[isml] Asia rejects clone nightmare (fwd)

From: Eugene Leitl (Eugene.Leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 09:59:13 MDT

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 11:48:31 -0700
From: ds2000 <ds2000@mediaone.net>
Reply-To: isml@yahoogroups.com
To: isml <isml@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [isml] Asia rejects clone nightmare

>From News24,
13/08/2001 20:23 - (SA) E-mail story to a friend

Asia rejects clone nightmare

Hong Kong - Many Asians recoiled in horror as Aldous Huxley's "Brave
New World" moved closer to reality with Italian embryologist Severino
Antinoris planning "designer babies" cloned in the image of their

Muslims in Indonesia and Pakistan, Buddhists in Taiwan, Hong Kong and
Thailand and Roman Catholics in the Philippines spoke with one voice
when they said human cloning was meddling with the laws of nature.

"Who do they think they are, they are not gods," said a government
official in predominantly Buddhist Taiwan, referring to Antinori and
his colleagues who said they would within weeks begin to clone a human
being, with the aim of offering hope to sterile couples.

According to Antinori, the nucleus of a woman's body cell is
transferred into one of her eggs to begin the process which eventually
leads to the creation of an embryo.

The embryo is then transferred into the woman's uterus to establish

Buddhists believe in reincarnation and according to the Hong Kong
Buddhist Association life starts when the soul reaches the body.

"This life is determined by what you did in your last life," said a
spokesperson, adding that the nuns and monks found the concept of
"human duplication" so incomprehensible that they did not want to talk
about it.

Huxley's book predicted human cloning

In Huxley's 1932 landmark book, control of reproduction, genetic
engineering, conditioning - especially via repetitive messages
delivered during sleep - and a perfect pleasure drug called "Soma" are
cornerstones of the new society.

Hong Kong has banned human cloning while a draft law is before
Taiwan's parliament. Yet both are keen to develop their fledgling
biotech industries which rely upon cells taken from human embryos for

Draft laws are also being considered in Malaysia, Thailand and

In Indonesia, the worlds largest Muslim-populated nation with over 80
percent of its more than 210 million people following Islam, there is
little to suggest that Antinori would be able to peddle human
"photocopies" to infertile couples there.

"As you know yourself, this is an issue which is not acceptable to
religions, including Islam," said Sri Astuti Sudarso Suparmanto, who
heads the health ministry's research and development board.

Pakistan, another devout Muslim country, said cloning interfered with
God's will, which was a sin under Islamic law. "It should be banned,"
said a spokesperson for the main fundamentalist party, the

Even in China, where the administration is devoutly atheist,
authorities said they opposed human cloning on ethical grounds.

Yet despite the outcry, only Japan has enacted legislation to outlaw
human cloning, and many countries are facing pressure from scientists
to allow research on human embryos.

10-Year jail sentence in Japan

In May, Japan's cloning law came into effect carrying a 10-year jail
sentence for anyone caught trying to clone a human being and laid out
strict guidelines for scientists on research on human embryos.

Gynaecologist and artificial insemination expert Atsushi Tanaka in
southern Tokyo said: "It is horrifying to think we would clone human
beings despite the amount of negative data on cloning.

"The act of human cloning violates the very meaning of our existence."

New Zealands Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council has warned
that legislation is needed urgently if it is to prevent such a thing
happening there.

Scientists have warned that cloning humans is infinitely trickier than
cloning an animal. They fear that the by-product of creating one
healthy human child will be the hundreds of deformed or abnormal human
embryos that will have to be culled.

In the Philippines, where the Roman Catholic Church has a huge
influence, bishops have equated this destruction as tantamount to

"It is the subject of human rights, foremost which is the right to
life," Archbishop Leonardo Legasi said. - AFP

Dan S

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