China Gathering DNA from Citizens for Crime Prevention

Samples gathered from children.

QUICK FACTS:
  • China is gathering DNA from individuals living in Tibet as young as kindergarten age in a move they’re hoping will prevent crime.
  • A new Human Rights Watch report indicates that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has enacted mass DNA collection, particularly in rural areas.
  • A version of their DNA collection drive began in 2019 as a policing campaign they’re calling “three greats,” which stands for inspection, investigation, and mediation.
FROM HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT:
  • “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,” the Human Rights Watch report 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 report also called the measure “intrusive policing” and noted the aggressive nature of the sample 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,” the collection order reportedly stated.
BACKGROUND:
  • Since Tibet’s annexation by China more than 70 years ago, the region has been under Chinese sovereignty.
  • Beijing has continuously maintained that the move was a peaceful liberation from theocratic tyranny, but the Tibetans reportedly viewed it as an invasion.
  • Tibet is among one of the regions controlled by China including Xinjiang and Mongolia, all of which are subject to long-running intrusion into the religious and cultural practices of non-Han ethnic minorities.