On 9 Oct. 2023, ten Chinese government departments, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, jointly issued the “Measures for Scientific and Technological Ethics Review (for Trial Implementation)” (科技伦理审查办法(试行), hereinafter the “Measures”)
The Measures aim to regulate the ethical review of scientific research, technology development, and other scientific and technological (“sci-tech”) activities, so as to strengthen the prevention and control of sci-tech ethical risks and promote responsible innovation.
According to the Measures, sci-tech activities that shall be subject to sci-tech ethical review include:
- sci-tech activities involving human research participants, including human testing, investigation, observation, and other research activities, and sci-tech activities utilizing human biological samples and personal information, among others;
- sci-tech activities involving laboratory animals;
- sci-tech activities that do not directly involve humans or laboratory animals but may pose ethical risks and challenges to areas such as life and health, ecology and the environment, public order, sustainable development; and
- other sci-tech activities that shall be subject to sci-tech ethical review in accordance with laws.
The Measures include a list of sci-tech activities that require ethical review in the Annex, such as:
- research on synthesizing new species with significant impact;
- related research on the introduction of human stem cells into animal embryos or fetuses and further development into individuals in the animal uterus;
- basic research that alters the genetic material or genetic rules of human germ cells, fertilized eggs, and pre-implantation embryo cells;
- clinical research of invasive brain-computer interface for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders;
- research and development of human-machine integration systems that have strong influences on human subjective behaviors, psychological emotions, and life and health, among others;
- research and development of algorithmic models, applications, and systems with the ability to mobilize the public and guide social consciousness; and
- research and development of highly autonomous decision-making systems for scenarios involving safety and personal health risks.
Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team