China accused of using Muslims as ‘guinea pigs’ for 'attack'
Scientists and Chinese ethnic minorities are concerned about China's biological warfare capabilities with suspicions health data could be used to plan "specific ethnic genetic attacks".
Since 2010 high-profile Chinese military officials have advocated for biological weapons in the nation's military publications and institutions - at the same time as China steps up acquisition of genetic information and research.
Charles Sturt University public ethics expert Clive Hamilton said Chinese authorities were gathering genetic data on Uyghur people, a Muslim minority group the Communist government sees as a threat to a unified China.
"There is no doubt that the Uyghur people are being used as guinea pigs in Beijing's surveillance system," he said.
Scientists have responded to this combination of growing surveillance and a push to increase biotechnical capacities by urging researchers to not publish studies on the DNA and genes of minority groups.
Uyghur people who spoke to US media, confirmed that Chinese health authorities were collecting their DNA, face scans, thumb prints and blood by offering "free health checks" but not allowing them to see the results.
The rise in surveillance and genetic research has coincided with Chinese military discussions on biological warfare.
Third Military Medical University professor Guo Jiwei emphasised the importance of biological warfare in 2010 in his book War For Biological Dominance. In 2015, the president of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences He Fuchu said biotechnology will be the new "strategic commanding heights" of defence.
Retired general and ex-president of the National Defence University Zhang Shibo said biotechnology developments could allow "specific ethnic genetic attacks".
More recently two army colonels published a book on warfare beyond all boundaries, blending missiles with biochemical, financial, and terrorist attacks.
Originally published as China accused of using Muslims as 'guinea pigs' to prepare for attack