Originally created 08/15/98

China plans to revise eugenics law, boost genetic research



BEIJING -- China plans to clarify a law that discourages people suffering from "genetic diseases" from marriage and childbearing, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

The 1994 law has been ineffective because it does not say which genetic disorders are serious enough to fall under its jurisdiction, Xinhua quoted Qiu Renzhong, a scientist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as telling a genetics conference in Beijing.

The law also should specify that men and women diagnosed with genetic disorders should be fully informed of medical opinions and should have the right to decide for themselves if they will undergo treatment, Qiu said.

In addition, Qiu said that although the 1994 law requires people with infectious diseases such as AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis and leprosy to "postpone marriage," it does not make clear whether people infected with HIV, which causes AIDS, can marry.

He said a committee of the national legislature had accepted his suggestions and planned to revise the law.