2-Plants: Korean Protest "Stop developing GM crops!!"
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- Subject: 2-Plants: Korean Protest "Stop developing GM crops!!"
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- Date: Wed, 17 Mar 99 09:57:54 -0000
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"Stop developing GM crops!!" - Korean Protest
Korean students and environmental activists today organized a direct
action against the irresponsible use of GM (genetically-modified)
technology, at the center of Korean agricultural biotechnology - the
National Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (NIAST).
NIAST, funded by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF),
proclaims itself to be the key research institute responsible for the
development of sustainable agricultural technologies that are
environment-friendly. However, it was revealed last year that NIAST had
secretly carried out the field trials of GM crops even though Korea did
not have any legislations regarding the release of GMOs into the
On February this year, the Rural Development Administration (RDA)
announced that NIAST developed eight different GM crops, including Rice,
Cayenne, Chinese cabbage, Tobacco, and Tomato. According to the RDA,
these GM crops will be put on market by 2001. And yet, the Korean
government keeps silent about the issues of biosafety and bioethics.
The action started at 11 a.m. when about ten students and activists
occupied and blockaded the greenhouse at the NIAST, where the field
trials of GM crops were being conducted. They placed a big banner with
the "X" symbol over the greenhouse, and chained themselves to its
entrance. Other activists demonstrated outside the greenhouse with
placards raised, which read "No Genetic Engineering".
"Koreans are shaken by the fact that the government allows the field
trials of GM crops while it does not even have a legislation or agency to
monitor and regulate the experiments," said one participant. "Genetic
engineering is good for the economy, they say. But can this be a good
excuse for ignoring the environment, public health and ethical
considerations?" "We're here today to let the government and those
researchers involved know how the public feels about their incompetence,
arrogance, and lack of responsibility."
The students and activists called for:
1) Immediate ban on the release of GMOs into the environment (including
GM foods and field trials)
2) Immediate ban on the import of GM crops and foods
3) Moratorium on agricultural R&Ds using GM technology until strict
legislations regarding biosafety and bioethics have been enacted and come
They also demanded:
4) Establishment of an independent institution to organize democratic
debates on the health, ecological, societal and ethical consequences of
5) Democratic participation in the regulatory decision-making.
The action wasstopped around 3 p.m. when the police intervened to break
the protest. Some of the activists and students were arrested and were
released after being held for 3 hours.
We need your support!!
A rapid growth of genetic engineering in Korea is not just the problem of
Korean people. It reflects the New World Order of neo-liberalism, in
which the transnational corporations use genetic engineering to further
monopolize world food production, and we, global citizens, are subject to
an increasing industrialization and contamination of the food supply.
Only by campaigning together on an international basis, we can stop the
inappropriate and irresponsible use of biotechnology before it causes
havoc on the environment, the food chain, public health, and the survival
of rural and traditional communities.
Please express solidarity by sending protest messages to the following
You can write a protest letter at Korean government (Chongwadae) website
or Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
-| Hartmut Meyer
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax : #49-551-7701672
-| email: email@example.com