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Tibetan activist groups launch worldwide campaign against DNA kit supplier Thermo Fisher

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A Tibetan youth activist protesting at the Thermo Fisher Scientific HQ in Massachussets, US (Photo/SFT)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, May 25: A coalition of Tibetan activist groups have once again organised a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the Massachusetts-based company, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s complicity in the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses by supplying DNA kits that are enabling the forced collection of DNA samples and biometric surveillance across occupied Tibet.  

The rights group including Students for Free Tibet (SFT), Free Tibet organisation, International Tibet Network and Tibetan Youth Association in Europe who have been relentlessly campaigning over the past six months to condemn the US-based company’s continuous technical assistance to the Chinese police forces in occupied Tibet on their social media handle said the company’s headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts’ staff members refused to accept the petition. It was delivered by the activists from SFT and Free Tibet Organisation along with the well-known former Tibetan political prisoner, Ngawang Sangdrol on the eve of the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). The petition drive titled, “China: Hands Off Tibetans’ DNA” was conducted in September last year and has received over 25,000 signatories.  

Despite the company’s refusal to engage in a dialogue with the Tibetan activists, they staged a political theatre showcasing the Chinese government forcibly extracting DNA from Tibetans while depicting Thermo Fisher’s CEO Marc Casper blood soaked relationship with China’s Xi Jinping at the company’s headquarters on the day of the company’s AGM of investors and shareholders. Through the political theatre staged on Wednesday, youth activists demanded Thermo Fisher to immediately stop their contract with the Chinese government.  

Tenzin Yangzom, grassroots director at SFT on the social media handle updated that she was supposed to attend the company’s AGM but was unable to attend it due to some technical difficulties with the meeting platform. “Shareholders have rallied to our cause and the question I was going to ask the company directly to end sales of its DNA products to police in occupied Tibet has been delivered in writing to Thermo Fisher through investor relations,” she said. 

“These shareholders have shared our concerns and urge Thermo Fisher to tell us what human rights reviews they have in place about China’s use of its technology in occupied Tibet. Gaining renewed support from shareholders is a major step in the right direction for our campaign,” she further added. 

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