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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

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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