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No.199

 

CHINA  SCIENCE  AND  TECHNOLOGY
NEWSLETTER
The Ministry of Science and Technology
People's Republic of China


N0.199 September 20,1999
 
IN THIS ISSUE

    1.Chinese Governments New S&T Policy
    2.Striving for Technical Breakthroughs in Major Areas
    3.S&T Innovation Investment System in Shenzhen
    4.Transgenetic Plant Development Promoted
    5.Chinas First Palm-Sized Aircraft
    6.China-Korea Joint Meeting on Basic Sciences
    7.Workshop on Evolution of Ancient Lakes and Water Vapor   Movement
    8.Chinese Academician Won Japans Cocmos International Prize
    9.Mammal Fossil found in Fujian Coastal Area


SPECIAL    ISSUES

Chinese Government’s New S&T Policy

Chinese Government recently published its new policies aiming at the vigorous promotion of technological innovation, high tech development and industrialization in the country.

Titled as Decisions on Strengthening Technological Innovation, High Tech Development and Industrialization by the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party and State Council, it points out that during the 21st century, building China into a more prosperous and powerful socialist modern country is a great historical mission of the whole Party and whole nation.

The Decision added that in the increasingly fierce competition of integrated national strength, a nations level of high tech development and its associated industrialization has become the niche for such competition and the lifeblood in defending a nations sovereignty and economic security.

It points out that strengthening technological innovation, high tech development and associated industrialization is not only an urgent need to address in-depth issues relating to Chinas economic development and further improving the overall quality of national economy and integrated national strength, but also a strategic decision to ensure Chinese nations invincible position in the international competition in the new century.

New policies have covered 15 points in four major areas. It points out that high tech development and its associated industrialization shall be stemmed from system restructuring, activating existing S&T resources, strengthening market oriented R&D, vigorously promoting the extension and application of high technologies and applied technologies so as to turn S&T results into products of strong market competitiveness in a fast and efficient manner.

The Decisions also ask for more S&T forces to invest into market-oriented innovation activities, deepening the reform of economic, S&T and educational systems and improving S&T legislatures and promoting the construction of national innovation system.

The new policies indicate that strengthening technological innovations and high tech development shall be realized through further opening to the outside world and extensive international cooperation and exchanges and be fueled through competition. Domestic research activities shall be integrated with introduction and digestion of imported advanced technologies and the redundancy at low level should be avoided.

The state will strengthen its macro guidance on the orientations and focus of technical innovation and associated industrialization, promoting technological innovations with enterprises as the main body, improving the overall innovation capability of enterprises, promoting the transfer of application oriented research and design institutions into enterprise mechanism and promoting the development of S&T enterprises.

The Decisions also mention the construction of national high tech industrial development zones, the support to the development of private S&T enterprises and the development of S&T medium organizations in terms of S&T investment and banking services.

According to the Decisions, China will improve its S&T personnel management system, encourage transfer of S&T results, reduce the number of national S&T prizes while enhancing the strength of reward and strengthen the management and protection of intellectual property rights.

The Decisions also call the local government for full recognition of the importance and urgency of strengthening technological innovation, high tech development and associated industrialization and strengthening the leadership over this course.
 


Striving for Technical Breakthroughs in Major Areas
 


Madame Zhu Lilan, Minister of Science and Technology, appealed S&T communities in the country on August 26 to act on the spirit of national technological innovation congress, strive for major breakthroughs in three key areas including S&T system reform, technological innovation and high tech industrialization and raise the S&T activities to a new stage.

Referring to S&T system reform, she pointed out that the substantive progress, if to be made, shall be built on the basis of the construction of national innovation system with the construction of technological development system as the priority and on the basis of transferring application oriented research institutions into enterprises. So far there are 5014 R&D institutions subordinated to government at or above county level with a total S&T population of 330,000. Among them, those who fall into the category of applied research institutions shall basically be transformed or incorporated into enterprises before the end of 2000.

Madame Zhu called for new breakthroughs for technological innovation in drafting the 10th..

Five-Year Plan. She stressed that national targets shall be placed in a strategic position. We are required to practice the strategy of technological overtaking, stick to market and application orientation, strive for major breakthroughs, accelerate the development of middle and west regions of the country and advocate for the combination of independent innovation and importation of advanced technologies. Strive for technological breakthroughs and overtake in some major priority areas so as to greatly raise the overall level and international competitiveness of national industries; realize the transfer of Chinese agricultural sector from its traditional mode to modernized one and from extensive operation to intensive one; greatly improve the technological quality and market competitiveness of major industrial products; increase the domestic market share of Chinese high tech products and their export; and increase the knowledge content and technological level of Chinas tertiary industries including information services.

Madame Zhu has disclosed that the state is planning to use 60% of its S&T budget to implement major projects relating to technological innovation and industrialization.

S&T Innovation Investment System in Shenzhen

Shenzhen S&T Innovation Investment Co. Ltd. announced its debut on August 26, 1999, which signaled the full-fledged operation of both domestic and overseas venture funds and investment company, a major component of Shenzhen Investment System.

With an initial registration capital of RMB 700 million, Shenzhen S&T Innovation Investment Co. Ltd. is jointly established by 8 shareholders including Shenzhen Municipal Investment Management Company, Shenzhen Express Way, Shenzhen Shenbao, Shenzhen Airport, Shenzhen Energy, Zhongxing Telecommunication, Guangshen Railway and Commuter Group. Shenzhen Investment Management Company has taken the lions share of the equity by pouring into RMB 500 million with rest RMB 200 million from other sevens companies.

As briefed by the authorities of the new company, the new entity will, in the context of Chinas status guo and on the basis of successful experiences both at home and abroad in venture investment, invest venture capital in high tech projects of mature technology with promising market perspectives and ready conditions for industrialization by means of direct investment in selected projects, establishing venture funds and jointly setting up professional investment companies. Meanwhile, it will provide middle-man and value added services to the enterprises invested by taking advantage of its professional management, information, funds and expertise. Its shareholders will be duly rewarded through earnings made by successful enterprises.

It is reported that from its preparation stage the new company has drawn great attention of foreign venture investors. So far it has concluded preliminary intention of cooperation with a number of potential investors on joint establishment of professional investment institutions. Some high tech related companies, such as China High Tech Development Institution, Chinese S&T Fund Raising Consultation Company and High Tech Industry Investment Service, have expressed their full intentions for cooperation. In addition, financial institutions, such as Shenzhen Branch of China Construction Bank, Shenzhen Branch of Bank of China, Shenzhen Development Bank, Guandong Development Bank, Shenzhen Municipal Commercial Bank, United Securities, Guoxin Securities, South Securities, Dapeng Securities and etc., have expressed their interests in forging cooperative relationship with the new company.

Transgenetic Plant Development Promoted

Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology recently organized a feasibility study workshop on creating an experimental base of transgenetic plants in Jilin Province. Experts concluded that it is necessary to establish a national experimental and industrialization base for transgenetic plants in the major grain producing region so as to further improve the overall level of research in the field and promote the industrialization of transgenetic plants in the country.

Since the 1970s, China has started its plant tissue cultivation and transgenetic studies. Thanks to its many-year efforts, China has accumulated rich experiences and achieved some encouraging results in the fields of gene cloning and transformation, establishment of transgenetic system and production and industrialization of transgenetic plants. For example, Mr. Guo Sandui, Biotech Center of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has successfully changed Bt genes and been granted with patent right for his achievement. With transformed genes, Mr. Guo has derived transgenetic cotton of strong resistance to bollworms and grown his new prizes in extensive areas and harvested rich economic benefits. In addition, China has bred a great number of transgenetic plants of strong resistance to diseases, such as tabacco with resistance to virus, tomatoes of longer term, maise reststant to insects and paddy with resistance to disease. Some of them have been extended to grow in vast areas. Due to various reasons, China has found very uneven distribution of its transgenetic research forces with limited industrialization scale and poor application of research results.

As early as in the late 1970s, Jilin Province started its transgenetic experiment on soy bean genes and acquired ratooning cultivated soy bean tissue. In the 1980s, scientists in the province successfully developed ratooning plants of soy bean protoplasm and haplobiont. Later in the 1990s, they successfully obtained transgenetic soy beans. All these efforts have to some extent made Jilin a desirable base for industrialization of transgenetic plants in terms of its technical strength and expertise. Meanwhile, the Province has possessed the largest production and sale base of corn seeds in the country with its annual production and sale volumes reaching one seventh of the total in the country. The seed application volume in the province has taken 10% of the nations total. Through on-the-spot investigation at Jilin Provincial Institution of Agricultural Sciences and in-depth review of the feasibility study report presented by the Province, experts agreed that Jilin Province is of desirable industrialization foundation for establishing a national experimental and industrialization base of transgenetic plants in the context of its huge seed market, expertise, geographic and working conditions.


NEWS BRIEFS

China’s First Palm-Sized Aircraft

A mini-aircraft armed with mini video camera and transmitter, with a weight of only 350 g, the first of its kind in the country, has successfully taken off from a literally palm based launching pad at Nanjing Aviation and Space University. Being able to take off from ones palm, the mini aircraft may reach a speed of 86 km per hour with its remote control radius of 1000 m and cruise duration of 20 minutes. During its course of flight, the aircraft can continuously transmit the pictures of the conditions on the earth, which it has taken in the space, to the ground monitors. The aircraft has a wing span of 45 cm and is driven by a tiny internal combustion engine. It is reported that this first Chinese made super mini radio control aircraft can be matched with mini aircraft championshiped at the Second World Mini flying Vehicles Competition held in Florida State University last year.

China-Korea Joint Meeting on Basic Sciences

In accordance with the agreement signed by Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (NNSF)and Korean Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF), the fourth session of China-Korea Joint Meeting on Basic Sciences was held in Shanghai recently. Academician Zhou Bingkun, Vice Minister of NNSF and Piao Chunhao, Chairman of KOSEF were present at the meeting.

Both sides reviewed and assessed the implementation of the agreement signed by China and Korea in 1998, especially the bilateral academic workshops and study tours jointly financed by both parties. The joint meeting has screened out 12 projects to be financed by both sides in 1999 and discussed relevant matters on bilateral workshops to be financed by both sides in the year. Workshop on Evolution of Ancient
Lakes and Water Vapor Movement

Under the joint sponsorship of Chinese National Natural Science Foundation, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Lakes of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), CAS Open Lab of Lake Deposition and Environment, CAS Hundred Talent Program and German Institute of Earth Chemistry, the international working meeting on the evolution of Chinese ancient lakes and cycling dynamics of water vapor was held in Nanjing.

At the meeting, the latest development was introduced on the different studies of ancient lakes in China and possible dynamic explanations were offered. Participants also discussed the designing concept of water level database of Chinese ancient lakes and associated development, assessed and modified the current water level database of Chinese ancient lakes, summarized research results on characteristics of the evolution of Chinese ancient lakes in different climate zones, discussed its gap from the international standard of global lake database in Quaternary age, intercompared geographic data with ancient Asian monsoon climate model and worked out the research framework for intercomparison of global model and data.

Chinese Academician Won Japan’s
Cocmos International Prize

It was disclosed at the international workshop on man and nature sponsored by China and Japan on July 20, 1999, that Prof. Wu Zhengyi, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was conferred with 99 Cocmos International Prize.

Prof. Wu has rich knowledge in the fields of plant taxonomy, florology and plant resources. He has compiled more than ten worldly renowned works such as China Flora and China Vegetations, which contributed greatly to the international botanic research. He has for the first time in the world proposed academic thinking that there are abundant ancient plants in southern and southwest China and Indo-China(N 20-40) and this region could be the origin of east Asian flora and even that of north American and European flora. His scenario has drawn great attention of the world botanic community.

Kocmos International Prize was set up by Memorial Association of International Flowers and Trees Exhibition sponsored by Japans conglomerate in 1993. The winners are usually scholars from different countries who have made outstanding contributions to the research activities promoting and developing the concept of co-existence of nature and man.

Mammal Fossil found in Fujian Coastal Area

Fishermen in Dongshan County, Fujian Province, have twice drawled a great number of mammal fossils with fishing net in the sea area near Dongshan, Taiwan Straits.

As verified by vertebrate paleozoologists, these fossils are that of mammals, such as sharp tooth elephant, spotted deer, rhinoceros, bears and horses. In addition, there are the fossils of aquatic animals such as whales and crabs. They are the fossils of ancient vertebrate animals living in the last ice age (15,000 to 30,000 years ago).


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