BOSTON (BLOOMBERG) – The scientist who shocked the world with allegations that he was the first to genetically modified human embryos promptly supported the Chinese government's initiative to build the country's growing biotechnology industry.
Researcher Han Jiankui, who said he edited the twin girls' genes to protect them from HIV, had participated in a program designed to utilize the education of Chinese citizens at Western universities.
In addition, a company that he founded had received state aid. It is not known how much he tried to cost or how they were paid for.
Although it is not uncommon for researchers to connect with state programs in China, government officials have tried to renounce him after extensive condemnation from other scientists.
A Chinese official said on Tuesday, November 27, that the country banned redevelopment for fertility purposes in 2003. In the United States and Europe, genetic editing of human embryos is blocked.
The news came at a sensitive time in Chinese and American relations, with US President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping days away from a crucial trade meeting.
China's efforts to nurture domestic innovation have chafed US officials, who have warned for their talent recruitment programs and other support for rivals to key engines in the US economy.
The unbroken controversy about his research could increase the fight against global technical dominance between the world's two largest economies.
Thousands of talents
The "Thousands Talents" initiative was designed to attract foreign educated researchers back to China to fulfill Beijing's wider desire to become a global leader in high technology areas. He, who received his PhD from Rice University in Houston and did doctoral research at Stanford University, returned to China in 2012 and participated in thousands of talents.
Participants in the Advanced Skills program will receive approximately $ 143,000 (S $ 197,000), with the possibility of additional research grants of approximately US $ 700,000, according to the website. They must work in China for more than nine months a year for three consecutive years. It was not immediately clear how much money he received.
After his return to China, he also founded a start called Direct Genomics that makes a type of DNA sequencing machine. It also received state funding, according to the company's website.
Representatives of Direct Genomics and his laboratory did not respond immediately to e-mail requests for comments.
China's biotechnology industry, which is well behind the United States in terms of authorized drugs and global market power, has been one of the recipients of Beijing's generous funding policy and recruitment efforts. A recent review of legislation has also made it much easier to get drugs on the market in China.
Scientists in China have also become adept at using Crispr, the rejuvenation technology. He has reportedly used to change human embryos. It has many potential applications from agriculture to basic medical research. China is "particularly competitive" in Crispr, said a November report from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which oversees national security risks arising from trade with China. The panel's report highlighted Crispr's potential applications in agriculture.
Washington Alerts China has not made any secret of its ambitions to become a technological super force in the 21st century. Its "Made in China 2025" block outlines its plans to become a global player in artificial intelligence, robotics and biomedical research, among other things.
These ambitions have suspended alarms in Washington. Last week, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a report that accused China of shutting down its targets while continuing to steal US intellectual property. The report marked the record of Chinese venture capital investments in the US biotechnology industry.
However, biotech transactions with Chinese investors are likely to face greater scrutiny. In October, the United States Foreign Investment Committee announced a pilot program through which the Agency could monitor minority investments of foreign entities in some key US industries, including biotechnology.