Uneven regulations and a skeptical public stall the commercialization of GM foods in China

When China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) released a list of 192 genetically modified (GM) food strains awaiting biosafety certification in December last year, the reaction was predictably hostile.

“Reject GM food!” read a comment on microblog platform Weibo, with nearly 5,000 “likes.” “GMO agriculture in China must be totally prohibited!” read another. And finally, “Ban GM crops from entering China’s territory! We must be healthy! We love our land!”

Despite over 30 years of government support for GM research, Chinese consumers have never fully embraced the idea of eating genetically altered food. In recent years, opposition has remained stubbornly high—a 2018 study of over 2,000 consumers found just 11.9 percent were supportive of GM food.

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author Sam Davies

Sam Davies is the deputy managing editor at The World of Chinese. He writes mainly about society, sport, and culture, with his pieces touching on diverse topics from the future of China’s ski industry to efforts to prevent juvenile crime.

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