Tibetan activists call on Thermo Fisher to stop selling DNA kits to China. Photo: NDPT

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Dharamshala – A group of 120 Tibetan organisations protested against China taking Tibetan DNA without consent. They also called on the CEO of Thermo Fisher to stop selling DNA kits to China that steal DNA from Tibetans as young as five years old.

As part of the signature campaign organised by 120 Tibetan organisations to demand that Thermo Fisher stop selling DNA kits to China that steal the DNA of Tibetans in Tibet. National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) has been organising a signature campaign on Mcleod Ganj in Dharamshala for the past few weeks and has obtained about 600 signatures from Tibetans, Indians and other supporters of justice.

"We have been collecting signatures over the last few weeks and have obtained 595 signatures, calling on Thermo Fisher to stop selling DNA kits to China, which is helping China to collect Tibetan DNA without the consent of individuals and collect DNA from young children as young as five years old, we must stop this," said Tashi Dhondup, the President of NDPT.

“Thermo Fisher products are supplied to the Chinese police in occupied Tibet and allow China to build up a massive DNA database to continue violating Tibetans' freedom and increase surveillance,” the statement of NDPT stated.

The global coalition of Tibetan groups wrote in its letter to Marc Casper, the CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, "We are alarmed that Thermo Fisher Scientific is supplying Chinese police forces in occupied Tibet with DNA testing kits and other support. We urge you to publicly announce an end to these agreements, which pose a dangerous new threat to Tibetans living under occupation.”

“Occupied Tibet is already one of the most repressive and closely monitored places in the world. One of the most worrying developments in recent years has been the Chinese authorities’ policy of mass DNA collection, which has seen police collect DNA samples from as many as 1.2 million Tibetans, including children as young as five,” the letter continued.

“There can be no justification for this policy; it is wildly disproportionate in its scale, discriminates against Tibetans and hands the Chinese government and police unfettered power to carry out yet more human rights abuses against Tibetans,” the letter added.

“So long as these sales continue, Thermo Fisher Scientific is choosing to assist in the monitoring and persecution of millions of Tibetans. For this reason we urge you to show the courage to correct this grave mistake, listen to Tibetans and put an end to these agreements,” the joint letter concluded.

A global coalition of Tibetan advocacy groups has asked Thermo Fisher for information regarding the supply of products to the Chinese authorities. Despite receiving a response, Thermo Fisher has yet to respond:

• Give adequate detail about the supply of goods to Chinese police forces in Tibet;
• Confirm that they will ensure their goods are not supplied for use in Tibet;
• Set an agreed time for a meeting with affected Tibetan community leaders.

While explaining the purpose of the signature campaign, the organisation said: "to put direct pressure on Thermo Fisher to stop supplying DNA kits to Chinese police forces or Chinese authorities for use in Tibet."

"And to raise awareness, Tibet is already considered the least free place in the world. Thermo Fisher's provision of DNA kits feeds into this repressive system and helps China deny freedom in Tibet or support China's occupation of Tibet," the organisation added.