Editor’s note: The April issue of WND’s monthly print magazine, Whistleblower, takes an in-depth look at implanted chips, futuristic surveillance technologies and the virtual end to privacy. One of the companies profiled in that issue is the subject of this report – Digital Angel Corporation, manufacturer of the “Digital Angel” tracking device.

Making good on its promise to “achieve a global presence,” Digital Angel Corporation – manufacturer and marketer of high-tech, implantable devices for tracking human beings – has opened a research and development facility in Shen Zhen, a special economic zone near Hong Kong, hoping to cash in on vast markets in China and the Far East.

As WorldNetDaily first reported, Digital Angel is a sophisticated, miniaturized tracking device intended by its manufacturer for subdermal implantation in large numbers of human beings. After heavy publicity, the manufacturer last year deflected criticism from privacy advocates and Christians concerned over biblical prophesy by removing all references to human implantation from its website and literature, only to re-introduce human implantation – with a product called VeriChip – after Sept. 11, due to the nation’s new preoccupation with security.

Dr. S.G. Chen, with more than 15 years experience in high-level research and development, will lead the Chinese facility, which will be part of the Applied Digital Research Group. This new office will oversee production of Digital Angel products and carry out research and development of new products of the Applied Digital Research Group.

Also serving as a sales and marketing office, the facility will coordinate efforts in three northeast provinces of China.with joint-venture partner Shenyang Duouyuan Digital Communications Net Corporation.

“This new facility and the additional strengthening of our Research Group is a key move in furthering our position as the preeminent advanced digital technology development company,” commented CEO Richard Sullivan on the new plant. “Dr. Chen and his team will have immediate access to our OEM partner in China for existing Digital Angel products and the development of new technologies as well.”

Sullivan believes this direct access will ensure the partner meets “our aggressive production needs.” The Shenyang Duouyan Digital Communications Net Corporation provides the main facility, equipment and working capital to manufacture, promote and distribute Digital Angel products in the three northeastern Chinese provinces.

The Chinese program will follow the company’s usual Phase 1- Phase 2 approach. Phase 1 of the partnership will be deployed in the second quarter of 2002 and focus on Digital Angel applications for the shipping industry within the targeted geography.

Phase 2 will focus on people and medical applications of Digital Angel for the region, which comprises roughly 15 percent of China’s 1.3 billion people.

“We are truly impressed with Digital Angel technology and look forward to this joint venture,” said Shenyang Duouyuan’s president, Chen Zhen. “We believe Phase 1 revenues from tracking and monitoring logistics for over 10 million shipping containers transported within our rapidly expanding industrial region, could potentially exceed $200 million annually within the first 2 years of deployment.”

The emergence of Digital Angel has met with protests from civil libertarians in the United States who are concerned over potential involuntary applications of injectable tracking chips. But an area of even greater concern may be its use in China. After all, China currently has one of the world’s worst human rights records. Over the years, human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Freedom House and the Laogai Research Foundation have documented widespread persecution in China of political dissidents and religious persons. Such persecution routinely includes surveillance and arrest of innocent persons who are then sent to slave labor camps, mental hospitals or “re-education” facilities.

Time will tell if the injectable chips will be used eventually to track the movements of dissidents, in order to round up friends, family members and locate secret meetings. Recent news reports have documented Christian believers using cell-phone codes to arrange secret prayer meetings, and the rural government officials committing protesters to psychiatric facilities where they are “treated.”

The April issue of Whistleblower – titled “BRAVE NEW WORLD: Welcome to the era of implanted chips, universal surveillance, man-and-machine hybrids and the end to your privacy – is available at WND’s online store, ShopNetDaily.

Sherrie Gossett is a Florida-based researcher and writer, formerly with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and a contributing reporter to WorldNetDaily.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.