New "simplified" (weakened) regulations may apply
China's GMO regulator MARA (the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) has said that "gene edited products fall in the scope of the country's GMO regulations, and could be regulated as a GMO", according to a report by the US Dept of Agriculture.
However, the USDA adds, "MARA indicated that new regulations are under development that may provide a simplified regulatory process for some gene edited products in the future." This suggests a weakened regulatory regime.
The USDA describes a PR campaign run by MARA to persuade the Chinese people to accept GMOs: "By working with the mainstream media and other government agencies, MARA continues a public communication campaign aimed at correcting misinformation about agricultural biotechnology."
But despite those government efforts, says the USDA, "Consumer and public perception polling indicates that the Chinese public’s support for and acceptance of food derived from agricultural biotechnology remains low."
Furthermore, China seems less than enthusiastic about planting GM crops: "To date, China only approves the importation of genetically engineered (GE) crops for further processing into animal feed and vegetable oil. With the exception of GE papaya and cotton, China has not approved any GE food or feed crops for domestic cultivation. Further, when foreign companies asked to submit an application for domestic cultivation, MARA informed them that China’s foreign direct investment restrictions prohibit the domestic cultivation of foreign developed biotech events."