Tibetan Police Bought Thermo Fisher DNA Equipment, Chinese Government Documents Show

“The deployment of DNA databases across the whole of China lacks elementary fundamental rights safeguards,” said Yves Moreau, a bioinformatician at Belgium’s University of Leuven who uncovered the procurement documents through the Chinese search engine Baidu. “Western suppliers should not aid and abet those abuses.”

China’s government is mass-collecting DNA from Tibetans

dna collection appeals to authorities who have a “fetish for control”, says Yves Moreau of the University of Leuven in Belgium. “When you have different methods of surveillance and control available, you want everything.” That rings true of China under Xi Jinping, parts of which, such as Xinjiang, have come to resemble a panopticon. The president’s obsession with domestic security trickles down to local police. In a Tibetan part of Sichuan province they brag about acting as “telescopes and microscopes” and of collecting 158 items of “basic information” from households.

China ziet DNA als natuurlijke hulpbron en bouwt aan gigagenendatabank

Yves Moreau, bioinformaticus aan de KU Leuven, heeft hiervoor al vele malen gewaarschuwd. ‘Je ziet wereldwijd de opkomst van genendatabanken. Dat China competitief is, tot de wereldtop wil horen en dus controle wil over wie, wat met welke gegevens doet, is niet onredelijk. Veel richtlijnen lijken oprecht misbruik aan banden te willen leggen. Ook vindt onderzoek naar zeldzame genenmutaties en ziekten als alzheimer wereldwijd plaats. Maar als er een nationaal dataplatform aankomt, een ecosysteem dat de overheid controleert, vind ik dat zorgelijk.’

AI and Pure Science

But regardless of how we think about these specifics, this case serves to highlight a much larger issue: given the large number of ethical issues associated with AI and its potential uses we need to dedicate much more of our time and attention to the question of whether some certain forms of research should be considered forbidden knowledge. Do AI scientists and developers have moral responsibilities for their work? Is it more important to develop this research for its own sake or are there other ethical goods that should take precedence?

[Video] Concerns raised about China’s gene giant in UK universities

Chinese genomics giant, BGI Group, which runs the state-owned national gene bank, is believed to have significant and long-standing ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the country’s military. In recent years, twenty major UK universities have received over £40 million from state-linked Chinese companies. Other universities have previously had commercial links with BGI subsidiaries, it is claimed. However, Exeter University which has a running contract with a BGI subsidiary involving data

Journal Retracts Paper Based on DNA of Vulnerable Chinese Minorities

A highly regarded scientific journal has retracted a paper based on DNA samples from nearly 38,000 men in China, including Tibetans and Uyghurs who almost certainly did not give proper consent. The rare retraction by the journal, Human Genetics, follows a two-year crusade by a Belgian scientist to push publishers to investigate research that he and others say is complicit in human rights violations.

Dutch company sells China DNA kits for ethnic cleansing

Although Qiagen continues to operate in China, the company says it is committed to taking action: ‘What we can and will do is block those scientists and institutes engaged in such practices. We will ask our distributors to implement the same measure.’ ‘This is important and newsworthy,’ says Yves Moreau. However, he fears that Qiagen will restrict itself to only blocking scientists whose articles have been retracted. ‘But it is good news. The statement about involving distributors is also important. Qiagen can incorporate the ban in its contractual obligations, but that could cause problems with the Chinese government. It could result in some interesting situations.’

"Не используйте ДНК рабов!" Новые обвинения в адрес Китая

В научном, а потом и в политическом мире в последние месяцы наделали немало шума выступления Ива Моро – бельгийского ученого, эксперта в области биоинформатики, профессора Католического университета Левена. Он призывает коллег отказаться от использования в работе любых данных и особенно биоматериалов и образцов ДНК, насильно взятых в Синьцзян-Уйгурском автономном районе КНР у местных жителей-уйгуров. Несмотря на международное давление и постоянно вскрывающиеся все новые факты репрессий и гонений

Belgian researcher: Science must not support oppression

Yves Moreau believes scientific advances should never be built on the backs of the oppressed. A professor and bioinformatician at Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven, Moreau urges other scientists not to publish studies based on DNA taken without consent from Uyghurs in Xinjiang, where the People’s Republic of China (PRC) oppresses Uyghurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups.
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