China mulls regulating human gene, embryo-related studies in personality legislation

BEIJING, April 20 (Xinhua) - China is considering regulating studies related to human genes or embryos in the draft section of personality rights of the civil code, which was submitted to the top legislature for review Saturday.


(File photo)

Those who conduct medical or scientific studies related to human genes or embryos shall abide by laws, administrative rules and relevant regulations, the draft says, adding that people's health should not be harmed, nor ethical and moral standards violated.

The move marks the first time China has made a fundamental regulation concerning such issues in civil legislation.

The clause was added to the draft section of personality rights of the civil code for its second reading at the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which is in its bimonthly session.

Wang Liming, a law professor at Renmin University of China, said the legislation was necessary for the healthy and orderly development of research under the guidance of science and ethics.

The draft also strengthens protection for those taking part in clinical trials for the research of new drugs, medical equipment and treatments.

Approval must be secured from both administrative authorities and ethical committees, the draft says, adding that participants or their custodians must be informed with written agreement, of the trial purpose, application and risks.

"Humans can not be reduced to guinea pigs," said Meng Qiang, a law professor at Beijing Institute of Technology. "Strict procedure and especially the approval from the ethical committee is very important."

On personal rights, the draft stipulates that no organization or individual should use information technology to infringe upon others' image through forging. This also applies to authorized use of other personal rights and the protection of a person's voice.

"This technology can easily be misused," Meng said. "Addressing the issue, this piece of fundamental civil legislation demonstrates its attitude of protecting citizens."