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US Company to Stop Selling DNA Kits and Technology in Tibet

January 5, 2024: US Biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific halted sales of DNA collection kits to Tibet. “Based on a number of factors we made the decision in mid-2023 to cease sales of HID products in the region and no longer sell our human identification technology in the Tibet Autonomous Region,” a Thermo Fisher spokesperson told Axios in an emailed statement and this was published by Axios on January 3, 2024. 

The company did not provide reasons for halting sales to Tibet. The decision comes after months of criticism and campaign by human rights groups including the Students for a Free Tibet and Human Rights Watch. The groups say the technology and products can be misused by local police forces. In September 2022, Human Rights Watch reported on mass DNA collection in Tibet where blood samples for DNA collection were being systematically collected from children at kindergartens and from other local residents without consent. Citizen Lab based at the University of Toronto estimated that between June 2016 and July 2022, police may have collected DNA samples from one-third of Tibet’s total population. Also, in September 2022, the Intercept reported that Tibet police signed a deal to buy over $160,000 worth of profiling kits and other supplies made by Thermo Fisher.

Thermo Fisher halted the sale of its DNA kits in Xinjiang in 2019.

“Companies must understand that their complacency enables repression in occupied Tibet. Thermo Fisher, the top bioinformatics company, accepted the evidence we shared about the reality of policing in Tibet and has taken action to end its DNA kit sales in Tibet. This is the result of our collective organizing, and the same power will continue to hold Thermo Fisher to its promise,” said Chemi Lhamo, campaign director at Students for a Free Tibet.

For More:
Students for a Free Tibet Statement

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Students for a Free Tibet