China, South Korea Will Flaunt United Nations Request to Ban Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China, South Korea Will Flaunt United Nations Request to Ban Human Cloning Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 21, 2005

Beijing, China ( — Officials in China and South Korea on Monday say they will flaunt a resolution approved by a United Nations legal committee last week calling on nations around the world to ban all forms of human cloning.

On Friday, the UN committee approved a statement on a 71 to 35 vote calling on member nations to "prohibit any attempts to create human life through cloning processes and any research intended to achieve that aim."

The Chinese government opposes human cloning for reproductive purposes but supports it to create human embryos to be destroyed for their stem cells for research.

"Therapeutic cloning opens up prospects for the replacement of dead stem cells and will improve the health of individuals and mankind as a whole," China Daily quoted Wang Hongguang, President of the China National Centre for Biotechnology Development, as saying.

China voted with Belgium, Britain and other countries against the UN proposal, which is expected to receive a full UN vote in favor of it.

Chinese representative Su Wei claimed the wording of the cloning ban was vague and said proponents misunderstood the value of human cloning for research.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare also said that the country would continue its embryonic stem cell research.

"It is just a non-binding declaration and we have no plan to review our policy of allowing therapeutic cloning,” the ministry’s manager Kim Heon-joo said.

"Even when the General Assembly adopts the statement again, we will remain committed to the continuation of therapeutic cloning,” Kim added.

The UN human cloning ban resolution doesn’t require countries to ban all human cloning, as a treaty would, but asks them to do so.

The proposal was initially put forward by Italy and then Honduras submitted a lengthier resolution which also said countries should "prohibit all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."

The Honduras measure also asks nations to approve language preventing the exploitation of women. Delegates from developing countries feared that women from poor countries would be targeted for the large number of women’s eggs that would be needed to support these "egg farms."

The procedure by which eggs are extracted from these vulnerable women is extremely painful and dangerous to their lives and health.

The measure now goes to the full 191 nation assembly, which is expected to approve it.