China: Stop Collecting DNA from Entire Uyghur Population

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March 10th, 2018

Uyghur people have lived under the state policies of ethnic discrimination and assimilation since our homeland, East Turkestan (called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in present-day China), was occupied by the Communist Chinese in 1949. Over time, the communist regime changed the way of treating the Uyghurs to severe oppression, and the Uyghurs have been living as the second-class citizens in their own homeland ever since.  However since July 2009 after the July 5th 2009 massacre in Urumchi, the capital of East Turkestan, the Chinese government has stepped up their repressive policies towards the Uyghurs until today Uyghurs are living in a situation of state terror. This state terrorism reached its peak when Chen Quanguo took office as the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in East Turkestan.  Under the heavy-handed rule of Chen Quanguo, all Uyghurs are now being treated like criminals, and all Uyghurs with religious faith are now being treated like terrorists. One of the prominent aspects of such treatments is the collection of the DNA data of the entire Uyghur population in East Turkestan without legal protection and without the knowledge of the people whose DNA is being collected.

 It was reported by various media sources in 2017 that the local government in East Turkestan had spent more than 10 million dollars to purchase 12 DNA sequencers to test and analyze DNA samples. Some of them are ‘next generation’ DNA sequencers, which could be used to determine ancestry, eye color and other physical characteristics from genetic samples. Several biologists estimated that, if used at full capacity, the new equipment could be used to profile up to 10,000 DNA samples a day and several million a year. We have learned from several witnesses who fled China recently and also from some Chinese media reports that the local government has already started the collection of the DNA samples from a large number of Uyghurs, and the Chinese authorities are planning to continue this process until the DNA samples of all Uyghurs are collected.

 Many countries use DNA fingerprinting to solve and prevent crimes, but most Uyghurs living abroad are extremely worried about how the DNA is being collected in East Turkestan. In March of 2017, Chinese state media detailed the conclusion of a 4-month program during which 17.5 million people - who were predominantly Uyghurs - were given health checks, including blood tests. Last year, other reports emerged that most of the people who underwent these examinations had been forced to do so.

 The whole Uyghur population in East Turkestan is currently under attack from all directions by the communist Chinese regime. One reason is that East Turkestan is a key strategic point in China’s “One-Belt, One-Road (OBOR)” initiative, and the whole Uyghur population has become an inconvenience for that initiative.  It is not clear where or when this will end, or if it ends at all.  More than 10% of the Uyghur population is currently being held illegally in jails, political “re-education” concentration camps and orphanages ( ). We were told that the largest construction project currently underway in East Turkestan is the building of new jails and new concentration camps throughout its territory ( Some international organizations such as Human Rights Watch warned that the collection of the Uyghurs’ DNA could be used as a way for the authorities to intensify their political control. But, because the Uyghurs have no legal representation and virtually no institutional support in China, the Chinese government is practically unrestricted in conducting any type of human experiments on the Uyghur people.  For that reason, many Uyghurs living abroad are worried that the biodata of the entire Uyghur people might be used for something far worse, such as to selectively harvest the organs of the Uyghurs, as thousands of Uyghurs have already been disappeared behind “the black gate” of the Chinese mass detention system. 

 We, the Torchlight Uyghur Group, appeal to the United Nations, foreign governments and all international humanitarian and human rights organizations to demand the Chinese government stop the collection of DNA and the other biodata of the whole Uyghur population, and to disclose to the world what they are truly doing with the Uyghurs’ DNA data that they have already collected.

 We, the Uyghurs, are powerless and helpless at the moment. As such, we are unable to defend ourselves against the Chinese government’s atrocities and cannot fight this battle for our survival alone. We need the support of the global community. If tens of thousands of people from around the world sign our petition, it may be possible that the United Nations will make a commitment and will act to stop the tragedy that the Uyghur people are facing today.

 Please join us in our fight to end the appalling atrocities happening in East Turkestan. Please sign and share this petition. Thank you!