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GE - "Stop developing GM crops!!" - Korean Protest

"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 environment.
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 
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 
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 into force.
They also demanded: 
4) Establishment of an independent institution to organize 
democratic debates on the health, ecological, societal and ethical 
consequences of Genetic Engineering. 
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 
Please express solidarity by sending protest messages to the following 

You can write a protest letter at Korean government (Chongwadae) 
Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry ( 
>X-Authentication-Warning: petidomo set sender to using -f 
>Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 19:56:56 +0900 (KST) 
>From: <> 
>Subject: PICIS Newsletter No.52(Sorry for delay)