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【Top 10 CSR Events in China】No.7 “Genetically edited babies” triggers legal and ethical controversy

2019-01-08China WTO Tribuneadmin0010

Since 2006, China WTO Tribune has set up annual columns of the top 10 CSR events for 13 years. China WTO Tribune presents you the Top 10 CSR Events in China in 2018.
No.7  “Genetically edited babies” triggers legal and ethical controversy
On November 26, He Jiankui, a researcher from Shenzhen, claimed that genetically edited babies, twin girls were born “healthily” in China. This caused much controversy over the law and ethics in the academic and social circles. More than 100 scientists even issued a joint statement saying that they "resolutely oppose and strongly condemn" the actions.
On November 29, the National Health Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the China Association for Science and Technology stated that, the nature of the incident is extremely serious, relevant organizations have been required to suspend the scientific research of relevant personnel, and they will resolutely investigate and punish the illegal behaviors.
Reason for listing:
The significance of science lies in bringing out its good rather than bad side. The bottom line of science forbids challenging the margin of humanity and ethics, which are the self-love of science and the responsibility of technology.
We are speeding up our encounters with the most unknown topics of this era, and there are frequent occurrences of scientific research that crossed the ethical and moral boundaries. The incident of “genetically edited babies” is more like a wake-up call: scientific research institutions, technical organizations and researchers should respect life and responsibility, and the corresponding legislative preparation and legal requirements should also keep up with the era and fill the gaps in the unknown fields urgently. The incident also is a serious warning to society that any “act first and report afterwards” behavior with feasibility but without rationality will be irresponsible, controversial and self-destructive.
Genome editing may not yet be in full bloom. However, the multiple public opinion changes before and after the incident indicate that more and more people, including the media, need to participate in the discussion of science popularization to understand science and ethics so as to better protect the pure land in the frontier field of science.

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