In a "serious intrusion on the right to privacy," China is significantly expanding policing efforts across Tibet, including taking DNA samples from children as young as 5 years old, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
What Happened: In a new report released on Monday, the organization calling it a "serious human rights violation," said the Chinese authorities have stepped up their campaign to collect genetic samples from at least half a million people in just one municipality since it began its mass collection drive in July 2019.
"DNA collection from each resident in localities within Tibet is significant not just in terms of concerns about consent or privacy; it represents a further advance in close management of the population by the government," the report said, drawing citations from media and open-source documents.
The Tibet Autonomous Region's Chamdo municipality, one of the seven regions, described DNA collection as "improving verification efficiency and helping catch fleeing persons." Similarly, in other areas, the authorities told the residents that the collection of DNA was needed for general crime detection.
However, the report noted that no publicly available evidence suggests people can decline to participate or "that police have credible evidence of criminal conduct that might warrant such collection."
"The authorities' stated use for this data — crime detection — does not appear to constitute a legitimate, proportionate purpose that serves the child's best interest," it added.
Meanwhile, last week, United Nations human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet also accused China of committing “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which may constitute crimes against humanity.
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