Senator Marshall Questions USDA on Chinese Research Partnerships

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. asked USDA Deputy Under Secretary Gloria Greene about the Department of Agriculture’s dangerous relationship with China in collaboration with genomic research during a Senate Ag Committee Hearing. 

While Americans are rightfully concerned about China acquiring farmland and key agricultural infrastructure in the United States, Senator Marshall also brought awareness to the USDA-sponsored research coalitions involving the Chinese military that could threaten our economic, food, and national security. 

In July, Senator Marshall wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack requesting information about their relationship with BGI, a genomic data collection firm deemed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) as a Chinese military company operating directly or indirectly in the United States. The USDA has not responded to our request. 

You may click HERE or on the image above to watch Senator Marshall’s full questioning. 

Highlights from Senator Marshall’s remarks:

“BGI is a China based biotech company tied at the hips to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese military, that’s been leading China’s efforts to create the world’s largest genomic repository.”

“Our USDA has provided grant dollars over the past decade to BGI for genomic gathering and data storage. Of great immediate concern though, is its relationships with USDA and the American scientific community, BGI has access to genetic information of American citizens.” 

“I want to stop and emphasize the greater national security threat we face in agriculture and our nation’s ability to feed itself lies in this backdrop of China’s goal to steal our intellectual property, and then create and manipulate the world’s largest genomic repository.” 

“In China’s relationship with our nation and others, their goal is to obtain access to intellectual property. While we pay for the research and development, the intellectual property is what’s so very important in this relationship, and again, we pay for it, we do the research, they get the intellectual property. By maintaining relationships with the CCP related entities directly or indirectly, we place American citizens and our food supply at risk. There is no guardrail. There is no contract, no ethics of scientific research, nothing the CCP respects…” 

“Again, my national security issue is this. While I acknowledge all the good that can be done from genomic collection, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize the potential catastrophic biotech attacks rogue nations or terrorists could wage on Americans.”