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Experts call for limit on DNA testing
By Jiang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-17 22:14

Legal experts are calling for restrictions on DNA tests on parents, bucking a recent social trend that has sprouted due to suspicions of infidelity of spouses.

They argue the tests sometimes cause more harm than good, and can tear at the social fabric of families.

DNA blood tests have been a help to law enforcement, said Li Xuejun, an associate law professor with the prestigious Renmin University of China in Beijing.

On the one hand, such tests allow solving criminal cases easier for judicial and public security departments.

On the other, however, "paternity tests should be treated with prudence, because they may lead to family conflicts," Li said. "And children can become the victims of waning loyalty in marriages."

China's Marriage Law stipulates that children, no matter legitimate or illegitimate, enjoy the same legal rights.

Li points out that many potential problems and risks also exist with the mushrooming numbers of paternity testing companies in recent two years.

"Paternity testing should not only be regarded as a kind of commercial activity," Li said. "Certain restrictions and standards of paternity testing should be set for these companies, as well."

The number of applications of paternity testing is several times higher than in the past, China Central Television quoted Hu Lan, a doctor with the material evidence and appraisal centre at the Ministry of Public Security, as saying recently.

Hu said that most DNA tests done by her centre are entrusted by the judicial departments.

As for civil paternity tests,parents want to prove fidelity within families, Hu said.

More than 90 per cent of suspected philandering parents tested at Hu's centre prove to be legitimate parents of their children.

That means more than 90 per cent are wrongly accused. Such a result could severely hurt the accused parent and child and could shake the foundation of a family, Hu said.

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