The Atlantic, December 2017 From The Green Miracle to The Green Death Chandigarh, India - Punjabi Farmer Anil Kapoor stands over a brownish rice stalk, his head bent with worry. "Our wells were running dry, so we decided to take part in the S27 seed program." He pronounces the species identifier code with a sense of fearful reverence, like a devout Catholic uttering the number of the beast. "Monsanto promised us unbelievable yields. The batch they sent us last year did precisely that--but now..." His voice trails off into a choking sob--a cry, which, no doubt, is being echoed across South Asia. For India and Pakistan, the S27 seed project, once hailed as a milestone in social and economic cooperation between the two geopolitical rivals, has descended into famine and mutual accusations of incompetence, or even darker suspicions of sabotage and bioterrorism. The genetically-engineered rice seed, owned by Monsanto but developed by a joint effort of Genentech researchers in the United States, Korea, Israel, and the European Union, promised to increase per-acre yields by 25% while halving growth-to-harvest times--without increasing the rate of water or fertilizer consumption. In effect, S27 would allow a farmer to get two-and-a-half times as much rice for the equivalent amount of irrigated water and fertilizer. As a bonus, the resulting crop was also rendered naturally toxic to most pests and diseases, allowing farmers to dramatically cut back their use of pesticides, while containing an enhanced cocktail of vitamins for human health. All those benefits were observed in the lab and across repeated controlled trials, but now, in its first field deployment across the drought-stricken breadbasket of South Asia, S27 is now shooting up plants whose sole act is to reproduce as aggressively as they can, filling the air with thick, whitish pollen--and then die without any crop yield whatsoever. Enhanced Oryza Sativa Batch S27--marketed as The Green Miracle--has acquired a new moniker: The Green Death. Professor Venkat Srivatsan of India's Central Agricultural University explains the details: "It seems the rice has a genetic 'off switch', something commonly inserted to prevent illegal tampering of the genome, likely by Genentech or Monsanto. Something in the wild--or possibly, somebody--triggered it. Unfortunately, this switch appears to be self-perpetuating. It is essentially a genetic mutation, carried virally, that turns afflicted plants into vectors for that viral DNA. Untainted S27 crops aren't even supposed to produce pollen--they are male-sterile, but once exposed to the mutation through tainted pollen, they, too, will switch off." Up to this point, Professor Srivatsan's words fall well within the mainstream opinions of global agricultural geneticists. However, his theory, presented below, on why the switch behaves in the way it does has drawn the ire of his scientific colleagues. "Normally, the switch should be self-destructive. The plant told to switch off should simply die without producing any pollen, or only a minimal amount. But, in the case of S27, the genetic switch substantially toughens the pollen grain as well as altering its shape for increased aerodynamic buoyancy, and increases the amount of pollen produced tenfold. In addition to those odd traits, S27 can also carry its genes over into non-S27 crops. We have already seen evidence of non-GMO rice crops being affected all across Punjab and Uttar Pradesh." The demure scientist pounds his fist on the table, his voice turning raw. "This is clearly a deliberate mutation. No domesticated rice plant in the ten-millenia history of human agriculture has exhibited such characteristics." In short, he is accusing S27 of being a man-made bioweapon, engineered to destroy India's rice crop--a crop that is estimated to feed nearly 400 million people. The vast majority of agricultural scientists and agronomists disagree with his views. The main question they pose is this: how would Genentech or Monsanto profit from putting such a deadly gene into their marquee product? According to agronomist Dr. JosÃ© Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, it would be like "a consumer electronics manufacturer investing billions toward slipping in computer viruses that cause uncontrollable shutdowns into their premier products." His views echo official statements released by both Monsanto and Genentech representatives... [hr][/hr] Reuters, May 2013 Biotech entrepreneur shot in Singapore(Reuters) - BREAKING The bodies of prominent genetic researcher and biotech entrepreneur Persephone Fang and an unidentified male were found early this morning in a Mountbatten Road villa. Both appeared to have died of gunshot wounds. Singaporean police have begun an active investigation. At around 2AM this morning, some residents in the normally quiet Katong neighborhood of Singapore were awakened by what appeared to be a loud argument emanating from a two-storey bungalow at 745 Mountbatten Road, followed by the sound of breaking glass. When police arrived six minutes later, they found the bodies of an unidentified male, and Fang Fei-Na, also known as Persephone Fang. Both appeared to have been shot to death. Police are still pursuing... Singapore double murder may have been murder-suicide(Reuters) - UPDATE 1 The unidentified male found dead with the body of Persephone Fang could have been her ex-lover, police have indicated. According to unofficial police sources, early forensics also appears to point towards the male's death as suicide, but Singaporean Police continue to refuse any official comment. ...in a macabre twist, the unofficial source also stated that Ms. Fang appeared to be three months pregnant... Singapore double murder was murder-suicide(Reuters) - UPDATE 2 In an afternoon press conference, Singapore Police indicated the unidentified male found dead with the body of Persephone Fang has been conclusively identified as her ex-lover, and crime scene forensics points towards a murder-suicide rather than a double homicide. ...Zhang Shenghan, Ms. Fang's fiance and a top executive for Sino-International Bank, was said to have landed in Singapore late last night. [hr][/hr] China Vitae, January 2023 Biography Highlight Zhang Shenghan, male, Han nationality, is a native of Nangang District, Heilongjiang Province. He was born in 1972, entered the work force in 1994, and joined the CPC in 1999. He graduated from the Mathematics Department of Tsinghua University in 1994 and also received a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University in 1998. Zhang became the first mainland Chinese employee in the New York office of Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette shortly after graduating from Tsinghua University. After graduating from Harvard Business School, he became the Chief Financial Officer of Jia Li Group in Heilongjiang Province. In 2001, he became the secretary of the Party Branch there, which continued until Jia Li's 2002 merger with Sinochem. In 2004, he transferred to Sino-International Investment Bank, leading its Industrials group and later Sino-International Investment Bank Capital, a public-private investment fund. In 2008, he became the global head of Sino-International's Investment Banking Division. In 2010, he became the Vice Chairman of Sino-International Bank and secretary of the Party Branch there. In 2013, Zhang was appointed as the Governor of Anhui Province and was elected Deputy Secretary of the CPC Anhui Provincial Committee; in 2015, he was elected Secretary of the Anhui CPC. In 2017, he was elected Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee. Between 2012 and 2022, he also served as secretary, Standing Committee member, and head of the Schools Department of the CYLC Central Committee. Zhang was also a member of the 12th NPC Standing Committee, and the 17th and 18th CPC Central Committees. He was a member of the Politburo of the 19th CPC Central Committee. In 2022, Zhang was elected a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the 20th CPC Central Committee. He was also appointed as Vice-Premier of the State Council and became Vice-Chairman of 20th CPC Central Committee Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group.