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Lawmaker Calls for Legislation Against 'Biological Intrusion'

A Chinese lawmaker Thursday warned against a hazardous "biological intrusion" of the country's eco-system resultant from imprudent imports of foreign turfs, trees and fruits, and called for prompt legislation to ward off any possible penetration of "harmful foreign organisms from overseas".


"In 2003 alone, China suffered economic losses worth 57.6 billion yuan (about US$7 billion) because of the assault of 11 detrimental foreign organisms, including weeds and insects,” said Zhang Zhongning, a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature currently in its 10-day annual full session.


Calling the "biological intrusion" a negative side effect of the globalization process, Zhang, a research fellow with the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that some local governments' enthusiasm and haste for "blindly importing foreign turfs and trees" to face-lift their cities had increased the risks for the country.


"In a number of better-developed coastal regions, the local governments, in a bid to beautify their cities, have imported large quantities of foreign landscaped trees and turfs without adequate scientific study and strict quarantine control," said Zhang.


"Out of their ignorance, quite a few local officials even feel excited at the sight of 'strange flowers and rare plants' from around the world gathering in their cities," he added.


It is quite necessary to enact a law to halt the invasion of harmful external organisms, which will not only grip the control over the imports of foreign organisms, but stipulate on isolation and control measures for areas already affected by the "biological intrusion," said Zhang.


The scientist spoke against the increasing imports of overseas fruits and transgenic food products. "Though we are unable to witness the potential risks for the time being, the impact on the future is unforeseen and unpredictable," said Zhang. "We shall learn from governments in the Europe, which have been very cautious about the imports of transgenic products."


"We should adopt a respectful and prudent approach to the nature, to which we remain unknown to a great extent," Zhang said.


(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2004)



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