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

N0.207 March 20,2000
  • Reserve Investigation for Wild Giant Pandas
  • China Decentralized Its Approval Authorization for Foreign Invested Projects
  • Man Origins from China
  • Oxknee Polysaccharide Immune Drug
  • 2000 China Earth Day Action
  • 30 Billion Trees Planted in Last 21 Years
  • Two National IT Standards


    Reserve Investigation for Wild Giant Pandas

      How many wild giant pandas are there in China? How about their gender and age compositions and living conditions? Thanks to a new technological development, Chinese scientists are expected to address these whys simply through analyzing wild pandas droppings.

      It is reported from Chengdu Giant Panda Reproduction Research Base that the fingerprint probing technique jointly developed by the Base and Sichuan University is not only able to tell different individual animals and their kinship relationship but also to detect their genetic background. The said technique has been granted with the Second Prize Award for National Technology Invention in 1999.

      The new technique has successfully solved the international difficulty on extracting full genome from wild animalsdroppings with panda as the typical representation. For the first time in the world it has created the methodology for wild animal community ecology and protective genetics studies, through which the number, genders, ages, family trees, genetic biodiversity and genetic significant unit can be accurately measured from the droppings of giant pandas living in a certain area.

      Being an endangered species in the world, giant pandas are basically distributed in high mountains and deep valleys with extreme difficult accessibility. It is difficult to perform blood and live tissue testing on them with conventional means. As a result, people have known little about their background information especially their community ecology and protective genetics, which handicapped the protection of giant pandas.

      Zhang Anju, a renowned expert on giant panda studies and leading inventor of the new technique, believed that fingerprint probing and associated research methodology have created new approaches for giant panda biodiversity studies. It will benefit not only giant panda protection but also the rational and scientific conservation of flora and fauna and natural ecological environment where wild pandas are distributed.

      It is reported that the technique and associated research methodology have been applied in panda genetic biodiversity studies over Chinas six major mountain systems and achieved gratifying results such as pandasfraternal twin reproduction mechanism for the first time in the world. They have also confirmed, in the view of experimental biology and molecular genetics, physiological characteristics of female giant panda producing multiple eggs in her more-than-once ovulations during a single mating season. These results have provided theoretical and application evidence for multiple matings in a single mating season so as to enhance pandas reproduction capability.

    China Decentralized Its Approval Authorization for
    Foreign Invested Projects

    To further open its door to the outside world and encourage foreign investment, State Development Planning Commission and State Economic and Trade Commission have recently agreed to decentralized their approval authorization for foreign investment in some areas.

    The Circular bearing the new initiatives stipulates that among the categories encouraged for investment in Guidance Catalog for Foreign Investment, 97revised edition, the projects needing no comprehensive balance by the state can be approved by authorities at the provincial level. Copies of documents approving the letter of proposal or feasibility study report on such projects shall be submitted to State Planning Commission or State Economic and Trade Commission for record. The Circular added that it should be deemed as the approval granted when no disagreements are received from either of these two agencies within a period of one month after the documents are received.

    It is reported that the projects encouraged for investment but still requiring the comprehensive balance by the state and projects that need permission or are in the restriction categories shall still be approved according to the existing approval procedure.

    To facilitate the implementation, the Circular has made clear definitions on the foreign invested projects that need state comprehensive balance. They are:

  • Foreign invested infrastructure construction, technical upgrading sharing investment from central budget sources, loans from state policy banks and four major domestic commercial banks and enjoying state subsidies; and joint ventures and collaborative projects applied with the above mentioned investments and sovereign foreign debts.
  • Foreign invested projects having implications on the national economy and the distribution of productive forces such as infrastructure construction, major industrial projects, electronic equipment and telecommunication, aviation and space projects and mining industry;
  • Projects confined by certain laws or regulations to be subject to the approval of the State Council, which consume land for forestry industry and consume large fresh water resources and may cause damage and contamination to fresh water resources;
  • Projects needing import and export quota and license issued by the state;
  • Demonstration projects with new foreign investment modes introduced by the state or covering newly opened areas;

    The Circular stressed that to prevent new redundant constructions, authorities at different levels shall coordinate the interfacing of old and new policies concerned and improve project recording system according to their local conditions.


      Man Origins from China

      Chinese and US scientists announced at Nature, a UK authoritative scientific journal, on March 16, 2000 that the studies of feet and ankle fossil bones named China Eobiont Ape and Century Eobiont Ape discovered at Liyang, Jiangsu Province, and Yuanqu, Shanxi Province, respectively have proved that the distant ancestor of human beings origins from China. Qi Tao and Wang Jingwen, paleontologists of Research Institute of Vertebrate Paleozoology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and scientists from US North Illinois University have jointly conducted this research.

      In the past, paleontologists had discovered lower jawbones and teeth of eobiont apes. However scientific communities have a long-standing debate on whether eobiont ape is primate animal or not. Some renowned scientists believed that eobiont apes are not primates. Fortunately recent new evidences have proved that eobiont ape is a member of original primate family and other family members which have survived the past and continued their existence till today are the monkey, ape and man.

      The existing anthropoids include monkeys, apes and men and existing lower primates include lemur, Galagidae, leptosome, tarsier and etc. Before the said discovery, the origin and evolution of higher primates have puzzled paleontologists for several decades of years because of little knowledge of distant family tree of higher primates.

      In addition to proving the higher primate nature of eobiont apes, the new discovery has also created a perspective for addressing a long standing controversial issue, namely how the family of anthropoids origins from primates.

      Scientists briefed that most scientists believed that higher primates origin from Africa. However, the importance of locality where eobiont ape bone fossils were discovered has shown an unusual facet of the locality of Asian fossils.

      Two Chinese experts believed that the discovery of the smallest and most distant higher primates in China has shown that addressing the long standing controversial issue where the origin of monkey, ape and man is still needs massive scientific investigations before gaining a satisfactory answer. It is important to enhance field investigation activities for many breakthroughs in the world were achieved in the long-time and hard field work. At present, it is still too early to draw at the conclusion that man originates from Africa.

    Oxknee Polysaccharide Immune Drug

      Thanks to their painstaking studies for more than a decade, Tian Gengyuan and others of Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have for the first time in the country produced oxknee polysaccharide, a kind of new immune drug working on diseases and cancers. The new drug has been granted with national invention patent and First Prize for Invention by Chinese Academy of Sciences. Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry has paid great attention to the industrialization of the innovative result by forging a collaborative tie with Shanghai Shiyuan S&T Health Products for joint production of oxknee polysaccharide. The product has passed experts verification check organized recently, which marks the full industrialization of the result and new phase of extensive applications.

      Oxknee is an element in Chinese traditional medicine. According to Chinese traditional medical books, it has the effects of tonics for liver and kidney, strengthening muscles and bones, easing waist and knee pains, diluting bad blood and curing carbuncles and skin ulcers.

      Started from 1983, Tian Gengyuan and his team of Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have systematically studied the effective elements of oxknee and extracted polysaccharide compound of small molecular weight. As shown by pharmacological research and clinical testing at different hospitals, oxknee polysaccharide as it is named has remarkable effect of improving mens immune systems by increasing serolysin, serum immune albumin and promoting the growth of leukomonocyte. It is also able to check the decrease of white blood cells after chemical therapy on cancer patients and restore damaged immune system at the same time.

      To be in line with official requirements on new drug studies, Tian Gengyuan and his team have not only studied pharmacodynamics, toxicology and preparation of oxknee polysaccharide on a systematic basis but also clarified its molecular structures.


2000 China Earth Day Action

      2000 China Earth Day Action aiming at enhancing peoples awareness of environment protection was kicked off on Feb. 29, 2000. The massive activities attracting international concerns are jointly sponsored by a group of non-governmental organizations including Beijing Earth Village, Chinese Youth and Teenage Foundation, Chinese Association for Cooperation among International Non-governmental Organizations and Chinese Association for Environment Journalists.

      China Earth Day Action will see promise made and names signed for the nation wide green life campaign. With the help of proposal letters and promise cards distributed through media, all walks of life in the country will sign their names and make promises for concrete day to day environmental protection activities. In addition, in the week before the Earth Day, green life activities centered around afforestation and community, campus and roads environmental protection were organized.

      Dennis Hays, Chairman of International Earth Day and the sponsor of US environmental protection in 1970, was present at the opening ceremony and he expressed his appreciation over the non-governmental environmental protection activities.

    30 Billion Trees Planted in Last 21 years

      It is reported from China State Forestry Administration that Chinese peoples awareness and enthusiasm for afforestation have been steadily enhanced. The last 21 years have witnessed through voluntary planting of 30 billion and more trees by 5.5 billion person/time.

      In 1979, Standing Committee of Chinas National Peoples Congress officially defined March 12 Chinas Afforestation Day. On December 1981, the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Fifth National Peoples Congress adopted the Resolution on Nation Wide Voluntary Afforestation Campaign, calling upon every citizen who is over 11 years old (the senior, weak, sick and disabled not included) to plant 3 to 5 trees every year. Since then all walks of life from senior state leaders to people in the street actively participated in tree planting activities around the Day every year.

      Afforestation Day has enhanced peoples awareness and consciousness of environment and afforestation, promoted state land greening process and played an important role in the improvement of ecological environment. Up to date, the total area of Chinas artificial forests have reached 37 million hectares, ranking the first place in the world, and achieved historical record of sustained growth of forest resources and reserves by increasing more than 1 percent of Chinas forest coverage through 21- year efforts. More than a dozen of provinces have wiped out barren hills suitable for tree growing and ten major forestry ecological projects have realized afforestation over an area of 50 million hectares on a cumulated basis, which have basically shaped Chinas new pattern for ecological forestry construction. In addition, China saw remarkable results for urban greening process with booming development of all kinds of commercial forestry bases.

      Two National IT Standards

      On March 17, 2000, Chinese Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom Industry and State Bureau of Technical Supervision jointly published two major national standards for information technology. They are Expansion of Basic Chinese Character Code Sets for Exchange of Information Technology Dataand Common Requirements for Chinese Character Entry on Digital Keyboard.

      As briefed by Lou Qinjian, Vice Minister of Information Technology and Telecom Industry, the Chinese character coding standard published this time has covered 27,000 and more Chinese characters with sufficient room for future extension, and also worked out a fundamental solution to forming a unified information platform for different fields such as post, household registration, banking, geographic information system, studies of Chinese characters and consolidation of ancient literatures. In the meanwhile, the standard has formulated a coding framework for ethnic letters or characters such as Tibetan, Mongolian, Uighur in line with Chinese Han characters so as to lay a solid foundation for promoting the information process of ethnic writings.

      Li Zhonghai, Deputy Administrator of State Bureau of Technical Supervision said the first standard came into effect on the day it published as a mandatory national standard with a transition period graced till December 31, 2000. While addressing major information technology products manufacturers both at home and abroad present at the briefing, Li stressed that any products falling into the mandatory standards shall strictly be in line with the standard.

      It is reported that the second standard will be widely applied in telecommunication products including fixed or mobile telephones, fax machines, dual-direction paging, handy equipment, electronic notebook, palm sized computers. In the meanwhile, it can be applied to other common or specialized equipment such as remote controller, mouse, keyboard and information storage. This recommendable standard will go into effect on July 1st, 2000.

           Comments or inquiries on editorial matters or Newsletter content should be directed to:Mr. Dong Jianlong, Department of International Cooperation, MOST 15B, Fuxing Road Beijing 100862, PR China  Tel: (8610)68512650 Fax: (8610) 68512594, or Mr. Wang Jianping, Editor,NEWSLETTER, 15 Fuxing Road Beijing 100038, PR China, Tel:(8610) 68515544 Ext. 2921