The government of China pays close attention to the research, development and commercialization of modern biotechnology. Five departments, including Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), State Forestry Administration and the State Food and Drug Administration, supervise research and development of modern biotechnology.
During the last decades, modern biotechnology developed quickly in China. Until now, there are more than 100 kinds of transgenic plants with insect-resistant, anti-virus and quality-improvement traits. Many transgenic crops, such as cotton, bean, potato, tobacco, maize, peanut, spinach, pimiento and wheat, have come into field trails. Six transgenic crops, such as insect-resistant cotton and anti-virus tomato, have been put into commercialization. Great progress has also been made on the research of transgenic animals and microorganisms. Along with the economic development and the implementation of the national policy for further opening to the world, there will be more and more transgenic organisms to be environmentally released in China.
According to the National Biosafety Framework of China, the policy for biosafety of China contains the following elements:
(1) The overall objective for national biosafety management is to ensure that the risks likely to be caused by modern biotechnology and its products will be minimized and biodiversity, human health and environment will be protected in a maximum way, while promoting research, development and commercialization of modern biotechnology through formulation of policies, regulations and relevant technical guidelines.
(2) The overall principles for national biosafety management consist of the principle of encouraging the research and development of biotechnology, combined with the precautionary approach, prevention as priority, coordination and cooperation between government departments, science-based management, public participation and strengthening the international cooperation on biosafety affairs.
(3) According to different risk levels, different measures such as encouraging, limiting and forbidding the commercialization, sales and use of different types of LMOs and their products, are adopted. The production, sales and consumption of LMOs and their products with low risks are encouraged, while the production of LMOs and their products with high risks are prohibited, to minimize the adverse impacts to biodiversity, human health and environment which likely caused in the process of production, transportation, sales and utilization of LMOs.