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China's DNA profiling campaigns attract global opposition: Report

The IPAC is an international, cross-party alliance of parliamentarians from democratic countries focused on relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC).

BEIJING: China is running two special demographic profiling campaigns which have attracted global opposition from human rights groups and political leaders around the world, according to Tibet Press.

The report said that one campaign is about the mass scanning of the irises of people in the Qinghai province and the other is about mass blood sampling of Tibetan people for their DNA profiling.

"On the face of it, these campaigns may look like any other public health-related programs which are common in most countries. But the fishy history of China's treatment of its occupied colonies makes it stink," the Tibet Press report said.

Earlier this month, a group of legislators from 15 legislatures globally called on their respective governments to investigate and suspend commercial activities with companies providing the Chinese government with technologies to carry out biometric surveillance in the Uyghur region, Tibet and elsewhere in China.

"We, members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), write to express our deep concern at the use of mass DNA collection by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to enhance its surveillance on minorities, especially in the Tibetan and Uyghur regions," two dozen Parliamentarians said in a joint letter.

The IPAC is an international, cross-party alliance of parliamentarians from democratic countries focused on relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Signatories to the letter, belonging to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, include Anna Fotyga MEP, Australian Senator Claire Chandler, Canadian MP Arif Virani, Irish Senator Michael McDowell, MP Simon O'Connor from New Zealand and MP Lord James Bethell from the United Kingdom.

Reports by Human Rights Watch and other groups have indicated that, since June 2016, the PRC authorities have conducted a mass DNA collection program in the Tibet Autonomous Region, reaching up to one-third of Tibet's total population - including many children.

According to IPAC, investigations have revealed that at least one American company, Thermo Fisher, is known to be supplying DNA profiling kits to police in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

In a statement, the IPAC said that the mass DNA collection campaign in Tibet and Xinjiang constitutes a gross interference with the right to privacy and human rights and represents a form of social control directed against Tibetan people, who are already subject to intense state surveillance and repression.

The legislators demand their governments act to investigate the matter further and suspend commercial activities with the BGI Group and Thermo Fisher.

"Beijing's mass DNA harvesting constitutes an unacceptable interference with the right to privacy and human rights," said IPAC EU Member Engin Eroglu MEP.

"I call on national and European authorities to take immediate action to investigate and suspend any activities with companies linked to DNA harvesting in PRC," Eroglu added.

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