UK MP concerned over Chinese gene data harvesting

A Reuters review of scientific publications and company statements found that the BGI Group worked with the Chinese military to develop the tests and use them to collect genetic data for a comprehensive study of population characteristics.
"I am always concerned when data leaves the UK that it should be treated with the respect and privacy we would expect here at home and this is a concern that it may not," said Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters.
"The links between Chinese genomics companies and the Chinese military are not what we would normally expect in the UK or many other countries."
The privacy policy on the website for the Prenatal Test, sold in the UK under the brand name NIFTY, states that data collected may be disclosed if it is "directly relevant to national security or defense security" in China.
The BGI says it has never shared data for national security purposes and was never asked to.
Tugendhat is one of nine British lawmakers sanctioned by China for highlighting alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, which Beijing calls "lies and disinformation".
He is co-head of the China Research Group, a group of conservative lawmakers seeking to rebalance strategic relationships with China.
In this article:
Tom Tugendhat
British politician (* 1973)

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