A rights group says China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass collection of DNA from residents of a restive region with a large Muslim population.
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Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that police in western China's Xinjiang region have sought more than $11.5 million in equipment to analyze DNA samples. Maya Wang, a researcher for the group, said the move opens the door to the mass collection of information on people unconnected to criminal investigations.
Xinjiang has seen a wave of deadly attacks in recent years blamed on Muslim separatists from the region's native Uighur ethnic group.
As part of a broader security crackdown, authorities last year reportedly required Xinjiang residents to submit DNA samples, fingerprints and voice records to obtain passports or travel abroad.