Chinese authorities carry out massive DNA collection in Tibet

Residents of the Tibet Autonomous Region have been targeted for DNA collection by Chinese authorities. These samples were taken using finger-prick devices, as reported by Interesting Engineering.

(Photo: CNS/AFP via Getty Images)
This photo taken on August 9, 2022 shows people queuing to undergo nucleic acid testing for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Lhasa, in China’s West Tibet Autonomous Region. – China OUT

According to the report, residents were not given the opportunity to decline the request. Kindergarten children were also asked to submit DNA without parental consent.

Fourteen separate locations across municipalities in the western part of the TAR where DNA collections took place. It includes a prefecture, two counties, two cities, two townships and seven villages.

Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson said, “The Chinese government is already subjecting Tibetans to widespread repression. Now authorities are literally taking blood without consent to bolster their surveillance capabilities.

The data collection was justified by the police because its purpose was to fight crime. But according to research from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, the people who took part had no criminal records or criminal offences. Authorities also told the public that the reason may be to find missing persons and ensure social stability.

Also read: COVID-19 swab tests raise DNA privacy concerns after CDC admits 10% goes to genome lab!

Male Ancestry Survey System

Since 2016, the lab also found that Chinese police DNA collection collected 919,282 and 1,206,962 DNA samples which were taken from the 25.1% to 32.9% of Tibet’s population. . These are carried out from fields, monasteries, residential areas, schools and even businesses.

The same is true in 2017 when the Ministry of Public Security created the Male Ancestry Survey System to merge the family records and generic data of 5-10% of its male citizens, with a total of 700 million. This was followed by the country launching an unprecedented DNA collection campaign from Chinese residents.

James Leibold, a professor at La Trobe University, told Vice: “China now has the largest forensic DNA database in the world and appears to be the only country in the world where police are collecting DNA samples en masse. ‘DNA outside the scope of criminal investigations’.

These moves by China and its authorities have people worried because of the long history of state repression in the region. Since the 1950s, a policy that ethnicity should be normalized and accepted has been maintained by Beijing. This policy prevents China from interfering with the education, religion and language of Tibet.

This can lead to abuse of power by having certain data that gives the country the power to control orders against the native population.

Leibold added, “In addition to the gradual erasure of Tibetan language, culture and identity, the Chinese Communist Party is now turning to new high-tech forms of social control and repression.”

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Written by Inno Flores

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