US lawmakers urge Biden administration to impose sanctions on China’s Wuxi AppTech

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Wuxi Wuxi apptec Wuxi biologics China US government

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers is urging the Biden administration to conduct a formal investigation and place sanctions against biotech firm WuXi AppTec, citing its connections to the Chinese military.

In a letter to the US Departments of Treasury, Defence and Commerce, first seen by Reuters, four lawmakers raised concerns that the pharma giant’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and military could endanger U.S. national security.

According to Reuters, Wuxi has repeatedly said it does not pose any risk to national security in any country.

"We are concerned by a misguided U.S. legislative initiative to target our company without a fair and transparent review of the facts," the company said in a previous statement, currently on its homepage.

The letter, signed by chairman Mike Gallagher (R-b WI), ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), accuses the biotech of being ‘closely affiliated’ with The People's Liberation Army, the armed wing of the CCP.

Wuxi AppTech is also said to have received funds from several PLA funds, such as the AVIC Military-Civil Integration Selected Hybrid Securities Investment Fund.

To back their claims, the four lawmakers outline public documents from the Chinese government, Chinese university websites and media – which they say show WuXi AppTech’s military ties and support for the persecution against Muslim minorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.

In addition, the document says Wuxi Apptech’s CEO and chairman Dr. Li has ‘personally commended CCP branch work in the company and has called on party branches and members to play an active role in the company’.

"Given WuXi AppTec's clear ties to the CCP and the PLA and its likely role in enabling the genocide in Xinjiang, we urge your departments to consider the inclusion of WuXi AppTec and its subsidiaries on your respective control lists," the letter states.

The lawmakers also allege that Chen Zhisheng, CEO of WuXi Biologics, the CDMO division of the organization, has attributed the success of the company to local support from the CCP.

Zhisheng is also listed as a visiting professor at China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, in a document posted to a Tsinghua University website in 2018, which was added to the Commerce Department’s export control list back in 2021.

The news comes after Wuxi has inked several global partnerships to expand operations over the past year.

"WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics have obscured their ties to the CCP and PLA and, as a result, are rapidly integrating themselves into U.S. supply chains by signing agreements with prominent U.S. biotech entities," the lawmakers added.

These include collaborations with companies such as California-based IMIDominics, UK-based Myricx Bio and Germany-based InflaRX.

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