NeuroStrike Program Is a Core Part of the CCP’s Military Strategy: Expert

By Mary Hong
Mary Hong
Mary Hong
Mary Hong has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2020. She has reported on Chinese human rights issues and politics.
July 19, 2023Updated: July 19, 2023

A 12-page research report examined the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) NeuroStrike program against the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific and outlined a strategy to counter it.

Sean Lin, a microbiologist and former laboratory director at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre, coauthored the report titled, “Enumerating, Targeting, and Collapsing the Chinese Communist Party’s NeuroStrike Program,” and he told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times that the “People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have established themselves as world leaders in the development of NeuroStrike weapons.”

NeuroStrike refers to the targeting of the brain using non-kinetic technology to impair cognition, reduce situational awareness, inflict long-term neurological degradation, and fog normal cognitive functions, says the report.

The CCP views NeuroStrike and psychological warfare as a core component of its asymmetric warfare strategy against the United States and its allies, reads the report.

No Contact Warfare

China articulated the Three Warfares strategy in 2014, which intends to achieve results that have been traditionally accomplished through military force. The Three Warfares are psychological warfare, media warfare, and legal warfare, to meet a goal of a No Contact Warfare (pdf)—fighting wars without suffering casualties.

The mysterious “Havana syndrome”—a neurological sickness first noted in 2016 that hit U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba, China, and elsewhere—would best describe one aspect of the NeuroStrike capability.

Some victims described disturbing symptoms that began “with the sudden onset of a loud noise, perceived to have directional features, and accompanied by pain in one or both ears or across a broad region of the head,” and “sometimes followed by visual problems and cognitive difficulties,” according to a State Department-sponsored assessment of the illness by the National Academy of Sciences.

A 19-person committee of medical and scientific experts involved in the study believed that the most likely cause of the mysterious attack was directed microwave energy.

Epoch Times Photo
Brain cells or neurons like the ones shown here form a system of communication that acts like social networking. (AFP/Getty Images)

Beyond Microwave Weapons

However, NeuroStrike and the PLA’s weaponization of neuroscience extend well beyond that of just classical microwave weapons, according to the report.

Mr. Lin said that the CCP’s overall goal with NeuroStrike aims to affect an individual’s mind and emotions.

The new landscape of NeuroStrike development includes using massively distributed human-computer interfaces to control entire populations as well as a range of weapons designed to cause cognitive damage, according to the report.

NeuroStrike is a clear strategic program of the CCP and PLA, said Mr. Lin, adding “We are not saying that the CCP has achieved such capabilities in all aspects, but this is a strategic intention.”

A Comprehensive Strategy

The CCP adopted and integrated multiple technologies, including genetic means, targeting and controlling the minds and cognitions of enemies by affecting their nervous system, mental state, etc.

“The main hazard is that people unconsciously have a sudden fear of something in their minds, and your emotions are controlled by it. For example, a soldier who originally had the will to fight would suddenly feel depressed or frustrated and become defenseless. It’s how the PLA would destroy the enemy psychologically, a part of its brain control,” he said.

Under the framework of the military and civil fusion, the PLA has invested heavily in research and development on neuron systems, brain-computer interfaces, microwave weapons, and information control with supercomputers, he said. “It’s no longer a theoretical discussion, but making progress in that direction.”

The report gave an example of how these components can “fit” into the CCP’s anti-access/area denial strategy in the Indo-Pacific.

“Imagine (at least partially) immunized PLA troops being inserted into a geography where a specific weaponized bacterial strain has been released prior to their entry to prepare the ground and eliminate points of resistance. Any remaining sources of resistance on the ground are then dealt with through CCP NeuroStrike weaponry that instill intense fear and/or other forms of cognitive incoherence resulting in inaction,” says the report.

Taiwan was the one region where the PLA could utilize the strategy, Mr. Lin said. “Prior to the battle, the PLA could first implement a well-designed public opinion propaganda war against Taiwan, and then if it has a chance to land, it will equip its combat troops with some special microwave weapons to affect the mental state of the opponent’s soldiers. It is a comprehensive operation to reach the state with more than one weapon.”

Ways to Collapse NeuroStrike

The report pointed out that the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS) is the PLA’s key Research and Development center for NeuroStrike.

AMMS was placed on the United States’s export control blacklist in December 2021 with its leading role in NeuroStrike research serving as a key justification, a Washington Times report at the time.

“China does not yet possess the defense and industrial base to produce the types of technologies required to operate a NeuroStrike program that has technical capabilities that match the strategic ambitions of the CCP and PLA,” said the report.

However, to counter the threat the report proposed to “make involvement in this weapons program a high-risk venture” where negative international attention and technical failure are reinforced.

“Utilizing multi-domain network graph generation technologies and methods, the primary strategic output of this approach is to utilize advanced methods in Counter-Threat Network (CTN) to generate a range of executable options for the United States to directly target and collapse the CCP NeuroStrike program,” says the report.

CTN-driven options targeting the program could include precision sanctions against the full CCP civilian-military fusion of interests related to the program, the report said.

Mr. Lin said the purpose of the report was to remind the international community of the CCP’s ever-expanding unrestricted warfare and its various technological means and warn global researchers of the true intention of the CCP’s research behind the neuron research and development: “It’s to weaponize the mechanism of the neurons.”

Song Tang and Chang Chun contributed to this report.