This photo's caption said there is no apparent difference between
conventional rice and genetically modified rice from experimental plots.
This campaign coincides with a push to develop the Chinese seed industry. In an article describing Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu's instructions for implementing the State Council's priorities for economic work the only specific topic mentioned was an initiative to speed up seed industry research and innovation. (The dimsums blog reported on seed industry initiatives several months ago.)
The propaganda campaign seems aimed at laying the groundwork for commercial approval of GM crops for production in China as a food security strategy. Agricultural research on GM crops has been underway in Chinese institutes since the 1990s. Chinese farmers besieged by pests and weeds are eager to adopt GM crops. In May, Heilongjiang Provincial quarantine authorities said they seized and destroyed 115 kg of genetically modified corn seed sent from the United States.
In contrast, the Chinese public has grown increasingly skeptical of GM foods. With increasing numbers of Chinese consumers presuming that GM foods are a health threat until proven otherwise--a standard that is essentially impossible to meet--it seems likely that agriculture authorities will breed more cynicism with their campaign.