søndag 18. juli 2021

William Matthews: We should be suspicious of the role of the Chinese Communist party in the harvesting of genetic data from unborn babies

In her column (What does the Chinese military want with your unborn baby’s genetic data?, 10 July), Arwa Mahdawi suggested that the alleged involvement of the People’s Liberation Army (which is directly answerable to the Chinese Communist party) with BGI’s data-gathering (likewise answerable as a China-based company) is essentially equivalent to data-gathering by western companies. To suggest that the former case is worse, she argued, “smacks of Sinophobia”.

As a scholar of China, I cannot agree. While the harvesting of genetic data by any company is frightening and fraught with ethical issues, it should be obvious that this is a false equivalence. It is undoubtedly worse if genetic data is gathered by a company which must also comply with the rule of the Chinese Communist party (CCP) and its military-industrial complex, a regime which harvests and aggregates data on its citizens on a massive scale and uses it directly to implement the most repressive system of social control on earth in Xinjiang.