From now on, all China's military supply stations are only allowed to purchase non-GMO grain and food oil products.

The move follows the publication of an article by Mi Zhen-yu, Former Vice President of China's Academy of Military Science, warning of the health hazards of GM soy to the Chinese people.

There's more about that story in item 2 below.

1. China's army has ordered: No GMO staple food and GMO food oil should enter army food supply
2. Claims that US soybeans cause infertility stoke China’s GMO battle
1. China's army has ordered: No GMO staple food and GMO food oil should enter army food supply
Chen I-wan
Advisor Chen I-wan Blog, 14 May 2014

The Hubei province is one of provinces repeatedly reported with illegally grown GMO rice. The Hubei Province Xiangyang City Grain Bureau's website has accordingly announced on May 6, 2014:

"During recent years, as China's grain and oil market has continuously developed, certain GMO grain and GMO food oil products have entered the market. In view that the safety concerns about GMO grain and oil products in China at present have not yet been determined, in order to overall assure the health of military members residing in our city and safety of their drinks and food, in accordance to the request from the Guangzhou Military Command Joint Logistics Department and the Provincial Military Grain & Food Oil Supply Center, from this date all military supply stations are allowed to only purchase non-GMO grain and food oil products from the designated processing enterprises. It is forbidden to supply GMO grain and food oil products to military units within their administration areas."

Advisor Chen I-wan (a senior official with the China Association for Disaster Prevention) comments:

"The army has established [an] excellent model for people of the whole nation: No GMO staple food and GMO food oil should enter army food supply! All education bureaus and department, all canteens of primary and middle schools and universities, what should they do?

"The standard established by the State Food & Drug Administration Bureau for infant formula powder allowing to add chemical extracted GM soybean oil and GM soybean protein powder, what should they do?

"Must also emphasize, banning GM food oil is not enough, must also ban all chemical extracted food oil also causing serious harm to human health!"
2. Claims that US soybeans cause infertility stoke China’s GMO battle
Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall St Journal, 14 May 2014

* If there’s any wonder why China is taking it slow with genetically modified food, two separate developments this week will tell you why.

That’s not good enough, Lieutenant General Mi Zhenyu, former deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Military Science, wrote last month in the Science and Technology Digest, a fairly obscure government-run weekly. The English translation of Mr. Mi’s essay was published over the weekend on by Chen Yiwen, a senior official with the China Association for Disaster Prevention, on Mr. Chen’s verified blog. In it, Mr. Mi charged that the GMO residue of soybeans crushed to make soy oil has found its way into Chinese diets, allegedly causing birth defects, depression, infertility and a long list of other afflictions. What’s worse, the fault lay with China’s biggest supplier of the oilseed – and a thorn in the side of China’s strategic planners. “The U.S. dumped soybeans on China due to huge subsidies for their soybean farmers, and in a few years destroyed the traditional Chinese soybean industry,” Mr. Mi wrote. He couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

China’s Agriculture Ministry has repeatedly denied claims of such “GMO leaks”. But Mr. Mi is the latest military official to publicly weigh in against GMO crops, particularly those from the U.S. Last year, Major General Peng Guangqian, deputy secretary-general of China’s National Security Policy Committee, also wrote a column warning that rising GMO grain imports would expose China to a costly strategic error. Other brass have openly supported Mr. Peng.

The military men’s positions underscore how closely GMO food is identified as a tool of Western – particularly U.S. – strategic policy, regardless of whether there’s enough evidence to support the association. The broader public sentiment in China, mainly hinged on health factors, also runs against the notion of allowing GMO food for human consumption. That was the theme of the reaction to Greenpeace’s claims that seven out of 15 random samples of rice sold in two markets in Wuhan tested positive for GMO strains. The non-profit said it had sent the samples to an independent testing agency.

Wuhan is the base for Huazhong Agricultural University, a major experimental agency for the government on GMO food, especially rice. School authorities got into a spat with Greenpeace last month after alleging two employees of the group “stole” GMO rice seeds from campus property. A university spokeswoman told the Chinese daily Global Times it rejects Greenpeace’s latest report and questioned the non-profit’s methods. The university couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

China’s bloggers were quicker to believe Greenpeace’s claims. “There are also GMOs in Beijing!” one wrote. “I wonder if markets there sell them too? It’s so frightening! Municipal governments should clarify this!”

“We don’t even know if GMOs are detrimental to health,” another said. “All I want now is the right to know.”

– Chuin-Wei Yap, with contributions from Kathy Tian. Follow Chuin on Twitter @YapCW.