According to Phayul, US State Secretary Antony Blinken has raised worry about claims that China is forcibly collecting Tibetans’ DNA in Tibet.
“We’re also concerned about reports that mass DNA collection is spreading to Tibet as an additional method of surveillance and control over the Tibetan population,” Secretary Blinken added.
According to the US State Secretary, access to human genome information raises a host of new issues related to human rights, and advancements in science have made it possible to conduct genomic surveillance based on an individual’s DNA, possibly opening the door to abuses.
Since June 2016, police in the Tibet Autonomous Region have been conducting a widespread DNA collecting campaign that focuses on men, women, and kids across the territory. No active criminal inquiry seems to be related to the widespread DNA collection. According to Phayul, Citizens Lab, a civil society group, said that widespread DNA collecting is really a kind of social control aimed at the Tibetan people.
In a study published on September 5, 2021, Human Rights Watch said that Chinese authorities are escalating policing, including the arbitrary collecting of DNA from citizens in several cities and villages throughout the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
People cannot refuse to supply their DNA, according to the paper, and authorities may request samples without having solid proof of any illegal activity. According to a report from the Lhasa municipality in April 2022, blood samples for DNA collection were routinely gathered from households and kindergarten students.
According to Phayul, a report from a Tibetan municipality in the fictitious Qinghai province in December 2020 indicated that DNA samples were being taken from all males who were five years old and older.
Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson, stated: “The Chinese government already represses Tibetans on a widespread scale. Now, the government physically draws blood without permission to bolster its monitoring powers.
According to Phayul, a Citizen Lab study published in September 2022 said that the Chinese government has acquired genetic samples from 1.2 million out of 3.6 million people in Tibet without properly getting their agreement. The CCP has developed its surveillance systems and forced ethnic change initiatives in the area using genetic material gathered from Uyghurs in East Turkestan (Ch. Xinjiang).
According to the advocacy organization International effort for Tibet, “China has used Tibet throughout its ruthless occupation as a laboratory for relentless methods of social control, including this horrifying campaign of mass DNA collection.”