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Police in Xinjiang province gather biometric data under guise of health programme

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5865 (Published 19 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5865
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

A public health initiative called “Physicals for All” in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region is actually part of a police operation to collect DNA samples, iris scans, and blood type data from all of its 22 million citizens, according to Human Rights Watch.1

“Xinjiang authorities should rename their physical examinations project ‘Privacy Violations for All,’ as informed consent and real choice do not seem to be part of these programmes,” said Sophie Richardson, China director for the human rights organisation. “The mandatory databanking of a whole population’s biodata, including DNA, is a gross violation of international human rights norms, and it’s even more disturbing if it is done surreptitiously, under …

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