US blacklists Chinese genetics companies over research allegations

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Atlanta/Hong Kong

The United States on Thursday added two subsidiaries of Chinese genetics company BGI to a trade blacklist over allegations they conducted genetic analysis and surveillance activities for Beijing, which Washington says was used to target ethnic minorities in China. to prevent

The U.S. Commerce Department, which oversees export controls, said in a statement that BGI Research and BGI Tech Solutions (Hongkong) are “at high risk of diversion into China’s military programs.”

“The addition of these organizations is based on information indicating that their collection and analysis of genetic data poses a significant threat to the investigation and monitoring by the Chinese government, which has been used in “suppress minorities in China,” the statement said.

CNN has reached out to BGI Group, one of the world’s largest genomics companies and a listed company based in Shenzhen, for comment on its subsidiaries.

In 2020, the US Department of Commerce added two more BGI affiliates, Xinjiang Silk Road BGI and Beijing Liuhe BGI, to the trade blacklist due to their involvement in human rights abuses against Uyghur and Muslim minorities. another mostly in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

The BGI Group issued a statement at the time denying the allegations, saying they “do not engage in unethical practices and do not provide genetic technology to monitor on Uighurs. ”

Rights groups have documented human rights abuses in Xinjiang since the 2000s, including forced labor and the forced implementation of family planning and birth control policies on the Uyghur minority, according to a damning report from the United Nations last year. China has consistently pushed back against these reports with strong denials.

The latest list compiled by the US Department of Commerce includes a total of 28 Chinese entities, four from Pakistan, three from Myanmar and one each from Belarus, Russia and Taiwan.

Being placed on the list means that the groups are restricted from buying American technology and other goods.

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