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Unfounded fears about GMO crops stunts China advancement

| | November 13, 2014

Mark Lynas, journalist and environmentalist, says unfounded fears about genetically modified crops prevent China from making full use of science to advance its development:

There are many important debates about China’s future direction, but the central role of science in decision-making should not be one of them. Chinese society is broadly pro-science and Communist Party policy officially recognises scientific innovation as a driver of sustainable growth. In spite of this, science is often under attack in China, especially with regard to genetically modified crops.

The newspapers, airwaves and blogosphere are full of myths and conspiracy theories about genetically modified organisms (GMOs): that they cause cancer, are somehow poisonous or, most ludicrous of all, are a Western plot to render Chinese people infertile. You don’t even need a scientist to tell you that none of this nonsense is true.

Yet these myths continue to proliferate on Weibo and in the media, and are damaging the future of Chinese agriculture by holding back progress in a whole sector – crop biotechnology – that is critical for China’s development.

China should not be held back by the scaremongering about new technologies. We need GMOs to make agriculture more productive and environmentally sustainable. China has a choice: to take the dark path of bogus fears or the path of progress lit by science.

Read full, original articleChina must cast aside irrational fears about GM crops

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