Cotton warns that China may try to collect DNA from athletes during Olympics
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"In 2022, thousands of world-class athletes will gather to compete in China," the Republican wrote in an email obtained by Fox News. "Their DNA will present an irresistible target for the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]. Thus, we should expect that the Chinese government will attempt to collect genetic samples of Olympians at the Games, perhaps disguised as testing for illegal drugs or COVID-19."
The senator wrote that the CCP considers DNA collection as a "vital intelligence-gathering objective." He cited the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center that said China considers genomic data as a "strategic commodity."
Cotton wrote that the CCP "reportedly conducted tests to develop biologically-enhanced soldiers and intends to use DNA data to catapult" its biotech companies to "market dominance."
The Hill reported that Cotton, who was on the Senate floor Tuesday, called for the U.S. to boycott the Olympics unless the "safety, security and privacy of our athletes" is assured.
The magazine Nature reported in July that China is attempting to collect DNA from Chinese men in an effort to solve crimes, but privacy advocates have raised alarm.
Mechthild Prinz, a forensic geneticist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, told the magazine, "This is really unique. No other country is doing it. They just go and get people that are regular citizens. It is very heavy-handed"