On September 5, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement revealing new evidence indicating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been collecting DNA in Tibet.
According to the accusations, forced DNA extractions are allegedly being carried out right across Tibet. Authorities said that they are creating a database for public security agencies to find and apprehend criminals.
HRW, to prove the allegation, cited firsthand leaked information, including several official documents and a report released in April 2022 by the Lhasa City Public Security Unit. Authorities confirm that a mass DNA blood sample collection was successfully carried out in the local area.
Forcing people to provide blood samples, or collecting blood samples without free and informed consent, or a truly justifiable reason, violates a person’s right to privacy, dignity, and physical integrity. The situation is aggravated when children are involved.
Compulsory DNA sampling of an entire region or population as an excuse to maintain security is a gross violation of human rights. It is actually impossible to justify it as necessary or proportionate.
Yet the CCP is doing it, and on a large scale. What is the real reason for such an atrocity against individual freedom?
Details of the Chinese regime’s coercive actions
According to the allegations, the Chinese regime is significantly increasing surveillance in the Tibetan region.
Reports studied by HRW indicate that the regime intends to collect DNA from all residents of the region, including temporary residents. What is even more troubling is that there are no conditions under which a resident could refuse to provide a sample.
In other parts of China, the CCP has conducted DNA samples, but always on small populations considered security risks such as prisoners and illegal immigrants. This time the samples would be taken from the entire population, including children under 6 years of age.
Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director, said, “The Chinese government is already subjecting Tibetans to pervasive repression. Now the authorities are literally taking blood without consent to strengthen their surveillance capabilities.”
The specific act of forced blood withdrawal, as proven in the documents provided by HRW, is part of a premeditated plan years in the making. So much so that there was a call for bids in 2019 by the CCP, seeking contractors who could build a DNA database at the regional level.
Other investigations, prior to the HRW report, even indicate that the CCP began DNA collection in Tibet in 2013, using the bogus claim that the objective was to improve health care benefits.
Historical oppression of Tibetans by the Chinese regime
Tibet is often described as a magical region that exhales peace, full of spirituality and intense mysticism, enhanced by the imposing natural environment of the Himalayas.
Time seems to have stood still along with its culture. Tibetans struggle to maintain their native language, customs, and religion, as handed down by their ancestors.
Officially, the Chinese invasion began in 1950, when the CCP army defeated the scanty and weak Tibetan army, forcing the Dalai Lama, its main religious authority, to sign a Plan for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. The liberation plan called for the CCP and the Tibetan government to run a joint administration.
Tibet suffered irreversible damage to its cultural and religious heritage during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The CCP destroyed Buddhist temples and monasteries while killing their monks and followers.
The CCP took full control of the vast Himalayan region in 1951 after Mao Zedong’s troops decimated Tibet’s weak and peaceful defenses. In the following years, the Chinese regime steadily intensified its control over the region.
Tibetan forces offered some resistance to the regime’s imperialist advance, but nothing stopped the overpowering Communist machine. The Tibetans did not claim to be “independent” on a mere whim or rebellion. On the contrary, it had the characteristics that a country of its own should have; a legitimate government, political leaders, religious leaders, language, army, a local cultural and social norms widely rooted and accepted by the community.
In the seven decades since the signing of the agreement, the CCP has unilaterally instituted increasingly harsh policies aimed at undermining Tibetan culture and religion, systematically denying freedom of expression to the people, and subjecting them to a severe and oppressive rule.
In addition, the CCP has exploited Tibet’s natural and economic resources for its own benefit without even improving the living conditions of the locals.
The CCP has consistently denied Tibet’s independence by completely misrepresenting the true history and subjecting Tibetan children to fierce indoctrination processes, seeking to eliminate tradition from the region and colonize the CCP’s culture.
Forced organ harvesting
The issue of the CCP’s DNA collection from the population inevitably recalls allegations that it is carrying out systematic forced organ harvesting from living prisoners of conscience, mainly practitioners of the Falun Gong discipline.
It is estimated that the CCP has received billions of dollars in revenue by extracting hearts, livers, and kidneys from healthy, living people of faith, especially Falun Gong practitioners, who due to their good habits are often in good health.
In 2006, shocking reports began to emerge suggesting with compelling evidence that Falun Gong practitioners, supposedly “disappeared” after being illegally detained, were actually killed by the CCP to harvest their vital organs.
Given the communist regime’s dark history of disregarding the lives of individuals, its campaign to create a DNA database of a targeted population, especially one historically harassed and persecuted by the regime, is highly controversial.