NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

China Embraces Gene-Altered Foods

March 6, 2000

Within the next five to 10 years, half of China's fields will be planted with genetically-modified (GM) rice, potatoes and other crops, Chen Zhangliang, vice president of Beijing University told an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference meeting in Scotland recently.

"In China, the push for GM products is unstoppable," he said. This stands in contrast to Europe's hostility to GM foods and the crusades of U.S. environmental interests against them.

  • China has 23 percent of the world's population but only 7 percent of its arable lands.
  • That country has embraced GM technology because it will allow for higher yields with less dependency on fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Also, gene-splicing technology can create crops that can grow on land that could not otherwise be cultivated because it is too dry.
  • Conference participants generally agreed that hundreds of millions of people in the U.S., China and other parts of the world have consumed GM foods over the past 10 years without any apparent ill effects.

Accordingly, the conference called for improved and continued testing of GM varieties, as well as long-term monitoring of people who consume them.

Source: Veronique Mistiaen, "China Has Appetite for Gene-Altered Food," Washington Times, March 5, 2000.


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