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In July of last year the U.S. Commerce Department publicly accused subsidiaries of BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) of genetically testing Uyghurs in Xinjiang as part of a campaign of ethnically-motivated political repression:

The entities to be added to the Entity List in connection with conducting genetic analyses used to further the repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in XUAR are:

  • Xinjiang Silk Road BGI
  • Beijing Liuhe BGI

BGI denied this charge, and claimed that one of the named subsidiaries wasn't in operation at the time:

Beijing Liuhe BGI provides commercial Sanger sequencing services for researchers and scientists conducting basic scientific research related to disease. None of this work includes personally identifiable information or violations of privacy or human rights. There is no basis for inclusion on the list of entities or for how its services or products could be used with respect to the allegations made.

The “Xinjiang Silk Road BGI” subsidiary mentioned was established in November 2016 and has not carried out any actual business so far.

Is there any evidence that BGI engaged in genetic testing for ethnic markers in Xinjiang (regardless of whether it involved the colleciton of "personally identifiable information" or "violations of privacy")?

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