The Newsletter 52 Winter 2009

Human subjects in Chinese ethnic biobanks

Jan-Eerik Leppanen

China’s ethnic minorities – minzu people – are intensively marketed as torchbearers of the country’s human diversity. Yunnan has been designated as the exemplary province of biodiversity and human diversity alike. Tourist images of ‘pure’ and ‘unspoiled’ indigenous peoples are iconised in the state category of 55 nationality groupings. The imagery of colourful ethnic minorities in traditional dress, perceived as different from the rest of the society, has been adapted in the medical institutes of Yunnan to research activities regarding human variation.

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