This genetic data (DNA) will be one more monitoring tool for the Chinese government. Our world is definitely progressively more like the one imagined by George Orwell. Across the country, the Chinese government is collecting blood samples from men to construct a genetic map of its approximately 700 million male citizens, according to information from the New York Times.

Since 2017, Chinese police have been crisscrossing the territory to collect DNA samples, sometimes threatening those who oppose it with repercussions against their families. This hunt is carried out even in schools, where the genetic data of young boys are collected.

For the moment, Beijing seems to be focusing its efforts on male citizens for two reasons, specifies the American media. First, they are more likely to commit crimes, and then it creates a large family tree for each individual.

Database to be helpful

If the Chinese authorities claim that this database will be used to track down criminals, there is a risk that it will be used as a tool for social surveillance or even deterrence, the members of the same family can be found thanks to the DNA of one man.

Such a wealth of information would be added to the surveillance network deployed on the territory, where cameras and artificial intelligence are already used to monitor and record the actions of the population.

In addition, the authorities could, in the long term, combine the information obtained from DNA samples with the facial recognition system to create an original control tool.

America involved

This large project requires numerous DNA collection kits. The government is partly sourcing from Chinese companies, but has also signed several contracts with the American company Thermo Fisher, adds HuffPost.

The Massachusetts company, heavyweights in the market for scientific equipment with $24 billion in revenue per year, is said to have sold DNA test kits in at least nine counties in China.

In addition, Beijing would have relied on material provided by Kenneth Kidd, a geneticist from Yale University, to collect the DNA of ethnic minority groups, including the Uyghurs - Turkish speakers with a Muslim majority living in the north-west of China.

Thermo Fisher, who also provided DNA collection kits used to monitor these minorities, has been widely criticized and accused of promoting human rights violations in China. According to the Wall Street Journal, the American company then decided to no longer sell its equipment to the authorities of Xinjiang, the province where most Uyghurs live.

China, however, already appears to be on track to create the largest genetic database in the world. It already has some 80 million profiles.

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