China set to buy DNA sampling kits despite criticism

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, September 14: The Chinese government is reportedly set to buy more than $1,600,000 worth of ‘profiling kits and other supplies’ from Thermo Fisher, a US-based company that has come under fire for selling similar supplies to Chinese authorities of East Turkestan (Xinjiang) in the past. . Chinese documents online show that last month the CCP government purchased DNA kits and spare parts, which will be sent to authorities in Tibet. Last year, in October, Lhasa police spent $173,000 to upgrade a “sequencer 3500” device, another product that matches Fisher’s line of genetic analyzers.

“The deployment of DNA databases across China lacks basic human rights safeguards. Western vendors should not aid and abet these abuses,” said researcher Yves Moreau, who discovered documents through the Chinese search engine. Baidu. In addition, The Citizen Lab in a bombshell report, authorities are estimated to have taken DNA samples from 919,000 to 1.2 million Tibetans, or a third of the region’s population.

“When the police want to engage in mass DNA collection, they are actually very open about it. They can tell the public about pandemic prevention measures, and then next to that they’ll say, “OK, while you’re here, we’re going to collect DNA,” Dirks, a colleague from The citizen laboratory noticed. During the 2020 pandemic, Dirks found that the DNA collection in the region had tripled. “Based on our analysis, we believe that this program is a form of social control directed against the Tibetan people, who have long been the subject of intense state surveillance and repression,” he said. he added. The citizen laboratory said Tuesday in its key findings.

Thermo Fisher, a US company, has previously come under fire for selling DNA equipment to East Turkestan (Xinjiang), a region where China has been accused of “ethnic cleansing” and “cultural genocide”. In 2019, the company said it would no longer sell or service DNA equipment in East Turkestan (Xinjiang). HRW’s September 5 report presented evidence of massive data collection under the guise of “crime detection” campaigns in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region.