Tag Archives: gordon chang

Private Health Care Data

China is amassing large quantities of private American health care data, including sensitive genetic information, as the coronavirus pandemic forces an unprecedented and often unregulated amount of cooperation between the U.S. government and Communist tied medical companies.

China has “made collecting health care-related data a national priority,” according to a new report submitted to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which is tasked with analyzing threats posed by the Communist regime. Beijing’s interest in this information extends far beyond the commercial realm.

Health care “data” can help China build complex portfolios on American citizens, inflating the risk they could be targeted, according to the U.S. intelligence community. The U.S. government has repeatedly warned that Beijing could exploit this information but still continues to work with Chinese companies deemed a security threat.

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated espionage concerns, according to the report. Chinese genetic sequencing companies and other medical firms have made major inroads in America as the country struggles to provide timely coronavirus testing and analysis to those at risk of getting the virus. China has supplied cheap COVID testing kits, giving it access to Americans’ genetic data, which it can use to build profiles on U.S. citizens. This has heightened worries about how China will use that critical information.

Genetic information “can be used from a counterintelligence perspective to either coerce you or convince you to help the Chinese,” John Demers, a top national security official in the Department of Justice, warned in an interview.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the United States to work closer with Chinese medical companies, which provide cheap supplies due to government subsidies. While the Trump administration was angling to crack down on China and its spy apparatus during its final weeks in office, the incoming Biden administration has promised to reset ties with Beijing—potentially paving the way for increased cooperation with Chinese companies.

One of the most closely scrutinized Chinese genetic sequencing companies is the “BGI Group”, which has sent coronavirus testing kits around the world. BGI has increased its footprint in the United States in recent years by acquiring smaller American companies. This has given the Communist tied company “access to proprietary sequencing technology in the United States,” according to the new report.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States has further opened up its market to Chinese medical devices that collect U.S. health care data,” the report noted. In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration signed off on emergency use authorizations for BGI’s American subsidiary to test for coronavirus. This marked the first time in history the United States permitted Chinese-manufactured devices to be used in the country.

As of August, BGI has sold more than 35 million coronavirus tests to 180 countries, including the United States, according to the report.

BGI “labs are providing Chinese researchers with heterogeneous genetic data to serve Chinese ambitions to dominate the biotech market,” the report said.

BGI, which is a private company, maintains it is not controlled or funded by the Communist government and keeps a close guard on patient data. Its subsidiaries, however, have been sanctioned by the U.S. government for alleged human rights abuses related to the ethnic minority Uighur community.

Earlier this year, U.S. security officials warned Nevada against using BGI-made coronavirus kits, highlighting the difficulty this country has had balancing concerns about Communist China with its need to effectively combat the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. officials at the time cited “concerns about patient privacy and Chinese government involvement,” according to an Associated Press report. The state ultimately discarded 250,000 coronavirus tests as a result of the warning.

China experts view Beijing’s moves as dangerous for patient privacy. “China’s BGI Group may now have the largest database on Americans after acquiring Complete Genomics in 2013,” Gordon Chang, a veteran China analyst, warned last month. “Beijing is determined to dominate the biotech industry and may also be developing biological weapons designed to target certain ethnic groups.”

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

Military Coronavirus Hospital

Huoshenshan Hospital construction nears completion on February 2, 2020 in Wuhan, China. The 25,000 square meter emergency specialty field hospital, with a capacity of 1000 beds, is being built to treat patients from the deadly coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)

A newly built hospital in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the CCP virus outbreak in central China, began operations on February 3 under the supervision of China’s military.

Medical staff there will comprise workers from different organizations, such as military medical universities and military hospitals. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “Joint Logistic Support Force” will oversee the operations.

The hospital, which isn’t open to the public, will only receive patients as arranged by the local government in Wuhan.

Netizens and Chinese media shared videos showing the interior of the facility, which corroborate footage released by the authorities.

In video footage published on February 2, a member of the construction crew that worked on the hospital demonstrates that all of the doors are locked from the outside, meaning that patients can’t freely enter or leave their rooms or the facility.

“This so-called hospital is actually a prison. You can’t leave if you are inside,” the man says. “Basically, patients are waiting to die here. They will then be sent to the crematorium after death.”

 The “Huoshenshan Hospital” was officially in operation. Chinese state media Xinhua praised that this hospital was built quickly, because more than 4,000 workers only spent 10 days to build this 1,000-bed capacity hospital.

Another state media China Pictorial reported that the total construction area of the hospital is 59,000 square meters (635,070 square feet). The isolated ward area is 34,000 square meters (365,970 square feet).

The other buildings inside the hospital are living quarters for medical staff and soldiers.

Another new facility built in Wuhan in response to the outbreak, Leishenshan Hospital, will be handed over to the army on February 5 and put into operation on February 6, according to the report. Leishenshan Hospital is bigger, and can accommodate 1,300 coronavirus patients.

As with the Huoshenshan Hospital, the Leishenshan Hospital will also be guarded by soldiers and only receive patients arranged by Wuhan authorities.

State-run media and Chinese Netizens shared photos and videos of the Huoshenshan Hospital.

From the released photos, the makeshift container rooms are compact and clean. Each patient’s room has a window facing the corridor, but the window is sealed by iron bars.

This photo shows an inside view of the Huoshenshan hospital, which means “Fire God Mountain”, after handed over to China’s army in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province.

Next to the window is a small box, where food trays can be inserted. The box can be opened from the room and the corridor.

Inside the room, there are two doors: one is connected to an adjoining bathroom, and the other opens to a so-called “buffer room” where medical staff prepare their treatments. The buffer room has a hand washbasin and a door to the corridor.

On the other wall of the patient’s room is a large double door, but it cannot be opened from the inside.

Twitter is blocked inside China, but some use VPN software to circumvent the firewall. @Dubha3 said on Twitter on Feb. 2: “The Huoshenshan hospital is like a prison or cage. I’m worried that patients won’t be allowed to leave, before they [die and] are sent to a funeral house for cremation.”

Guyan Gonggong posted on Pincong, a Chinese social media platform, “The hospital is managed by the army, which means everything inside are military secrets. It’ll be a crime if somebody leaks it out.”

“Nobody can enter the military-managed areas freely. Family and friends of the patients won’t know if a person died inside,” Twitter user @Zhanyoutongmeng feared.

Chinese Netizens are also worried that construction of the facilities has “polluted” nearby water sources.

Huoshenshan Hospital is located on the bank of Zhiyin Lake, one of Wuhan’s freshwater sources. Although the hospital has wastewater integration equipment installed, people are still worried whether the device can effectively filter bio-waste and prevent the coronavirus from spreading into water sources.

Chinese media Economy Observer quoted Wuhan government officials who acknowledged that the hospital could be a potential pollution source to the Wuhan water supply system.

They said they have contacted device suppliers to find the best wastewater treatment equipment for the hospital.

Quarantine workers in protective suits check identity documents as tourists from the Wuhan area walk off of a chartered plane taking them home from Bangkok at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan.

The virus, with its epicenter in Wuhan, has so far spread to more than 20 other countries and regions. China had reported more than 200 deaths and thousands of infections, although experts point to prior data manipulation and information suppression by the Chinese regime and insist official figures can’t be trusted.

U.S. officials announced January 31 they would bar entry to foreign nationals who have been in mainland China in the past 14 days, in a ramp-up of efforts to stem the spread of the virus. Earlier, federal health authorities ordered the quarantine of 195 Americans who had been evacuated from China.

“While we recognize this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented public health threat,” Nancy Messonnier of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a conference call. “We are preparing as if this is the next pandemic.”

The virus outbreak comes as China’s economy is already growing at its slowest pace in nearly three decades. The U.S.–China trade war took a toll on the country’s exports in 2019, and China’s economic troubles may be more severe than official data indicates, according to experts.

“This is like Chernobyl in a sense,” author and China expert Gordon Chang said, referring to the nuclear accident that occurred in the Soviet Union in 1986.

If the panic continues until April or May, it will have an “enormous effect” on the Chinese economy this year, he said. “If this isn’t brought under control quickly, you’ll have factories leaving China,” he added.

“I don’t know where coronavirus goes from here, but the uncertainty factor changes the perception of the marketplace of where you should be putting your money. You can already see the footprints of dollars moving to safe havens,” McAlvany said

“The Treasury market has been radically impacted. I look at a 10-year Treasury note moving 20 basis points in two weeks as radically being impacted. I look at gold stabilizing relative to silver, moving up relative to silver’s decline, as a clear signal that the safe-haven purchase is in play.”

A resident presents flowers to martyrs who died in the fight against the CCP virus outbreak and compatriots who died of the disease in Wuhan, China on April 4, 2020. (Getty Images)

A Year After Severe Wuhan Outbreak, China Promotes Propaganda Film Praising Authorities
Wuhan Citizens Doubt WHO Virus Origin Probe Will Lead to Answers

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights