China's Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the database, has amassed information for more than 40 million people—the country says it has the world's biggest database of DNA information (link in Chinese)—as of 2015, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Monday (May 15). For comparison, in the US, the FBI's national DNA index has 12.7 million offender profiles.
"Mass DNA collection by the powerful Chinese police absent effective privacy protections or an independent judicial system is a perfect storm for abuses,"said Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW. "China is moving its Orwellian system to the genetic level."
The rights group warned that local police have enormous discretion in whom to collect this data from, and there's little in the way of privacy protection or oversight. China's public security ministry didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.