Chinese police collecting DNA from Tibetans in Lhoka Prefecture. Photo: "Lhoka Police Bulletin", Lhoka Public Security, on August 31.2021.

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Dharamshala – Tibetan activists and advocates from around the world have launched a global action to demand that Thermo Fisher stop selling DNA kits to the Chinese government that steals Tibetan DNA and violates the human rights of Tibetans.

Tibetan non-governmental organisations, including Students for a Free Tibet, International Tibet Network, Tibetan Women's Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, National Democratic Party Of Tibet, Free Tibet, Chushi Gandruk, and Tibetan National Congress etc, have launched a global week of action from January 30 to February 5, 2023, to fight for the human rights of Tibetans in Tibet and to demand that Thermo Fisher do their due diligence by investigating their work under their ethics policies and asking the company to stop selling DNA kits to China that steal the DNA of Tibetans as young as five years old.

Activists are leading a global action to protest against the Chinese government's violation of the human rights of Tibetans in Tibet and Chinese embassies in countries around the world. The handwritten letter "Hands off Tibetans' DNA" is in the hands of activists and other supporters. They also make the following calls: "Stop selling Thermo Fisher kits to China, Thermo Fisher, stop supporting human rights violations, Tibetans and Uyghurs deserve justice, (China), stop collecting blood without consent."

They are further launching signature campaigns to demand that Thermo Fisher's CEO and Communications Officer stop selling DNA kits to Chinese police in Tibet.

“The Chinese government is building the world’s largest police-run DNA database with the help of key industry partners in the West. One such partner is Massachusetts-based Company Thermo Fisher Scientific. Thermo Fisher is a key supplier of DNA profiling technology in Tibet. This is not the company’s first involvement in the Chinese government’s dystopian programs of mass surveillance and repression. Thermo Fisher has been criticized in the past for selling DNA equipment to the police in East Turkistan (Ch: Xinjiang),” the activists explained.

“As recently as September 2022, Thermo Fisher signed a series of sales agreements amounting to $160,000 worth of products that are being used by police forces conducting these nonconsensual repressive actions in Tibet. It is clear that Thermo Fisher prioritizes profit over its responsibility to its shareholders and the international community in maintaining ethical practices and upholding their mission to “enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer,” the activists said.

“Not only does this state-run DNA collection drive violate individuals’ privacy rights and the right to bodily integrity, it will also undoubtedly heighten China’s repression in Tibet. Tibetans, who are subjected to cultural, religious, and language repression in Tibet under Chinese occupation, are facing a new high-tech form of surveillance which will increase the magnitude of China’s human rights violations,” they mentioned.