China: Concurring Regulation of Cross-border Genomic Data Sharing for Statist Control and Individual Protection

Co-authors: Dr. Yongxi Clement Chen & Lingqiao Song

Published online, 16 July 2018

Abstract: This paper reviews the major legal instruments and self-regulations that bear heavily on the cross-border sharing of genomic data in China. It first maps out three overlapping frameworks on genomic data and analyzes their underpinning policy goals. Subsequent sections examine the regulatory approaches with respect to five aspects of responsible use and sharing of genomic data, namely, consent, privacy, security, compatible processing, and oversight. It argues that substantial centralised control exerted by the state is, and would probably remain, the dominant feature of genomic data governance in China, though concerns of individual protection are gaining momentum. Rather than revolving around a simplistic antinomy between privacy preservation and open science, the regulatory landscape is mainly shaped by the tension between government desires for national security, state competitiveness, and public health benefits.

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