With DNA increasingly seen as a valuable natural resource like oil or land, China is keen to protect its people’s genes – to the alarm of some scientists who fear the loss of international collaboration.

The initial 2019 regulations forbade foreign entities from collecting Chinese genetic material or providing that material abroad, largely to prevent them from using it for “typical commercial purposes” such as genomic sequencing services, Wang said.

Though research collaborations like clinical studies are still allowed, they face much tighter scrutiny, with “foreign parties” and their Chinese partners required to notify the authorities and receive governmental approval – with the new regulations including additional details on this process and stipulations for mandatory security reviews in certain circumstances.

Does countries other than China protect genetic data from access by other countries? I thought genetic data was public domain, or at least not protected as much as China protect it, preventing other countries from accessing its data. Isn't scientific cooperation the standard? If not, which other countries protect genetic data like China and which countries don't?

1 Answer 1


has the GenDG, genetic diagnostics law, which prescribes what may or may not be done with genetic data. Outside law enforcement, this generally requires the informed and specific consent of the patient.

has a project to sequence the genome of much of the population.

  • Is there a yes or no here to "Do countries other than China protect genetic data from access by other countries?" As written it seems to be more of an informative comment than an answer, but maybe I'm missing something.
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 15:33
  • 1
    @uhoh, no country other than China will have exactly Chinese laws. Here I gave two samples with different policies, as per the last question of the test. If you expect a classification of all 180 countries on Earth, I will have to disappoint you.
    – o.m.
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 16:22
  • Ok that's certainly true, but do the examples show that data protection is against other countries? That can certainly have a yes or no answer. I think this is basically a "here's some links; read them and decide for your self" link-only answer. The question asks about protecting data from another country, not simply if data protection protocols exist outside of China. If "protect from another country" is addressed in those links, it's appropriate to explain how and where possible to include a short block quote as example.
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 22:18

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