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A Uighur woman holds the Chinese flag. Photo: Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The New York Times reports that experts from the U.S. played a role in the Chinese government's use of DNA samples to keep tabs on its Uighur population — the largely Muslim ethnic group whose members the government has also forced into camps.

The big picture, per the NYT: Almost 36 million people took part in a DNA testing program in Xinjiang, the part of China where the government's campaign against Uighurs is most pronounced. Many Uighurs were coerced into giving the samples.

An American company, Thermo Fisher, supplied the equipment the Chinese government used to conduct the testing, per the Times. Those tests weren't used for health screenings, as advertised, but as part of an effort to keep track of the ethnic minority population.

  • China accounted for 10% of the company's business in 2017, and American officials have criticized the company previously for its willingness to sell China equipment that could be used for tracking and monitoring.
  • Thermo Fisher said this week that it would stop selling equipment in Xinjiang, but not the rest of China.
  • China also relied on DNA samples from Yale geneticist Kenneth Kidd to help perfect its technology and prove that it could effectively use DNA to identify Uighurs.
  • Kidd told the NYT he didn't know that had happened, and that he was "not particularly happy" with the way his data had been used.

Go deeper: Uighur detentions in China get global attention

Go deeper

29 mins ago - Health

Simone Biles' exit brings global attention to mental health

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Simone Biles' withdrawal from Olympics gymnastics events generated significant public interest in mental health, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: The Tokyo Games offered the ultimate platform for the topic to get global attention, with much of the world watching the same story.

Debt investors retreat from funding dirty energy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Banks are coming under fire from all sides for their role in funding fossil fuel companies, even though most have pledged to pull back over the coming decades.

What's happening: Despite pressure from activists, shareholders and Democratic politicians to finally divest from carbon-spewing businesses as the planet warms, the biggest American banks are still energetically backing dirty energy.

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 12 highlights

Team USAs Sydney McLaughlin in front of the timer after winning the 400m hurdles in record time at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Day 12 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw American Sydney McLaughlin break her own world record to win gold in the women's 400-meter hurdles final on Wednesday.

Of note: Japan won a third Olympic skateboarding gold, as two teenagers and a 12-year-old swept the podium for the inaugural women's park skateboarding event.

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