China says "no" to the commercialization of GE rice?

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Feature Story - 2011-09-25
The Chinese government may be taking a bold new step by halting the commercialization of GE rice. It's a move that we at Greenpeace would widely welcome as the long-term effects of GE products on human health are still unknown.

Rice is a staple food in China.

China's major financial weekly the Economic Observer quoted on Friday, Sept 23rd, 2011, an information source close to the Ministry of Agriculture that China has suspended the commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) rice.

Greenpeace welcomes and supports this move by the government. "This step is a milestone in the process to end all GE rice commercialization in China," said Greenpeace Food and Agriculture campaigner Pan Wenjing.

GE crop's long-term risks on human health and the environmental are still unknown. It has also been found that many of the GE rice lines in China are embedded with non-Chinese patents, which poses a huge risk on China's food security should they become commercialized.

Greenpeace believes that the suspension of GE rice shows that relevant government departments have heard and respected public opinion.

"Rice is the main staple food for 1.3 billion Chinese people. Any decisions related to rice must be taken seriously and must include the people's opinions," said Pan Wenjing.

To protect food safety and food sovereignty, Greenpeace believes that the government should re-assess its GE policy and its massive GE investments, and instead invest more resources into modern ecological agriculture and other effective technologies. The goal should be to speed up the transition of China's agriculture to a sustainable, ecological model, for the sake of protecting the environment, ensuring food safety, and securing the economic livelihood of farmers.

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