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US China-monitoring body questions company for selling DNA kits used for rights abuses in Tibet

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(TibetanReview.net, Dec16’22) – The bipartisan and bicameral members of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) have on Dec 15 written to the US-based company Thermo Fisher Scientific, questioning its reported sale of products to China which uses them to collect DNA samples of Tibetan people without their free and informed consent. Beijing is suspected to be using them to set up a data bank to enable it to carry out mass surveillance and human rights abuses.

CECC Cochairs Senator Jeffrey A Merkley and Representative James P McGovern, joined by ranking members Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Christopher H Smith, have, in their letter to Marc Casper, Thermo Fisher’s President and Chief Executive Officer, expressed concern that his company’s products may have contributed to the Chinese Communist Party’s abuse of the Tibetan people.

The letter posed a series of questions to Mr Casper, asking about the use of Thermo Fisher’s products in China, including whether the company would consider a “blanket prohibition on all sales of its products to the People’s Republic of China in order to assure its shareholders and the American public that its products cannot be used in the commitment of human rights abuses in that country?”

Earlier, in 2018, Rubio had confronted Thermo Fisher for selling DNA equipment in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Following his letter, Thermo Fisher halted their sales in XUAR, Rubio has said on his official website.

The current letter raises concerns that the use of the Massachusetts-based company’s products for mass DNA collection “could enable further gross violations” of the human rights of the Tibetan people.

It is the second recent letter on Tibet from the CECC leaders. Last month, Merkley and McGovern wrote to Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, asking for a UN investigation into the forced separation of Tibetan children from their families, noted Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet Dec 15.

The CECC is an independent agency of the US government which monitors human rights and rule of law developments in the People’s Republic of China.

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