By Alistair Smout
Jul 22 (.) – Britain should be concerned about the collection of genetic data from millions of women by a Chinese company through prenatal testing, a British lawmaker told ..
A . review of scientific papers and company statements found that BGI Group developed the tests in collaboration with the Chinese military and is using them to collect genetic data around the world to investigate traits in populations.
“When data leaves the UK, I am always concerned that it is treated with the respect and privacy that we would expect here at home, and the concern that this raises is that it may not be,” Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK, told .. Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British Parliament.
“The connections between Chinese genomics companies and the Chinese military do not align with what we would normally expect in the UK or indeed in many other countries.”
BGI says it has not shared data for national security reasons and has never been asked to do so.
The company claimed that it fully complies with European GDPR data protection rules and also has the British certification for the management of personal information.
“The BGI NIPT test was developed solely by BGI, not in association with the Chinese military. All NIPT data collected overseas is stored in BGI’s laboratories in Hong Kong and destroyed after five years,” he said in an email to ., adding that it took data protection, privacy and ethics extremely seriously.
Tugendhat is one of nine British lawmakers who have been sanctioned by China for highlighting alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, something that Beijing describes as “lies and misinformation.”
He co-chairs the China Research Group, a group of conservative lawmakers seeking to rebalance the strategic relationship with China.
He said any British company using the evidence must be clear about where the data is going, who has it and what access others, including other governments, would have to it.
(By Alistair Smout in London, additional information by Kirsty Needham in Sydney; Edited in Spanish by Juana Casas)