Glossary: Chinese futurist military jargon

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/12/genetic-attacks.html

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“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
–Sun Tzu

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Why are some of the English translations in “quotes” and others not? Any significance, or just how they were found?

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When they made Alpha Centauri, I don’t think they were expecting the Hive and Morgan Industries to merge.

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Considering there are four other terms in the list quoted which point to biological weapons (one with a geneocide angle), I think the Communist Party has a slightly different notion of “winning without fighting” than Sun Tzu did.

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“The Warrior’s bland acronym, MMI, obscures the true horror of this monstrosity. Its inventors promise a new era of genius, but meanwhile unscrupulous power brokers use its forcible installation to violate the sanctity of unwilling human minds. They are creating their own private army of demons.”

-Commissioner Pravin Lal; “Report on Human Rights”

(No video for that one, unfortunately, since it’s for a tech rather than a secret project)

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當事情變得怪異時,怪異的轉彎親。

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“Specific ethnic genetic attacks” Damn, just reading that makes my skin crawl!

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So, try to keep Trump in power?

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Aside from the obvious ethical shortcomings, poking at that one seems particularly risky given that the more efficiently you purge your ethnic undesirables the more swiftly and thoroughly you produce a monoculture that’s perfectly suited to being targeted by “specific ethnic genetic attacks” chosen for efficacy against it.

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Are these phrases drawn from official Chinese manuals, or are they just Chinese translations of sinister English words? It the first, worrying. If the second, is this just racist hyperbole, buying into a modernized version of the old Yellow Peril?

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Some of these phrases are from books by military academics. I suspect Sterling cribbed them from this article:

We could just be overreacting to futurists doing what futurists do - dreaming up scenarios, not necessarily advocating for them.

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I’ve had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the state of synthetic biology during my tenure at the job I’ve held for the past 9 months.

I am now quite convinced we are within 1-2 decades (at MOST) of seeing ethnicity-targeted bioweapons being released into the wild.

I’m even open to the idea that this is already a thing, at least in a lab somewhere.

People have heard of CRISPR, but many folks don’t realize you can chemically synthesize custom DNA molecules, and there are multiple vendors for this service (and you can do it yourself, if you really want to).

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If the enemy is already dead there is no fight!

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I think the basic story is that a Chinese academic wrote a book that mentioned that ethnicity-specific bioweapons might be theoretically possible, and that this factor should be accounted for in future military planning.

Then a bunch of US commentators leapt from that to “the Chinese are trying to exterminate white people!”, and we’re off to the races.

Some of the people pushing this idea have…interesting associations and motivations.

(context in thread)

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South Africa tried that too.





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My first thought seeing that mention was “Oh great, in a couple of decades they’re going to go for a Final Solution of the Uighur Problem.”

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FLAWLESS VICTORY!!!

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The situation would obviously go deeply poorly no matter what; but I’d be curious about the viability of ethnic targeting given how many cases of “DNA test contradicts your mythic bloodline” we’ve seen so far.

There are definitely genetic differences to poke at(or we wouldn’t have genetic diseases with strong ethnic associations, like sickle cell; and one doesn’t get phenotypic variation ex nihilo); but anyone using such a ‘tailored’ attack would be running the distinct risk of an object lesson in just how much off-the-books gene flow has been politely not discussed.

That said, someone engineering genocide plagues doesn’t seem like the sort to mind breaking a few eggs in the service of their glorious omelette, so I wouldn’t expect that to stop them; at least not all of them.

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