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Doctoral student claims superiors made him falsify records on GMOs

A doctoral student from a prestigious Chinese university has claimed that a national GMO testing center has actually been forging maintenance records on dozens of GMO projects for years. China’s Ministry of Agriculture has promised to open an investigation into the PhD student’s allegations.

Wei Jingliang, a former PhD student at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences’ Institute of Animal Sciences, has gone public with his knowledge about the testing center’s shady practices. Beijing Youth Daily reports that Wei claims  “testing centre doctored lab maintenance records ahead of a major inspection, and that he had electronic copies of the forged documents related to 30 projects.” Wei also has commented that the current methods of bookkeeping and quality control could pose as a huge safety loophole. concedes that while this incident may not directly involve GMO products, it is more than enough to shake public confidence in GM products. Honestly, if they have to lie about bookkeeping what else are they hiding? Relatively innocuous forgeries such as those often indicate that there are far worse things going on.

Wei worked at the GMO testing center while he was pursuing his doctoral studies. Last July, the lab was due for its three-year inspection of its quality control system, and their archives. He says that several professors requested he get the documentation in order; a process which would involve forging records of the center’s environment, equipment and usage of testing agents.

What is most surprising is perhaps not the fact that these researchers were corrupt, but rather the fact that they were rather blasé about the whole thing. Wei reports that “he was told at a meeting that paperwork had been doctored for the inspection three years earlier. None of the 30 people at the meeting, including many researchers and postgraduate students, raised any questions.” In other words, even though these researchers were admitting to the fact that they had created fake records — not a single person batted an eye.

According to Wei, his professors insisted he go along with their devious plans and disregarded his protests. At their behest, Wei spent nearly a month forging records for the big inspection.

Wei was even asked to endorse a test on GMOs that he believes was entirely made-up, because he was unaware that it had even been conducted.

Even though the Ministry of Agriculture has declared that they will take these allegations seriously and conduct a thorough investigation, China — like many other nations — is plagued with ethical problems related to research conduct.

This is why we need more reliable, independent research organizations.


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