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China’s Unethical Gene Harvesting: Scientists Raise Concern

The think tank said that the algorithms developed by China are through forced organ harvesting of people subject to detention, arbitrary arrest, sometimes to disappearances.

China Flag/ Representational Image

Toronto(Canada): Amid increasing accusations of human rights violations against China, scientists and medical practitioners have expressed concern about Beijing’s practice of collecting DNA data. A Toronto based think tank stated that a boycott of Chinese institutions has been proposed by organizers of the World Summit on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting. 

According to the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), this summit was held in September this year. During the summit, it was noted that China’s unethical practice of forced organ harvesting is serving a nefarious purpose: “developing a gene bank through mass genetic testing.” 

“There were also calls from the medical community to reject article submissions in scientific journals from China due to the country’s appalling record of human rights abuses. Engagement with scientists from China, in cases associated with analysis of genetic data mostly in the context of identification and/or surveillance has led to protests among experts and bioscience professors,” the IFFRAS said.

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The think tank said that the algorithms developed by China are through forced organ harvesting of people subject to detention, arbitrary arrest, sometimes to disappearances. “More recently, the majority of data being collected is through mass genetic testing across whole populations, particular regions, and minority populations.”

This comes as multiple reports say that Beijing sends the ethnic minorities to mass detention camps and interferes in their religious activities. Moreover, it subjects them to abuse including forced labour. Despite mounting evidence, Beijing has vehemently denied that it is engaging in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. 

An IFFRAS report, published in August had highlighted how a database is being made to enable selective ethnic cleansing. Perhaps could be labelled as one of the most “egregious crimes against humanity” that the Chinese authorities have undertaken.” The incarceration of Uyghur minorities in Chinese detention camps and continued violation of human rights in the Xinjiang region has added another dimension. DNA and racial profiling, in attempts to build a large DNA database to enable selective ethnic cleansing in what perhaps could be labelled as one of the most egregious crimes against humanity that the Chinese authorities have undertaken,” said IFFRAS. 

The report said that this research paper revealed several troubling aspects in the manner such genetic data was being collected. The think tank added that the use of genetic data is often problematic per human rights standards. Its susceptibility to misuse and the violation of informed consent requirements when collating such data sets that involve DNA matter from minorities. 

ALSO READ: China Asks US To Stop Interfering In Matters Related To Taiwan, HK, Xinjiang

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