The Emergence of Modern Biotechnology in China

Shaheen Lakhan
InSITE 2006  •  Volume 6  •  2006
Science and technology of Republican China (1912-1949) often replicated the West in all hierarchies. However, in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) declared the nation the People's Republic of China, it had assumed Soviet pseudo-science, namely neo-Lamarckian and anti-Mendelian Lysenkoism, which led to intense propaganda campaigns that victimized intellectuals and natural scientists. Not until the 1956 Double Hundred Campaign had China engaging in meaningful exploration into modern genetics with advancements of Morgan. The CCP encouraged discussions on the impact of Lysenkoism which cultivated guidelines to move science forward. However, Mao ended the campaign by asserting the Anti-Rightist Movement (1957) that reinstated the persecution of intellectuals, for he believed they did not contribute to his socialist ethos of the working people. The Great Leap Forward (1958-1959), an idealist and unrealistic attempt to rapidly industrialize the nation, and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a grand attempt to rid China of the "technological elite," extended China's lost years to a staggering two decades. Post-Mao China rapidly revived its science and technology frontier with specialized sciences: agricultural biotechnology, major genomic ventures, modernizing Traditional Chinese Medicine, and stem-cell research. Major revisions to the country’s patent laws increased international interest in China’s resources. However, bioethical and technical standards still need to be implemented and locally and nationally monitored if China’s scientific advances are to be globally accepted and commercialized.
history, stem cell, bioethics, agriculture, intellectual property, Lysenkoism
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