Saying China was bent on global domination, a top US intelligence official has labelled the Xi Jinping-led country the biggest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II. In his essay, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also said Chinese authorities had “conducted human testing” on members of the Chinese army “in hopes of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities.”

“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Ratcliffe said in an opinion article on the Wall Street Journal website published on Thursday.

Ratcliffe’s Wall Street Journal essay was the latest broadside against China from President Donald Trump’s administration as it seeks to cement the outgoing president’s tough-on-China legacy. It is an approach that has taken relations between the world’s two largest economies to their lowest point in decades and analysts say it could limit the incoming Biden administration’s room for maneuver in dealing with Beijing.

He said, “China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War Two.”

Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman appointed by Trump to the top US spy job last spring, said China’s economic espionage approach was threefold: “Rob, Replicate and Replace.”

Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that US accusations of technology theft were “ludicrous.”

Beijing has frequently called on US leaders to dial back their rhetoric on China, which it blames on fear of China’s growing role in the world. Ratcliffe alluded to reports collected by US intelligence agencies that Chinese representatives have sought to interfere in US domestic politics.

He also charged that China had stolen US defense technology to fuel an aggressive military modernization plan launched by President Xi Jinping.

“The election is over. Now let’s all be honest about China,” he told Reuters after the article was published.

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