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Biotech China

China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-on-my-plate dept.
sciencehabit writes China's Ministry of Agriculture has decided not to renew biosafety certificates that allowed research groups to grow genetically modified (GM) rice and corn. The permits, to grow two varieties of GM rice and one transgenic corn strain, expired on 17 August. The reasoning behind the move is not clear, and it has raised questions about the future of related research in China.
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China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

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  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NFN_NLN (633283) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @12:28AM (#47718001)

    Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

    I would like to know their official justification.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @12:45AM (#47718071)

    Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

    Except in those cases those things were done in violation of the law. The issue was that it wasn't being enforced, not that it was legal. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that I want to know both the "official" and the actual reasons. Oddly, the permits that are being denied are for Bt rice and phytase corn, but they continue to support Bt corn, so environment or food safety doesn't seem like it would be an actual reason, although it could be the "official" reason. A more likely scenario is politics and lobbying (or whatever the Chinese version of lobbying is, they probably just call it bribery).

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday August 21, 2014 @01:33AM (#47718239) Homepage Journal

    Sigh.
    There are many GMOs that do different things. People always talk about herbicides resistant because it sound scary. oooOOOooohhh.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @04:10AM (#47718647)

    Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

    I would like to know their official justification.

    China - the country as a whole or its government - can not be held responsible for crimes committed by private companies or individuals. In fact, these things happened because there was not enough governmental oversight - IOW too much freedom, rather than too little. This is what used to happen in the West, when companies were similarly unrestrained by legislation; things like adding chalk to bread and water to milk. Regulation is not all bad.

    As for their official justification, they don't owe us any, but it seems likely that they are worried about the behaviour of the GM companies. Although GM holds huge potential in terms of nutrition, there are many things that give cause for concern: patented genes that spread to neighboring fields, genes that provide restitence to weed-killers spreading to wild species, modifications that hinder the production of viable seeds, so the farmers have to buy new GM seed from the producers rather than growing part of their harvest on next year, etc etc. I'm sure GM would be welcome in most countries if it was not for the companies producing them.

    Another thing is that the Chinese are fully capable of developing or buying the technology themselves - so why should they allow in American companies that are only intent on siphoning off as much profit as possible to their share holders?

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:49AM (#47719153)

    I don't read Chinese anymore, but I can tell you with certainty that deliberate mass homocide is a capital offense in China and was before the incident in question. They were not simply trumped up and executed by decree.

    China enforcing their own laws is the very opposite of corruption. There is a huge amount of corruption and lawlessness in China, and the CPC admits as much and recognises it as a problem in need of a solution (most of the corruption is at local levels of government and in private companies). They probably aren't as quick to admit that there is a problem of corruption within the CPC, while that may also be true.

    The OPs nonsensical post implied that criminals, working for a private corporation deliberately causing mass poisoning, mass homocide, and subsequently being arrested, tried, convicted and executed is somehow evidence that the Chinese government is corrupt and puts melamine in milk, and therefore must have some sinister reason for not renewing the license to grow genetically modified rice and corn.

  • Re:Applaude (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Archtech (159117) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:01AM (#47719549)

    No, actually: not in the least bit like any of those. Like grafting in genes from entirely different species, without the slightest idea (or any way of finding out) what the effects will be in the long term.

    But that doesn't matter, does it? To those whose only reality is profit, there is no future beyond the current quarter.

  • Re:Applaude (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:37AM (#47719821)

    Right on schedule the moving goalpost away from 'genetically changing a plant is bad' to 'the way I don't like is different therefore bad'. If you note, you'll see that everything I mentioned are actually all quite different. Various types of somatic and induced mutations, selective breeding, biotech facilitate wide crossing/embryo rescue, artificial chromosome alteration...very different from genetic engineering, where a single well known gene is inserted. Why not lump genetic engineering in with everything else and select the chromosomal duplication to be the pariah? After all, that is also an entirely different thing, which I don't think is particularly meaningful, but means about as much as your argument. What I personally do is both more and less extreme than transgenics, depending on how you want to view it. The lumping of everything as 'conventional breeding' to make a dichotomy between it and genetic engineering is a very simplistic view.

    without the slightest idea (or any way of finding out) what the effects will be in the long term.

    Fallacy number two, the straw man. Do you really think the scientific community, which overwhelmingly supports GE crops (don't even try to deny this), does not pause to consider such things? Perhaps you could explain your long term fears in less vague terms?

    But that doesn't matter, does it? To those whose only reality is profit, there is no future beyond the current quarter.

    Sorry, the corporate card has no bearing on scientific topics. Save it for politics.

  • by sillybilly (668960) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:14AM (#47720779)

    The Chinese government remembers the opium wars, and exploitation of China over profits, and disregard for their welfare in it. What do you think would happen with GMO plants that you don't own, and not only in the intellectual property sense, where it could be pirated, but you don't own it because it's not fertile seed, and you have to keep going back to the original manufacturer for a survival, after he successfully convinced you to get rid of all seeds able to produce fertile seeds themselves, so you no longer have a means to go back to them if seed prices go up, by, mm, say 10 million times of their present cost? And that price is not an overstatement, there is a huge amount of money to be made blackmailing the whole world's population over their stomachs. Everybody has to eat, no matter what the price, therefore the price, in absence of excess supply, which of course would be artificially created by withholding GMO seeds, tends to infinity. To withhold GMO seeds all you have to do is create artificial catastrophies around the available funds of seeds, and lose much of the supply like that. Supply/demand, with a hard demand, is a really easy way to make money if you can cut the supply hard and fast. But only after the alternatives to run to, such as traditional fertile seeds have been abandoned, and it's not possible to have them as an option.

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