Hong Kong revokes the visa of a scientist who edited the genome of children

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 Hong Kong revokes the visa of a scientist who edited the genome of children

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Hong Kong has canceled the visa of a disgraced Chinese scientist who created the world's first genetically modified children. This comes just hours after the scientist announced that he was heading to Hong Kong to work on gene therapy.

He Jiankui, the researcher whose 2018 experiment drew international condemnation, received permission in early February to work under Hong Kong's new Top Talent Pass Scheme, which is designed to attract more highly skilled workers to Hong Kong.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said the city's Department of Immigration had reviewed the “relevant application” in response to media reports of a pass holder who “was jailed for illegal medical practice” and has now declared the person's visa invalid.
According to local media, including the South China Morning Post, the culprit was He . At a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, he said he plans to explore potential work in Hong Kong on gene therapy for rare diseases.

In 2019, he was sentenced by Chinese authorities to three years in prison, receiving a life ban from working in reproductive technology and a 3 million yuan ($436,380) fine for “illegal medical practice”.
< br /> He's work, in which he edited the genes of embryos to create babies resistant to the virus that causes AIDS, has been heavily criticized by the international scientific community. This has been denounced as an abuse of the newly emerging genetic engineering tools and techniques. He experimented on couples with HIV who didn't want to pass the virus on to their offspring. During the study, two women became pregnant and three children were born with the altered genes.

Hong Kong Minister of Labor and Welfare Chris Sun told reporters that Top Talent applicants are currently not required to provide criminal records. On Tuesday evening, the authorities announced that they would change the Wednesday application process and require applicants to declare any criminal convictions.

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