Human Rights Watch condemns China’s forced collection of DNA throughout Tibet


The Chinese government has stooped to the lowest level possible when it comes to the repression of the Tibetan people but this forced DNA sample collection without consent to strengthen their own surveillance capabilities proves that they can go even lower if needed.

The Chinese authorities have apparently been collecting DNA samples of Tibetan people, children and adults across the region without taking their consent as per a new report published by Human Rights Watch.

Their report also contained evidence of the mass DNA database collection that took place under the guise of a “crime detection” drive in the area, reported The Geneva Daily.

China has always considered the complete sinicization of Tibet as its ultimate goal since its illegal occupation in the 1950s. They have oppressed the people of Tibet for more than six decades and continue to do so.

Tibetans in Tibet have no access to fundamental human rights, are always under the strict surveillance of the Communist party that is strengthened ever so often and are punished or imprisoned severely if they don’t comply with the unfavourable Chinese policies and agendas, reported The Geneva Daily.

Human Genetics, a science journal took down a research paper that used DNA sample collections and it was fairly obvious how there was no consent taken from the victimized parties during the entire research process.

A UN Special Rapporteur commented on how the right to privacy notes that the DNA databases are subject to “potential misuse for government surveillance, including identification of relatives and non-paternity, and the risk of miscarriages of justice.”The report by Human Rights Watch also had information about their findings in Nyemo county where the Chinese authorities collected DNA from children at three kindergartens, this became a controversial drive since there was no information on whether the parents were informed or if their consent was granted in such a delicate case, reported The Geneva Daily.

The report also suggests how it does not make sense at all to take DNA samples from kids under the claims of it is for the purpose to detect crime.

It further stated, “DNA information is highly sensitive and can facilitate a wide array of abuses if collected or shared non-consensually.”Another report was published on September 13th, 2022 where Citizen Lab found out that China’s police may have gathered between about 920,000 to 1.2 million DNA samples in the Tibet Autonomous Region over the past six years.

This figure sums up one-quarter to one-third of the total population of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Human Rights Watch has also stated clearly in their reports how the Chinese authorities are leading a systematic collection of the DNA of the residents of the Tibetan Autonomous Region by taking blood from children as young as 5 without any say or consent from their parents, reported The Geneva Daily.

The International Campaign for Tibet stated that China’s mass DNA collection of Tibetans is outrageous but it does not come as a surprise since China, since the illegal occupation has used Tibet as a laboratory for their coercive methods of social control, including the constant mass surveillance, the forced entry of the Chinese troops into Buddhist monasteries and religious institutions and the constant effort put into making Tibetans spy on their neighbours by using them as baits.

Moreover, China has not been open to any dialogue or negotiation with the Tibetan Government in Exile since 2010. The United States government has expressed their stand about how they think that the abuse will end if there is a peaceful negotiation between the two nations. The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act by the US will supposedly pressure China to come to the negotiating table, reported The Geneva Daily.

Uzra Zeya, the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues tweeted, “Deeply disturbed by recent reports documenting involuntary, mass DNA collection throughout Tibet, including from children as young as 5 years old. We call on the PRC to stop these repressive policies and respect the fundamental freedoms of Tibetans.”