Hong Kong voids visa of Chinese scientist behind world’s first gene-edited babies

Hong Kong voids visa of Chinese scientist behind world’s first gene-edited babies

He Jiankui, who was released from prison last April, could face prosecution once again for allegedly lying in his visa application

February 22, 2023
Just hours after announcing his plan to conduct research in Hong Kong, Chinese scientist He Jiankui saw his work visa revoked on Tuesday.
He, the biophysicist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies, was released from prison in April 2022 after serving three years for the controversial practice. He was found guilty of illegally practicing medicine in pursuit of “fame and wealth.”
The former Southern University of Science and Technology professor recently made headlines after providing an update on the children’s status. This year, he is slated to give a series of talks at universities and conferences, including the University of Oxford next month.
On Tuesday, He announced that he was granted a Hong Kong visa and is in touch with local universities and companies. 
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He expressed openness to working in Hong Kong given the right opportunity, as well as his intent to study gene therapy for rare hereditary diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
However, Hong Kong authorities reportedly revoked his visa shortly after, citing his prior conviction. 
They said an individual “made false statements” while applying for a visa, and while they did not name He, details about his case were cited, according to DW.
After the immigration department reviewed the application, it suspected that someone had made false statements to get the visa approval. The director of immigration has declared that the visa is invalid in accordance with the law.
A criminal investigation was also launched, introducing the possibility that He could face prosecution yet again, this time for allegedly falsifying information.
After being criticized over the initial approval of He’s visa, Hong Kong also vowed to tighten up its visa application process, according to South China Morning Post. Labor Minister Chris Sun Yuk-han said that while Hong Kong does not require an applicant to declare a criminal record, discrepancies between facts and the provided information can result in a rejection.

      Carl Samson

      Carl Samson is a Senior Editor for NextShark




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