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Is biotechnology China’s future?

Since the 1980s, China’s government has heavily supported research in biotechnology, including the development of high-yielding, insect- and drought-resistant plant varieties that potentially could allow farmers to produce more food from China’s limited land area. However, China now seems to be taking a cautious approach to biotechnology.

Genetically modified (GM) varieties of most of China’s major crops have been developed, but only a few have been approved for commercial use. The long delay in publishing final biotechnology regulations in 2001 and the lack of details in those regulations suggest that China's policy-makers are still debating the issue.

This paper gives a clear and concise summary of the current state of biotechnology research and application in China, the level of consumer acceptance of GM crops, and the regulatory environment that policy-makers are working within.