The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that at least 86 Chinese patients have had their DNA altered since 2015 using a gene-editing technology that was developed in the United States, but where more stringent restrictions on human trials have delayed testing.
- The technology, known as Crispr-Cas9, was first identified as being capable of editing DNA in 2012. The University of Pennsylvania has been trying for years to launch a trial.
- Anhui Kedgene Biotechnology Co., a Chinese startup, took the lead in Crispr trials by collaborating with a military hospital in 2015, and has since worked with other hospitals.
- One Chinese doctor, Wu Shixiu, obtained approval for a cancer trial from his hospital in one afternoon, with no involvement from national regulators, according to the WSJ. “China shouldn’t have been the first one to do it,” says Dr. Wu. “But there are fewer restrictions.”
- Western researchers are concerned about the ethical implications of China’s use of the tool, due to limited requirements for disclosures and reporting, and that missteps “could set back the field for everyone.”
- Cashing in on censorship
China’s VPN crackdown is about money as much as censorship / FT (paywall)
Reacting to the latest crackdown on tools used to bypass the Great Firewall, Lucy Hornby argues that “Censorship aside, the move is a classic case of rent-seeking by a regulator eager for the licence fees that come from forcing everyone to use favoured companies — in this case the telecoms triopoly and the dozen or so companies authorised to sell VPNs.”
- Electric vehicles
China’s biggest electric-car maker to list in $4.5 billion deal / Bloomberg
- Real estate speculation
Real estate loans slow in 2017 / Caixin
China’s housing market is like a casino. Can a property tax tame it? / NYT (paywall)
- Financial risk clampdown
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank fined $72 million for illegal loans / Caixin
- Environmental regulation
China draws up new ‘special’ emission curbs on industries / Reuters
- Latin America
China invites Latin America to take part in One Belt, One Road / Reuters