The fate of He Jiankui hung in the balance, according to the Chinese media. The scientist, who became scandalously famous after the world's first edition of the genome of future children, has now found himself outside the legal framework. Now he is under house arrest and the country's authorities cannot decide in any way what to correctly accuse him of in order to punish him as much as possible for the edification of others.
At the end of last year, He Jiankui's confession appeared on the Internet, which in itself became an aggravating circumstance. Instead of presenting the work in academic circles, he immediately made its results public, which greatly angered the academic world. To be fair, Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute tried to organize a conference for him in Hong Kong so that Jiankui could formally defend his work, but most of his colleagues did not support him. And the hero himself suddenly and for a long time disappeared from the information space.
It has now become known that the Chinese authorities have placed the scientist and his family under house arrest at a training complex in Shenzhen. And he will stay there until officials and representatives of science come to a compromise. Jiankui can be accused of violating many unwritten dogmas and quite official prohibitions, including international agreements. The easiest way, they argue in the media, is to re-qualify the case under a corruption article, because the scientist used someone else's equipment for his own selfish purposes, which he had indirectly admitted to. And corruption crimes in China are often punishable by firing squad.
The death penalty for He Jiankui would become a point of detente for both the country's authorities and the scientific community. But there is a huge problem - you will have to conduct a show trial in accordance with all the rules, with witnesses, evidence and evidence. And this threatens that dozens, if not hundreds of famous people from science may end up in the dock - Jiankui nurtured his ideas, discussed them and adopted someone else's experience for many years. In fact, he became only a daring performer, and scientists from all over the world carried out a huge preparatory work on editing the human genome. And who exactly, and for what sins in this case will have to be condemned?