From kindergartens to high schools, from prisons to anyone who’s simply lost their ID, China is conducting the world’s most aggressive campaign to collect DNA from its population – with or without permission, in what it is calling a “high-tech security blanket” used to better monitor its 1.4 billion citizens, the WSJ reports
Schoolchildren in a bucolic region in western China famed for steam trains and jasmine flowers thought little of it when police interrupted classes and asked all the boys to spit into small plastic boxes.
Chinese authorities are already pointing to the collection techniques as a success – highlighting a case in Qianwei County, in which the murder of two shopkeepers from nearly a decade ago was solved using genetic samples collected from the murderer.
The goal, according to a WSJ’s examination of police documents from across China, is to double China’s current DNA repository to 100 million records by 2020 – which will require that they step up their efforts and collect nearly as many records each year as the United States has in its entire national database built over two years.
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