New reports that China is using DNA science developed in San Diego County for widespread ethnic surveillance raise ethical questions about who is responsible for how that technology is used.
The New York Times reported recently that Chinese authorities are building a DNA database of the country’s Uighur minority, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group blamed for a series of terrorist attacks in northwestern China.
Since 2016, there have been regular reports of authorities taking blood samples in the Xinjiang region, where ethnic tensions have been rising. The situation has evolved into a Muslim crackdown in China, with nearly one million Uighurs and other minorities reportedly held in “re-education” camps bent on making Muslims more subservient to the Communist Party. There, Uighurs are being forced to hand over genetic samples, which activists worry could later be used by authorities to chase down any Uighurs who resist the indoctrination.