One of China’s major genetically modified food projects is now to all intents and purposes dead and buried. The expiry on August 17 of the biosafety certificates issued to strains of GM rice developed in the labs of Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, signals a major blow to the fight to establish GM food in China.
For more than two decades, with government support, Chinese scientists have been frontrunners in researching and developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The country has become a global leader in agro-biotechnology, driven by the inescapable need to feed a population of 1.3 billion and by a concomitant determination to increase yields, improve nutrition, ensure food security and tackle the problems caused by pests, diseases and pollution.
Now, the head start it enjoyed over many nations has been eroded. Where once there was significant momentum, progress is slowing to an agonised crawl. … In the eyes of its Chinese opponents – whose ranks include Major General Peng Guangqian, who also happens to be deputy secretary general of the National Security Policy Committee – GM food is not merely a cause of cancer and a source of infertility. It is also a grand Western scheme. It is a monumental, supremely devious plot to annihilate the Chinese and other people of colour. It has been created by Monsanto, an American firm, with the backing of the Pentagon and leading private foundations in the US, to control the global food chain.
Government support for GM food is dwindling fast, and it seems safe to say that the opportunity to commercialise GM rice – and with it the chance to help address some of China’s most urgent problems – is all but gone.
Read full original article: China’s fight to feed itself is hindered by anti-GMO paranoia