China’s DNA Collection Project: Who’s Next?

In September 2014, China’s President Xi Jinping outlined his “magic weapons” program that includes the People’s Liberation Army, the use of propaganda, and United Front tactics. In a series of articles, Steven W. Moshe, President of the Population Research Institute, proposes that China also has a fourth magic weapon, namely, a program to collect the DNA from all Chinese citizens as well as DNA from other peoples around the world. Issued on Nov. 7, 2017, China’s national DNA collection project focused initially on millions of men. The directive described how officials should collect, analyze, and store Y-chromosome DNA data and create genealogical trees for each family in their communities.

During 2016 and 2017, the Chinese government mandated the collection of biometric data from nearly 36 million people, the entire minority population of Muslim Uyghurs and Kazakhs in Xingjian province. On Dec. 26, 2017, hundreds of male students in Qianwei County, Sichuan Province, home to a significant Yi minority, were ordered to provide saliva specimens. Human rights attorneys, people who hold religious or spiritual beliefs, dissidents, leading internet commentators, and the poorest members of society were specifically targeted. Additionally, all policemen, detectives, and government personnel involved in health and social programs are required to provide DNA samples.

As a result of ongoing DNA collection efforts, an estimated 100 million DNA samples have been collected, analyzed, and added to the Chinese government’s huge database. By comparison, U.S. law enforcement agencies currently only have DNA specimens from approximately 16 million persons, and the database is used exclusively for fighting crime.

China is assembling a huge DNA database for people outside of China as well, including millions of Americans. Dominance in biotechnology is explicitly called for in the ‘Made in China 2025’ master plan to acquire cutting-edge biotechnology and genomic data by any means possible. This involves the direct purchase of American biotech companies by Chinese state-owned or state-funded entities as well as by espionage and state-directed cyberattacks.

There are at least 23 companies associated with China currently accredited in the U.S. to perform molecular diagnostics or other genetic testing, including whole genome sequencing. Hospitals, clinics, and even some commercial DNA testing companies in the U.S. now routinely send DNA samples to China to be analyzed. More than 12 million Americans have mailed a sample of their DNA to commercial DNA testing companies for ancestral or other informational purposes.

Any privacy protocols that may have been contractually promised by Chinese-controlled companies to their American partners are worthless as the Chinese regime can access at will all data stored on Chinese servers owned by private companies.

The number of Chinese state-directed hacking attempts targeting U.S. biotech companies has dramatically increased since 2008, many of which have been successful.

How might China use the genetic information of foreign nationals?  Medical vulnerabilities of strategically important individuals could be targeted for individualized attacks.  China’s biotech industry might bioengineer a virulent infectious agent made to be fatal for all races but ethnic Han Chinese.

For decades, innocent religious believers have been involuntarily tissue matched and then killed on demand for anyone willing to pay for an organ transplant. China’s totalitarian regime, which regards human life as a disposable commodity, has no moral compass.  Therefore, the world needs to be wary of the motives behind the Chinese government’s “magic weapons” programs, including its gathering of genetic information.