A third postcard from China: fascinated by biotechnology, but cautious

Contrary to much reporting in the West, China is having to pay attention to public concerns about biotechnology, says Zhao Zhizen, TV science broadcaster.

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)
Jul 13, 2000

It's been a long time since we Chinese remained content with whatever we could stuff into our stomachs to assuage our hunger. People are becoming picky and choosy. Apart from being particular about a balanced diet, many people are beginning to seek 'natural' food. Already, small eggs laid by locally fed 'native chickens' are more valuable than big ones laid by 'alien chickens'; and wild soft-shelled turtles and crabs are more costly than artificially bred ones.

In other words, Mother nature is preferred to science. So, inevitably transgenic foods are meeting with consumer doubt, fear and even resistance. Fears about mad cow disease and other perceived threats are discussed at the dining table and in the tea-house.

In the media we've seen not only straight science reporting but also scare stories just like those in the West. For example there was widespread reporting of experiments at Cornell University in which...

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