China gathering DNA samples across Tibet including from kindergarten children

Chinese authorities have been gathering DNA samples across Tibet, including from kindergarten children without the apparent consent of their parents, Human Rights Watch has said, The Guardian reported.
China gathering DNA samples (IANS)
China gathering DNA samples (IANS)

Chinese authorities have been gathering DNA samples across Tibet, including from kindergarten children without the apparent consent of their parents, Human Rights Watch has said, The Guardian reported.

In a new report released on Monday, the rights organization claimed new evidence showing a systematic DNA collection drive for entire populations across Tibet as part of a "crime detection" drive, The Guardian reported.

"There is no publicly available evidence suggesting people can decline to participate or that police have credible evidence of criminal conduct that might warrant such collection," it said, adding that mass collection for such a purpose was a serious human rights violation in that it "cannot be justified as necessary or proportionate".

The DNA collection drives described in Monday's report began in 2019 under a policing campaign called the "three greats" (inspection, investigation, and mediation), designed to strengthen China's intensive grassroots-level policing system. The report also cited two government tenders for the construction of local DNA databases in 2019.

Citing publicly available police and state media publications, Human Rights Watch identified drives in 14 distinct localities across every prefecture-level region in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), including one whole prefecture, two counties, two towns, two townships, and seven villages. It also detected some collection drives on Tibetan regions outside the TAR, The Guardian reported.

The report described the campaign as "intrusive policing", taking samples from all residents of some villages, including those as young as five, or of all male residents. In a January report, police described efforts in Chonggye county to conduct information registration and DNA collection.

"No village must be omitted from a township, no household must be omitted from a village, and no person must be omitted from a household," it said.

Tibet has been under Chinese control since it was annexed more than 70 years ago, in what Tibetans describe as an invasion and what Beijing claims was a peaceful liberation from the theocratic rule. It is among border regions including Xinjiang and Mongolia subject to long-running crackdowns on the religious and cultural practices of non-Han ethnic minorities, The Guardian reported. (AA/IANS)

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