China’s “Lethal Trio” Of Bio Weapons, A.I, Brain Warfare Attempts To Strike Terror In Opponents Mind & Win Without Fighting

Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu’s dictum is to break the enemy’s resistance without fighting, which is supreme excellence. China, taking a cue from him, is honing tools for waging war against the minds of its adversaries in the Indo-Pacific – namely the US, India, and Australia.

In what is called “cognitive warfare” or, in simple terms, “brain warfare,” China is weaponizing sleep and thought control to unravel its enemies. China has long considered defeating the enemy without physical combat to be ideal.

A report by the CCP Biothreats Initiative enumerates how China’s military has advanced in psychological warfare and brain-influencing weapons as part of a new warfighting strategy.

The report titled “Warfare in the Cognitive Age: NeuroStrike and the PLA’s Advanced Psychological Weapons and Tactics” highlights that the Chinese Army is at the forefront of incorporating advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, and other novel biological weapons into its warfare strategies.

NeuroStrike entails the covert utilization of combined Radio Frequency, low MHz acoustic, nanotech, and electromagnetic technologies to inflict direct, non-kinetic, permanent neurological damage and cognitive degradation clandestinely. It targets unwitting individuals using a focused energy beam for several minutes, resulting in lifelong neuro-cognitive injury.

The report identifies two recent studies by China’s army that open-source researchers say indicate the Chinese military is augmenting “hard power” weapons with new types of arms to help win wars without conventional weapons.

These include biological weapons designed to induce sleep or sleep-related disturbances in enemy troops. The goal is to impair cognition and alertness. Other weapons involve devices that directly connect the brain and external technology, designed to influence cognitive processes and decision-making.

China is also developing brain-controlled weapons to target and manipulate the cognitive functions of enemy troops or leaders. The Chinese army is also working on advanced arms that can be controlled directly by a soldier’s thoughts and will seek cognitive manipulation and control of enemies.

Among other weapons for striking the minds of its enemies that China is working on are “genetic drugs” -pharmaceuticals that are designed to modify the genetic and physiological makeup of people and seem to alter their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral traits.

There have been reports that China has already deployed at least some of these weapons. The US military has accused China of using lasers to blind pilots flying near the PLA base in Djibouti.

The US foreign service officers at the Guangzhou consulate were evacuated in June 2018 with unexplained illnesses that resembled brain injuries following reports of similar attacks in Cuba. While no specific country has been blamed, the cause was reportedly attributed to microwave weapons.

China’s approach to cognitive warfare differs from other countries in several ways. According to a report by New America, China’s military is increasingly working on wearable technology and a dedicated psychological support system to win at what it views as the crucial space of cognitive warfare.

Wearable military devices for cognitive war include anti-sleep glasses that, when worn, will promote wakefulness and alertness. The other weapons are like electronic arms that have “soft-kill radio waves” that use electromagnetic energy for non-lethal attacks to induce drowsiness or cognitive impairment in enemies, the report said.

The report was written by four military experts: LJ Eads, Ryan Clarke, Xiaoxu Sean Lin, and Robert McCreight, who first coined the term ‘neurostrike’ to describe the element of brain warfare.

The report cites a 2022 Chinese army report identifying the “five battles of cognition” for advanced psychological warfare operations. The operations will seek to shape future battlefields beyond physical conflicts.

“In summary, the PLA’s integration of cutting-edge technologies such as AI, [brain-computer interfaces], and biological weapons into its military arsenal brings significant psychological dimensions to warfare, extending beyond their physical effects,” the report said.

The pre-emptive cognitive strikes will aim to gain “moral high ground” for the Chinese before hostilities. “The objective is to create a powerful deterrent and asymmetric advantage,” the report said.

The reports also disclose that China is also planning defenses against psychological warfare attacks. The research is being done by two Chinese military organizations– Unit 94969 and Unit 96812 – both working on defensive and offensive cognitive warfare.

The PLA program “represents a strategic direction, integrating neuroscience and technology to develop weapons systems that can impair cognition, reduce situational awareness, and degrade neurological functions over the long term,” the report said.

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For Representation Only. File Image

China Learning From The West?

In an era of information warfare, conflict in the cognitive domain attempts to undermine the adversary’s will and resolve, undermine perception and command capabilities to weaken fighting spirit, and manipulate decision-making.

China’s research in the field is influenced by the studies undertaken by the US and Russian militaries on the importance of psychological operations. The PLA innovators are developing their tactics and concepts of operations, including exploring the potential employment of intelligent agents to enable “guidance” of public opinion.

In particular, the prominence of social media and advances in artificial intelligence, including techniques such as deep fakes, have created new options for subversion and manipulation.

The PLA is actively pursuing research and the development of capabilities, ranging from using the Modafinil drug for performance enhancement to leveraging insights from brain science and psychology to target and exploit inherent vulnerabilities in human cognition.

  • Ritu Sharma has been a journalist for over a decade, writing on defense, foreign affairs, and nuclear technology.
  • She can be reached at ritu.sharma (at)
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