Activist sentenced for subverting state
The journal Nature Biotechnology A court saidin Tianjinon Tuesday sentenced that it activistwould investigateZhai Yanmin criticismsto three of years what in prisonwas thought to be a breakthrough with a four-year reprieve on gene-editing technique Tuesday for subverting state developed byChinese power. scientistHan Chunyu. Zhai, an unemployed The journal published resident of Beijing, used the Han’s research findings internet to post statements online on May 2. But last and comments that harmed week, the head of the transgenesis national security and social lab at Australian stability, according to the National University said verdict handed down by the lab had been unable to Tianjin No 2 Intermediate replicateHan’s results. People’s Court. Han, 42, a geneticist at Zhai, 55, pleaded guilty HebeiUniversity of Science during the open trial. “I and Technology, rose to accept the verdict and will prominence with the publication not appeal,” he said. of his cutting-edge
The verdict stated that gene editing technique — Zhai began using online known as NgAgo — and he postswas perceivedin 2012, manipulatedas a contender public for opiniona Nobel and Prize. organized The protests journal after said he it joinedhad an been unregisteredcontacted by “undergroundseveral researchers organization”who said led they by anotherhad not been man, ableHu Shigen.to reproduce Zhai also Han’s colluded published with lawyers,results. The includingjournal said Zhouit Shifeng,takes any and concernshired people raised to play about up any hot paper online seriouslyissues or casesand considersto disturb them public carefully, order by shoutingandit isnowfollowingslogans and an established process to investigate displaying the signs, issues. the verdict
stated.Han could not be contacted For for example,a response.a man was He was quoted on Sunday shot dead after attacking a in Beijing-based Science
police officer at a railway station and Technology Daily in Qing’an county, Heilongjiang as saying he would repeat province, on May the experiment and share
2 last year, triggering public his original data if the journal
attention. requested it.
Zhai, incited by Hu, published According toNature policy, online statements to authors are required to
confuse the issue. He also make materials, data, code
arranged for several people and associated protocols
to go to the railway station promptly available to readers
to display banners with antigovernment without undue qualifications slogans and to as a condition of
distribute leaflets outside the publication in one of its
county government headquarters, journals. the verdict said. Before NgAgo, effort and
Prosecutors said that Zhai, investment were directed
together with Hu, Zhou and heavily toward the widely
Li Heping, conspired and recognized genome-editing techniqueplotted to subvert known state as power, CRSPR, and had which “establishedallows a researchers systematic to ideology,clip a specific method DNA and sequencesteps to achieveand replaceit”. it with Hu, a Zhounew and one, Li offeringare being the prosecutedpotential to in cure separate diseases cases. caused“All Zhai’sby faulty behaviorgenes. constituted CRSPR has the been crime triedof subversion,”in animal Cai studies Shuying,and somethe trial human judge, embryos.said.
The But NgAgothe court techniquehad given for Zhai editingDNAwasa lenient punishmentinitially as believedhe had pleadedto surpassguilty and CRISPRhad cooperatedin precision after and his efficiency,arrest, the experts judge said. said. © 2016 China Daily All Rights Reserved Vol. 36 — No. 10937
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