Archive for ‘Law suit’

08/04/2015

Chinese citizens sue government over transparency on Monsanto herbicide | Reuters

Three Chinese citizens are taking China’s Ministry of Agriculture to court in a bid to make public a toxicology report supporting the approval of Monsanto‘s popular weedkiller, Roundup, 27 years ago.

The case, a rare example of a lawsuit by private citizens against the Chinese government, comes amid renewed attention on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, after a controversial report by a World Health Organization group last month found it to be “probably carcinogenic to humans” – a claim denied by Monsanto.

It also underlines the deep-seated fears held by some Chinese over genetically modified food.

Beijing No.3 Intermediate People’s Court had accepted the case but a date for a hearing has not yet been set, an official at the court told Reuters.

Roundup is widely used on crops like soybeans that are genetically modified to resist its impact, allowing farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops. China imports about 65 percent of the world’s traded soybeans.

“The government is taking actions to deal with other food safety issues but it is not dealing with the GMO problem,” said Yang Xiaolu, 62, one of the plaintiffs bringing the case and a long-time GMO activist.

Monsanto officials have said glyphosate has been proven safe for decades, and the company has demanded a retraction from the WHO over its recent report.

Yang and the other plaintiffs, Li Xiangzhen and Tian Xiangping, are demanding in the lawsuit that the agriculture ministry make public the animal test that the ministry cited as evidence to support its approval of Roundup in 1988.

The test report by U.S.-based Younger Laboratories in 1985 was provided by Monsanto to the ministry, according to the plaintiffs, who argue that the ministry should allow the public to know how it determined that Roundup was safe.

The ministry has previously declined to show the plaintiffs the report, arguing that it would infringe on Monsanto’s commercial secrets, said Yang.

The agriculture ministry did not respond to a fax seeking comment.

The lawsuit comes at a time when the government is trying to foster positive public opinion of GMO food crops, currently banned for cultivation, but seen as crucial to future food security.

via Chinese citizens sue government over transparency on Monsanto herbicide | Reuters.

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16/06/2014

China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control | Reuters

Legal reforms are a key platform for President Xi Jinping‘s government to restore popular faith in the Party and judicial system amid simmering public discontent over miscarriages of justice often caused by officialsabuse of power.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the sixth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

China must “improve the requirements for appointing justices and prosecutors while upholding the principles of leading party officials and respecting the rule of justice”, an unnamed official in the top office in charge of judicial reforms told the official Xinhua news agency.

It did not say when the pilot programs would be launched.

To limit interference by local governments, provincial governments will pick judges and prosecutors and fix the budgets of local courts and procuratorates, Xinhua reported. The system currently gives local governments greater sway in appointments.

Panels of legal specialists at the provincial level will nominate judges and prosecutors, but the Party must still approve their appointments.

The reforms must “uphold the Party’s leadership,” the official said, signaling a willingness by the central leadership to improve its courts as long as the Party’s overall control is not threatened.

Critics have described the leadership’s call for greater independence for courts as a hollow gesture, because judges ultimately answer to the Party.

via China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control | Reuters.