U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed concern over the collection of DNA from Tibetans and Uyghurs by Chinese authorities, sparking a vehement reply from Beijing.
Speaking at a Freedom House awards event in Washington on Tuesday, Blinken said access to human genomic data opens up more human rights concerns because advances in biotechnology have enabled genomic surveillance based on DNA, potentially facilitating rights abuses. He is the senior-most U.S. official to raise the issue.
“We’ve seen some of those, for example, committed by the People’s Republic of China against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang,” he said. “We’re also concerned by reports of the spread of mass DNA collection to Tibet as an additional form of control and surveillance over the Tibetan population.”