China is HARVESTING the DNA of Tibetans to create a genetic database and control the population
Multiple reports are alleging that the Chinese Communist Party is harvesting the DNA of Tibetan citizens
Gathering genetic information is important for law enforcement authorities currently engaged in criminal investigations, or for scientists conducting research. For a state like China to gather DNA en masse raises major ethical and privacy concerns regarding consent and the exploitation of ethnic minorities. It also raises questions about whether the information will be used for genetic surveillance
. (Related: China collecting DNA from millions of men and boys for large-scale genetic surveillance project
One report published by Citizen Lab, a research institute of the University of Toronto
, alleges that this DNA harvesting campaign by the CCP has been ongoing since at least June 2016. The report further states that the DNA of at least one-third of the entire population of Tibet – or over one million people – has already been harvested and documented.
"Without external checks on the Ministry of Public Security
's power, police in Tibet will be free to use a mass DNA database for whatever purpose they see fit," read the Citizen Lab report.
Another report by the New York-based nonprofit organization Human Rights Watch alleged that the regime is arbitrarily collecting DNA even from children
at kindergartens. The group also claimed that residents have no right to refuse to give DNA samples to the communist authorities.
Human Rights Watch further pointed out that authorities collecting DNA are not focusing on individuals but targeting entire communities. In a supposedly autonomous region where around 86 percent of the population is Tibetan
, the targeting of entire communities likely to be populated with ethnic Tibetans raises serious red flags about the possibility that the ethnic minority may be racially profiled.
This is not unique to Tibet. Chinese authorities have also been collecting large amounts of DNA samples from the indigenous Uyghur population of Xinjiang. Other reports from Xinjiang even indicate that law enforcement-linked researchers have been developing facial mapping technology using the DNA samples collected from Uyghurs.
Tibet government-in-exile warns DNA harvesting may be used to suppress dissent
The Central Tibetan Administration, the government-in-exile representing the overthrown nation of Tibet based in Dharamshala in northern India, said that the CCP's mass DNA harvesting efforts indicate the extent of Beijing's surveillance state
Tenzin Lekshay, the spokesperson for the government-in-exile, added that the DNA sampling is a long-term tactic to control the Tibetan population
"The [Chinese regime's] escalation of the illicit collection of Tibetan's DNA samples for the purpose of 'crime detection' originates from its desperate attempts to establish legitimacy to rule Tibet, and therefore such efforts are solely meant to secure their stability," Lekshay said in a statement.
"China is a surveillance state where they are putting so much money on internal security. Inside Tibet, China installed more security cameras than doors and windows," he continued.
The expansion of the surveillance state has meant that fewer and fewer Tibetans have been able to escape the communist regime for neighboring countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan, unlike in previous years.
"China's collection of genetic samples without consent violates Tibetan rights under international law and strengthens its already ruthless surveillance regime," he said.
Tsering Passang, chairman of the pro-Tibetan Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities, warned that the communist regime is using genetic surveillance technology to expand its effort to repress the local Tibetan population.
"The mass DNA collection is probably their last resort to control Tibetans through biotechnology," said Passang. He added that the DNA sampling shows that the Chinese regime believes it still needs to hold an iron grip over the still-restive Tibetan population.
Learn more about what China is doing in CommunistChina.news
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