Hong Kong revoked the visa of the Chinese scientist who genetically modified babies

He Jiankui (AP)

The Hong Kong authorities announced that work visa canceled of the chinese scientist what was it Sentenced to Prison for Creating the First Modified Babies genetically of the world, thus thwarting his plans to move his research to the city.

Immigration officials from the former British colony suspected that the expert falsified the application form, according to Hong Kong radio and television today. RTHK.

the chinese scientist He Jiankuiwhich was released in April last year after a three-year sentencedeclared on Tuesday that his visa had been approved thanks to a local talent recruitment program, and that he was looking for collaborators to advance his work on gene therapy for rare diseases.

“I am contacting Hong Kong-based universities, scientific research organizations and companies,” He said, quoted by local media. “If there are definite and suitable opportunities, I will consider the possibility of working in the city,” he added.

However, late on Tuesday, the authorities of the semi-autonomous city notified that they had annulled the corresponding permit to a person who “provided false information” in the application, and added that a criminal investigation has been opened.

The government statement did not name He, but did allude to the details of his case, according to the Hong Kong daily. Hong Kong Free Press.

Likewise, the Administration specified that those who apply for a visa in the future must declare if they have a criminal recorda requirement that Labor Secretary Chris Sun Yuk-han admitted did not exist when He filed his forms, according to the newspaper. The Standard.

The official did not want to comment on “individual cases” and pointed out that it is the Immigration Department that decides on entry visas to the city, which belongs to the People’s Republic of China but with its own border by virtue of the post-decolonization government statute, in the late 90’s.

The controversial researcher, who rose to worldwide fame in 2018 after claiming that he had managed to create genetically manipulated babies to resist HIVrecently assured that his intention was to carry out gene editing research in the former British colony using artificial intelligence.

He, a professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen until his dismissal in January 2019, was sentenced in December of that year to 3 years in prison for his experiment.

The scientist at a conference on human genome modification in Hong Kong in 2018 (Reuters)
The scientist at a conference on human genome modification in Hong Kong in 2018 (Reuters)

From He’s experiment, carried out using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique, three babies were born: in 2018, twin girls named Lulu and Nana, and the following year, another named Amy.

In his last public appearance, at a conference at the University of Hong Kong in November 2018, the scientist was “proud” of his work and stressed that his study was not aimed at eliminating genetic diseases but rather “giving girls the natural ability” to resist possible future HIV infection.

The scandal led the Chinese authorities to review their regulations regarding genetic modification in humans, which they now require national-level approval for clinical research in that field or in other “high-risk biomedical technologies.”

Likewise, the Chinese government published new guidelines to reform ethical review processes in areas such as life sciences, medicine or artificial intelligence.

(With information from EFE)

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