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In this Nov. 5, 2017, photo, residents watch a convoy of security personnel and armored vehicles in a show of force through central Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region. Authorities are using detentions in political indoctrination centers and data-driven surveillance to impose a digital police state in the region of Xinjiang and its Uighurs, a 10-million strong, Turkic-speaking Muslim minority Beijing fears could be influenced by extremism. (Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan)

Authorities in China's far-west are collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, eye scans and blood types of millions of people aged 12 to 65, according to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.

Xinjiang, the only Chinese territory apart from Tibet where ethnic Han Chinese are not in the majority, has long been subject to tight controls and surveillance not experienced elsewhere in China.

In April, authorities banned the region's 10 million Muslims from wearing long beards or veils in public, as well as banning home schooling and introducing new restrictions on downloading allegedly extremist materials.

Those new rules came on the heels of a series of steps to increase surveillance in the region that include the surrender of passports and mandatory GPS trackers in cars.

"The mandatory databanking of a whole population's biodata, including DNA, is a gross violation of international human rights norms," Sophie Richardson, China director for HRW, said in a statement.

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