athletes will undoubtedly remain a greater part of any participation in future sporting events.
Fast-forward to the XXIV Winter Olympics, to be held in Beijing in February. There’s talk that under the guise of widespread COVID-19 testing, the People’s Republic of China will have carte blanche access to the collection of DNA samples from the world’s highest-ranked athletes. A sufficient amount of genetic material is readily available from each PCR swab test collected from an individual. This massive data sweep will allow the Chinese government to embark upon an extensive analysis of the samples, enabling it to configure the information toward applications of its own design.
In a recent episode of CBS Eye on the World with John Batchelor, when asked about the plausibility of China stealing DNA, co-host Gordon Chang — @GordonGChang, Gatestone, Newsweek, The Hill — stated, “It’s been going on for quite some time. China, through various means, has been collecting DNA. So if you wanted to find the largest collection of DNA profiles of Americans, it’s not in America. It’s actually in China. Especially after China bought Complete Genomics in 2013. And at the same time, while it’s hoovering up our DNA, it’s preventing the transfer of DNA profiles of the Chinese out of China.”
Located in San Jose, CA, Complete Genomics describes itself on its website as a leader in accurate, whole human genomic sequencing. It is a U.S. subsidiary of BGI, the world’s largest genomics services company, headquartered in Shenzhen, China. BGI provides comprehensive sequencing and bioinformatics services for commercial science, medical, agricultural, and environmental applications.
The show’s guest, Cleo Paskal — @CleoPaskal, non-resident senior fellow for the Indo-Pacific at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies — when asked if China’s ambition in hosting the international event was limited to the winning of medals, or if the nation also had other goals in mind, had much more to say. In her opinion, the Chinese believe that for their athletes to win medals indicates that their system is better. Their approach to the Western ideal of the Olympic spirit is very different. As far as the Chinese Communist Party is concerned, winning is the only thing that matters. Notions of doing your best, competing, participating in the traditions of the event are of little importance. To them, winning medals is a clear sign that their system is superior to everyone else’s.
A key conviction to understand when considering the CCP is its doctrine of unrestricted warfare. Anything is viable. Anything legal, illegal, moral, immoral that helps achieve their goal of winning in any possible way — militarily, economically, and in the athletic arena — is fair game. They also maintain a concept of military-civil fusion. They believe in no distinction between what’s useful in the civilian world compared to its usefulness in the military sector. A February 2021 report by the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center noted: “The PRC views bulk personal data, including health care and genomic data, as a strategic commodity to be collected and used for its economic and national security priorities.”
To a CCP operative, the Olympics are viewed as an opportunity to scrutinize some of the world’s most genetically blessed individuals entering their country, who will also be arriving with an assortment of the highest-tech, most refined athletic gear produced in the world. It presents a treasure trove of data that can aid in their efforts, should they manage to steal it. And they will try. For them, it’s an opportunity to refine their commercial and athletic endeavors. But most importantly, it can serve as an aid toward the improvement of their military capabilities.
For these winter Olympics, male and female athletes will also be arriving with some of the most sophisticated training programs that aid them in performing at their highest levels of efficiency. Theft of these regimens is nothing more than another means of helping the PRC to win in their other pursuits. Operating in cold weather, at high altitude, with the best gear and clothing, the world’s competitors will have in their possession tremendously useful information, which could evolve into similar products for the outfitting of People’s Liberation Army troops in a region such as the Himalayas.
Based on Ms. Paskal’s assessment, she’s confident that the Chinese will have a program in place to steal any intellectual property to which they may have access. She also projects that it will be a priority to steal the DNA of the competitors. This is something that China has been prioritizing. Genomics research is at the top of their list. Former director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote in December of 2020: “China has even conducted human testing on members of the PLA in the hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power.”
A primary responsibility of the IOC is to protect its member athletes. It’s Ms. Paskal’s view that given the knowledge of what may transpire in Beijing from a surveillance standpoint, such an inevitable attack on the part of the Chinese regime is a betrayal not only of the Olympic spirit but also of the Olympians themselves. She ventures that friends shouldn’t let friends go to China. The government there performs arbitrary arrests. A foreign citizen suffers the prospective risk of being thrown into prison for whatever reason.
The Canadian government has notified its citizens to be aware that if they go to China, they may suffer arrest like the two Michaels did (Kovrig and Spavor). Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Spavor, a businessman, have been held in China and charged with spying since December 2018. Their arrests occurred within days of the seizure in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, a Huawei executive, who was detained at the request of the U.S. It is believed their arrests were made in retaliation for Meng’s detention. Both situations are still unresolved.
American businesspeople know the importance of traveling to China with clean phones and computers that can be wiped afterward. Even though the IOC’s and all attending nations’ Olympic Committees’ primary concern should be the welfare of their competitors, it’s not just about the well-being of athletes. The thousands of fans who plan to attend the games will also be at risk. Their aspirations to attend a joyous, international event also run the risk of Chinese disregard for individuals’ personal privacy.
For decades, the Chinese have acted with impunity when it comes to the stealing of intellectual property. They have no regard for other countries’ copyright or patent laws. As far as they’re concerned, if a foreign product is in their possession, they retain the right to copy, disassemble, reverse-engineer, and replicate it, in order to profit from its reproduction, distribution, and sale.
Visiting countries’ organizers should expect and protect themselves against the CCP’s ultimate goal of robbing, replicating, and replacing their athletes’ genomic profiles. It should be resisted aggressively and without compromise. Any such activity on the part of China is a betrayal of what the Olympics symbolically represent. Participating countries must feel compelled to protect themselves from the anticipated Chinese espionage and intelligence gathering.
In the context of unrestricted warfare, there is little understanding of the degree to which the CCP is focused on this type of broad-based data collection. Most countries have never experienced it. One can rest assured that the PRC will show no restraint in its focused and pervasive attempts to absorb every bit and byte of information it possibly can.
Cleo Paskal is of the conviction that Beijing 2022 should not take place — that even at this late date, the event should be moved. Given the fact that the Winter Games will certainly proceed as planned, she warns that it is incumbent upon its participants to anticipate what will most likely occur. “Everything that you have, that you think is the best that your nation has to offer, is going to be the best that China will have to offer within a few years.”