Scientists debunked Sunday many rumors about health that have spread in China this year, including that Americans do not eat GM foods and that carbonated water prevents cancer, the Beijing Youth Daily reported Tuesday. The top 10 science rumor list that was released by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) also rejected claims that milk should never be drunk on an empty stomach and that instant noodles cannot be digested for 24 hours…Full Article: The Global Times Jan 2017

Key Point

  • In November 2016, China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced it would permit experimental GM crop cultivation on the southern portion of Hainan Island (i.e. Sanya, Lingshui, and Ledong).

ChinaAg Comments

  • In December 2016, Heilongjiang Province passed a regulation to ban GM crop cultivation (slated to take effect in May 2017).
  • In October 2016, a survey in Heilongjiang Province reportedly showed that 91.5% of respondents were against genetically modified crops.
  • In September 2016, officials in Jingbian County, Shaanxi Province, destroyed 3,638 mu [~242 hectares] of GM corn crops. A local seed broker in Jingbian County (Shaanxi) had been accused of knowingly selling US$15,000 worth of GM corn seed to farmers. In 2016 alone, the broker stated he sold more than 10,000 GM corn seeds in Jingbian County, while more than 500 mu [~33 hectares] of GM corn was planted in neighboring Inner Mongolia Region. The broker’s GM corn plot in Inner Mongolia produced more than 100 MTs of corn. The broker also sold GM corn to China’s northeastern regions [likely the Provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang].
  • In May 2016, officials in Xinjiang Region uprooted and destroyed 2,000 acres [~809 hectares] of GM corn crops and fined the offending company approximately CNY 10,000 (~US$1,500).
  • In April 2016, Ministry of Agriculture’s Director of the Department of Science, Technology and Education stated that China will institute a “three-step” approval process for GM seed adoption. The first step involves approving non-edible crops (e.g. cotton), followed by processed/animal feed crops (e.g. corn), and lastly staple crops. The emphasis is that GM corn seed would be the first staple/animal feed crop approved for cultivation.
  • In January 2016, GM corn cultivation was reportedly occurring on a large scale in Liaoning Province.
  • In September 2015, soybean farmers near the city of Suihua, west-central Heilongjiang Province, were found growing GM soybeans. Heilongjiang Province is China’s largest soybean grower, accounting for 2.5 million ha or 27% of the country’s total sown area in 2013. This was a stark decline from the 4 million ha that was sown in 2009, a sign that Heilongjiang soybean farmers are becoming less competitive with cheaper foreign imports.
  • In December 2013, farmers in Hunan Province planted smuggled GM corn seed that was procured from a seed company in Guangdong Province. The seed company admitted smuggling more than 50 MTs of Monsanto (US) and Syngenta (Swiss) GM corn seed during the past decade via tourist couriers and import bribes. During the same month, Hainan government officials discovered and subsequently destroyed illegal GM corn trials that were taking place on the island.
  • In August 2009, China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) issued safety certificates for the university’s two GM rice varieties (Shanyou 63 and Huahui-1/TT51-1) in Hubei Province and for Origin Agritech’s GM corn variety (BVLA430101) in Shandong Province.

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