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China: Hands Off Tibetans’ DNA

China: Hands Off Tibetans’ DNA

Following reports of mass DNA collection by Chinese authorities in Tibet and as reported by Human Rights Watch, The Citizen Lab and others, various Tibet groups including the International Tibet Network have over the past several weeks launched a protest and educational campaign to oppose and draw attention to the actions of the Chinese authorities.

The mass DNA collection, where blood samples are being systematically collected from children ages five and above and adults, is reported to be taking place across the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The Citizen Lab reports that “between June 2016 and July 2022, police may have collected between roughly 919,282 and 1,206,962 DNA samples, representing between one quarter (25.1%) and one third (32.9%) of Tibet’s total population (3.66 million).”

“China’s repressive rule in Tibet has taken a sinister new turn: police are now systematically taking DNA samples from Tibetans, including children as young as five. As many as 1.2 million Tibetans have had DNA samples taken to build a sweeping genetic database that will add to Beijing’s growing surveillance capabilities, giving China unprecedented power to monitor Tibetans, violate their privacy, and persecute them. Aiding and abetting this mass stealing of Tibetans’ DNA is Thermo Fisher Scientific, a global company that has allowed its DNA kits to be supplied to police forces in occupied Tibet,” says the International Tibet Network. Their campaign includes a petition drive calling on the Urge Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper to stop doing business with China.

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