Poland plans to abandon China’s BGI gene technology concerning about data security

  • Translation and commentary: Jenny Ball
  • Editor: JIHO
Foreign media disclosed that Poland is worried that the genetic data of Poles will fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), so it intends to abandon the use of gene sequencing technology provided by China BGI. The picture shows the Hong Kong R&D Center of BGI Gene. (Song Bilong/The Epoch Times)

The Polish project of Genomic Map, funded by the European Union, plans to abandon the gene sequencing technology provided by China’s “BGI Gene” company because of concerns about data security. A person in charge of the project disclosed the news to Reuters.

Marek Figlerowic, a professor at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who directed the project, said that concerns about the Polish Genome Atlas project stem from the question of how Polish genome data will be used when it comes to national security.

Figlerovic said these concerns were originally raised by the National Security Council for Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) in a report earlier this year. The report stated that BGI might serve as a “global collection mechanism for China’s (CCP) government gene database.”

In response to Reuters, BGI said that the US report was “false information and has no factual basis.” The Chinese (CCP) Ministry of Foreign Affairs called it “groundless accusation and slander.”

An NSCAI spokesperson said that the committee insisted on the conclusions of its report and recommended that the United States and allies redouble their technical efforts to better protect patient’s privacy. Since 2015, Beijing has restricted foreign researchers’ access to Chinese genetic data.

In August of this year, a Human Genetics Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences stated that some companies “failed” to comply with the ethical principles of genetic testing, causing serious doubts. The committee did not specify any companies or countries, but referred to these companies as “Far East companies” and urged labs and scientific institutions that sequence genetic material abroad to stop using the technology provided by biotech companies of these countries.

The committee cited a rough estimate that about 100,000 complete Polish genomes may already be in the “Far East” laboratory. Reuters was unable to verify the rough estimate cited. The committee stated that Poland has no control over these sensitive personal data.

Figlerovic said that this genome mapping project is expected to cost more than 100 million zlotys (US$25.35 million). About half of the sequencing of 5,000 Polish genomes has been carried out. Since 2019, the project has outsourced this work to a third party.

The Polish project decided not to export any genetic data of the country

Figlerovic said that the Central European Genomics Center (CEGC) in Bialystok started using BGI’s technology last year. Now the Polish Genome Map Project has decided not to send any genetic data abroad and may cancel its contract with CEGC. He added that the final decision is still subject to be approved by funding agencies and is expected to be made within the next or two weeks.

Figlerovic said that with the advancement of genetic data sequencing technology and the reduction of costs, the map project plans to introduce the remaining sequencing work internally. The project hopes to ensure that Poland stays the “independence” of the genome, thereby ensures data security.

CEGC did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Inno-Gene S.A., a biotechnology company based in Poznan, which holds a minority stake in CEGC, said it was unaware of the possible cancellation arrangements.

The European Union, which provided about 65% of the funding for the Polish Genome Map project, did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment. The Polish Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Information Processing, which are involved in funding the project, also did not respond. Poland’s national security agency declined to comment.

National security concerns

Reuters disclosed in July that the “BGI Gene” group has developed prenatal testing in cooperation with the CCP’s military hospitals and has sold this testing in at least 52 countries around the world, also “BGI Gene” has collected genetic data on millions of pregnant women. The characteristics are fully studied.

The privacy policy on the test site stated that when the data collected is directly related to China’s (CCP) national security or national defence security, it can be shared. BGI denies that it has been required to provide or has provided its prenatal testing data to the CCP authorities in this regard.

BGI uses the genetic data of pregnant women to study the characteristics of the population. It also cooperates with the CCP military in other research fields. The company denied that it cooperated with the CCP military to develop the prenatal test NIFTY, and stated that cooperation with the Chinese military hospital is not the same.

U.S. government advisers warned in March that BGI is using AI to collect and analyze a large amount of genomic data, which can provide the CCP with a way to gain economic and military advantages. With the scientific determination of new connections between genes and human characteristics, obtaining the largest and most diverse human genome is a strategic advantage. The consultants said that this technology may promote China’s (CCP) dominance in the global pharmaceutical industry, and may genetically modify soldiers to increase military strength, or conduct research on engineered pathogens that target Americans or the food supply.

Commentary: It has been proved that the Covid-19 virus was created in Chinese military labs, which caused global pandemic for more than 18 months. Millions have been killed and the economy of the world has been plumped. As per CCP’s “Cryptography Law of the People’s Republic of China” implemented on January 1st, 2020, all the Chinese companies and foreign companies in China are subject to hand over their company secrets to the CCP on request. Isn’ t it insane to learn the fact that the “BGI Gene” group has developed prenatal testing in cooperation with the CCP’s military hospitals, yet Poland has no control over these sensitive personal data for Polish genetic Map?

Obtaining the largest and most diverse human genome is a strategic advantage for CCP not only dominance in the global pharmaceutical industry, but also to engineer pathogens that target Americans and the WHITE to eliminate them as CCP’s “Mission to terminate the WHITE.”

So the final decision is still subject to approval funding agencies, or rather it is subject to how serious the polish regards its national security.

Source of the article: hk.epochtimes.com

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