Magazine / January 2012

Better, brighter, GE-free future

Kontau celebrates a hard-fought win.

Kontau celebrates a hard-fought win.

Beijing's skies are uncharacteristically blue and clear, the perfect day, really, to reflect back on a campaign with has endured many storms but is, for at least the next 5-10 years, forecast for sunny days.

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Isabelle Meister, Food and Agriculture Campaigner

For Kontau, this long-running campaign taught him that, "moments of crisis are really moments of opportunity - and you either lose or win big time." 

And the happy ending to China's GE rice story has taught Isabelle the value of perseverance. "Even when almost everyone is telling you that you're powerless, never give up". 

UPDATE (22/02/2012):  And the good news keep on coming. The State Council has released the draft proposal of a grain law that establishes legislation restricting research, field trials, production, sale, import and export of genetically engineered grain seeds. The draft stipulates that no organization or person can employ GE technology in any major food product in China. "This is actually the first initiative that deals with GE food legislation at state law level," said Fang Lifeng, our Food and Agriculture campaigner.

Continue reading: China drafts legal proposal to completely shut down GE rice.


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. "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 Food and Agriculture campaigner 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.