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The Ministry of Science and Technology
People's Republic of China

N0.380 September 30,2004

* China’s 863 Program Harvested

* 863 Program Creates RMB 56 Billion

* China’s Brand New Concept for Megalev Train

* China’s Proprietary Gamma Knife

* China’s Satellite Returned

* China’s First Wetland Weather Station

* China’s Third Antarctic Expedition Station to be Built


China’s 863 Program Harvested

The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology announced on September 25 that the National 863 Program have initiated more than 4,500 projects on a combined basis in the 10th Five-year Plan period(2001-2005). These projects, witnessing smooth progresses, have achieved phase results, or breakthrough progresses. The following are some examples:

The Shuguang and Legend supercomputers have surpassed a threshold speed of a trillion times per second. The Shuguang 4000A supercomputer, with a speed of 11 trillion times per second,  ranks the top ten among the world’s top 500 supercomputers. The development makes China the third nation following the US and Japan in the world, capable to develop and manufacture high performance supercomputers that offer a speed over 10 trillion times per second.

The project “computer farming” under the Program won the grand prize at a world information summit sponsored by the UN. The project has established 23 application demonstration zones in 22 mainland provinces and municipalities, covering some 800 counties and benefiting more than 7 million farmers. The project has also extended its applications to Vietnam, ASEAN countries, and African countries.

China’s rice genome study has taken the leading position in the world. Chinese scientists have completed the full rice genome sequencing charts and patch work for refined charts. China has also verified, located or separated more than 100 candidate genes of important functions.

China produced new biomedicines and vaccines for mass production. The recombinant Adenovirus injection for cancer treatment, the first of its kind in the world, has entered the trial production phase. Six other proprietary national new drugs, including therapeutic peptide for hepatitis B, new Lymphotoxin,and drugs preventing early pregnancy, have entered clinic testing stage.

Chinese scientists have achieved breakthroughs in breeding high yield species. Huahang No. 1, the first space-born rice species approved by the state authorities, have grown in a total area of 2.5 million mu(1mu=0.0667ha.) on a combined basis.

China has so far completed all technical developments and personnel training for establishing a semi-conductor illuminating source industry, which will eventually bring a revolution to the industry.

During the 10th Five-year Plan period, China had landed an all-round breakthrough in mastering the key technologies for manufacturing 12-inch single-crystal silica disk, with all the material indicators compliant with the technical requirements of a 0.13 micron IC for silica. China has developed a monthly capacity for 5000 disks, alleviated the material shortage for producing super large scale IC.

The new material part of the 863 Program has made China, a country producing 90% of the world’s rare earth, become a development and production center for rare earth permanent magnetic materials. China’s new lithium battery materials reach a world advanced level in terms of the performance. The development has broken up the restrictions imposed by foreign manufacturers on China for high volume, high security and longevity anode materials. The super strength steel study has greatly improved the performance of traditional carbon steel.

China has also achieved an all-round breakthrough in superconductor applications. The successful griding of high temperature superconductor power cables makes China the third nation following the US and Denmark in the world able to run superconductor power lines in grid.

China’s successful development of key infrastructure technologies broke up overseas technical blockades. The newly developed sophisticated digital instruments and devices have found applications in major industrial projects, including ship thruster propeller processing, large airplane components processing, missile body and gyroscope’s sophisticated processing, processing hydraulic power generator’s vanes that are used in the project shipping natural gas from the west to the east, and processing high speed shafts used in feeding the north with the water from the south.

China has successfully employed medical robots to perform 607 brain surgical operations. New functions, including visual identification, focus tuning and online remote control, has been added in the surgical robots of the 4th generation.

Electric automobile studies have achieved phase results. China has mastered the key proprietary technologies for manufacturing electric automobiles’ dynamic system and components. Many of these technologies have reached an internationally advanced level.

863 Program Creates RMB 56 Billion

The 863 program, China’s national high tech program, covers 8 key technical fields, including biotechnology, space, information, laser, automation, energy, new materials and marine technology (added in 1996). During the period from 1986 to 2001, the Program has enjoyed a state financing of RMB 11 billion. With the involvement of 40,000 researchers from more than 200 institutes, over 100 universities, and more than 100 enterprises, the Program has turned out more than 47,000 papers and some 2,000 domestic or international patent grants. More than 5,200 industrial R&D projects were financed under the Program’s 230 research topics. These projects have produced an additional output value worth more than RMB 56 billion, or indirect economic benefits exceeding RMB 200 billion. The Program has also produced a high caliber research team and a number of R&D and industrialization centers equipped with advanced experimental facilities.

On April 2001, the Chinese State Council approved the continuous implementation of the 863 Program during the 10th Five-year Plan period. The Program, during the period, created several dedicated projects for manufacturing cutting edge products and equipment, in addition to 19 priority topics for 6 high tech fields, including information, biology and modern farming, new materials, advanced manufacturing and automation, energy, and resources and environment. Up to date, 29 dedicated projects have been established to deal with key technology developments, including super IC, high performance computers and core software, computer operating systems, database and other major infrastructure software, electric automobile, functional genome and biochips, large gas burning turbine, submarine robot for a depth of 7000m, information security and e-administration, Bohai oil field prospecting and development, and water pollution control and demonstration. The innovations created by the dedicated projects constitute a stimulus to the steady change of China’s technical development from tracking after to leaping forward.


China’s Brand New Concept for Megalev Train

The Chinese made MAS-3 magalev train, with a length of 2.63m, a width 1.25m, and a capacity to hold 6 persons, will make its debut at the 18th international show for megalev and linear driving vehicles that will open in October.

Invented and developed by WEI Lehan, a research fellow working for the Shanghai Academy of Sciences, the MAS-3 magalev train works to produce a lifting force, using the joint effect of absorption and repulsion between the vehicle magnetism and rail magnetism. The unit lifting power produced by the Chinese made megalev train is 20% higher than that by German made EMS or Japanese made EDS trains. The German made EMS has a construction cost of RMB 330 million per km, while the Chinese made MAS enjoys a much lower cost at only RMB 50 million per km, with less space demand.

Compared with the German EMS and Japan’s EDS, China’s MAS train has the merits of control-free and stability for dual directional running. Its other strength include larger lifting power, simpler structures for lifting, propelling and directing, in addition to lower energy consumption, high propelling efficiency and light weight of compartment.

China’s Proprietary Gamma Knife

China has developed proprietary gamma knives, making them major surgical tools in removing tumors.

China introduced the first gamma knife from abroad in 1993 to treat brain diseases. At the same time, Chinese medical equipment manufactures were working on their own proprietary gamma systems. In 1996, the first Chinese made rotating gamma knife wad put into clinic application. In 1998, Chinese manufacturers worked out an innovative gamma knife for body applications, an improvement extending treating brain tumors to treating the tumors in major body parts.

In 2003, the Shenzhen Haibo S&T Co. Ltd., in collaboration with the Shenzhen Jiancheng Investment Co. Ltd. developed a super gamma treatment system. The new system, integrating different directional gamma systems appeared in the past and adding innovative functions, is able to treat both brain and body tumors.

Thanks to the decade long development and clinic practice, more than 80 domestic hospitals have been using domestically made gamma knives, securing a market share larger than their imported counterparts. Chinese made gamma knives have become a major tool in domestic clinic tumor treatment. Chinese engineers are now working on the next generation gamma knives which will further reduce the costs. 


China’s Satellite Returned

After 27 days’ orbiting, China’s 19th retrievable satellite for scientific experiment had successfully returned to earth at 7:55, September 25, 2004, Beijing local time.

The returned satellite was blast off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on August 29, 2004. During its orbiting, the Xi’an Satellite Control Center performed 8 rounds of orbiting control and sent consecutive control commands. In collaboration with other technical centers, the Control Center retrieved the returning capsule in the morning of September 25, 2004, leaving the instruments cabin in orbit for further scientific experiments.

Compared with similar satellites launched previously, the satellite has seen great improvements for more accurate orbiting control and more sophisticated calculation process for return control. The Xi’an Satellite Control Center, using numerous advanced return control techniques, including multi-round orbiting control, angle junction positioning, and optimized landing calculation, ensured the satellite’s smooth orbiting and safe return.

China’s 20th Retrievable Satellite Launched

At 16:00, September 27, 2004 Beijing local time, China blast off its 20th retrievable scientific experimental satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Ten minutes after launch, the data received by the Xi’an Satellite Control Center confirmed a complete success as the satellite smoothly entered the prescribed orbit.

According to a briefing, the newly launched satellite enjoys an enhanced improvement in terms of its overall performance, compared with similar satellites previously launched. Designed to work on scientific experiments, land survey and mapping, the data collected by the satellite will be used in the relevant studies. The Xi’an Satellite Control Center is responsible for the tracking, measuring and control of the orbiting satellite, before having it back in a few days.

China’s First Wetland Weather Station

A hydrometeorological station, physically located in the Zhalong Nature Conservation Park, has recently passed the experts’ verification check organized by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Starting to construct in July 2002 and being put into official operation in April 2004, the station makes the first of its kind in the country, functioning for the integrated observation of the wetland’s hydrological, meteorological and ecological elements on a permanent basis.

The wetland station has so far collected more than 40,000 first-hand data lines, constituting important evidences for studying wetland birds’ breeding and net-building habit, species density and distributions, and their future protection. The newly established station can automatically collect and transmit nine groups of parameters, with its basic performance indicators complaint with national standards.

China’s Third Antarctic Expedition Station to be Built

The Head of the State Oceanography Bureau’s Polar Expedition Office recently revealed that China would make the study of the inland ice coverage between the Zhongshan Station and Ice Fornix A part of its 21st Antarctic Expedition to be launched on October 25, 2004. The new expedition will be a pre-phase warm-up for defining new fields for Antarctic studies during China’s 11th Five-year Plan(2006-2010) period. At the same time, the coming expedition will look for the possible sites for China’s third station in the inland area of the polar region. China has already had two scientific expedition stations in the polar region: the Great Wall Station and the Zhongshan Station.

The Polar Expedition Office Chief told reporters that Ice Fornix A, the most distant ice fornix from the inland coastal lines of the Antarctic Region, is also an area with the highest altitude inland ice cover in the region. The fornix is named “an inaccessible polar” for its extremely tough climate conditions. So far only a few of countries in the world have set up their expedition stations there. China has already made 4 expeditions to study the inland ice cover in the region. China’s forthcoming expedition, made up of 13 members, including a medical expert, plans to cover a 1,300 km journey deep into the inland ice cover in 70 days. The expedition team will develop an integrated glacier and climate model for the section that the journey will cover, using land marks along the journey, so as to provide evidences for establishing logistic support and the operation system for the new station. The expedition will also gain more experience by striving to reach the top of the Ice Fornix A, and establish an interim observational post there.

Matured GM Cotton Techniques

Not long ago, an in-site demonstration of home made genetically modified cottons, sponsored by the National Diffusion and Service Center for Faming Techniques, a part of the Ministry of Agriculture, opened in Luohe City, Henan Province. The GM pest resistant cottons developed by several dozens of research institutes across the country show a prosperous and healthy growth, and expect a bumper harvest. China started the development of GM pest resistant cotton in 1991, and rolled off a univalent pest resistant gene in the following year, becoming the second country following the US in the world possessing proprietary pest resistant genes. Chinese researchers, through more than a decade of tireless efforts, have continuously been working on pest resistant genes, making them from univalent to bivalent, and from a single function for cotton worm resistance to resistance to multiple diseases and pests, including aphides. Chinese researchers are now working to improve GM cotton species and increase their yields.

Facing GM cottons’ deterioration and decaying problems, researchers have produced 4 sets of growing procedures and 2 sets of technical formulas for disease and pest control. These “healthy growing techniques” have achieved success over extensive growing areas, with a per mu yield ascending to 149 kg, or 20% up compared with the untreated groups.

       Comments or inquiries on editorial matters or Newsletter content should be directed to:Mr. Mao Zhongying, Department of International Cooperation, MOST 15B, Fuxing Road Beijing 100862, PR China  Tel: (8610)58881360 Fax: (8610) 58881364