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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

Bernie Madoff dies in prison at 82

Photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bernie Madoff, a former investor sentenced to 150 years in prison for perpetrating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, died Wednesday at age 82, AP reports.

The big picture: Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to a multibillion-dollar scheme that investigators said began in the 1970s and defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries — including high-profile victims like Steven Spielberg, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and actor Kevin Bacon, according to CNBC.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - World

John Kerry and China's long road ahead on climate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brian Snyder/AFP via Getty Images

Yes, special climate envoy John Kerry's really in China and no, don't look for a huge breakthrough between the world's two largest carbon-emitting nations.

Driving the news: The State Department yesterday announced Kerry's visit this week, confirming plans that began emerging Saturday.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Coinbase president Emilie Choi on mainstreaming crypto

Coinbase plans to go public on Wednesday, in a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency industry.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Coinbase president and COO Emilie Choi about how she thinks about crypto, why Coinbase eschewed a traditional IPO and if we’re ever going to use bitcoin to buy a cup of coffee.

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