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

N0.224 May 30,2000
    1.Beijing's Strong Software Export 
    2.China's Huge Input in Traditional Medicine Development
    3.China's “Digital City” in Prospect
    4.China's First Atomic Fountain
    5.China's Super Hybrid Rice Genome Program
    6.Human Genome Anatomic Charts


Beijing's Strong Software Export

As shown by the statistics published by the Beijing Customs, Beijing had exported USD 34.17 million worth software in 1999, two thirds of the nation's total, which secured a steady annual growth at 27%. Being a representative high tech export product, Beijing's software export has long occupied the first place in the country.

As reported by “Computer World”, Beijing's software export has witnessed the increase of the ones with independent intellectual property rights. Software products exported in the last few years were mainly the ones developed under contracts with foreign firms and either sold together with its copyright or made into semi-finished products with few independent design and development. Along with the enhanced awareness of intellectual property rights and improved independent development capacity, more and more software exported from Beijing are of their own intellectual property rights. Statistics provided by authorities concerned have shown that the number of software copyright registration has soared up since 1997 with the number of the last year reaching 5,000 sets, of which Beijing has taken over 50%. In the meanwhile, network software has become a new hot spot in Beijing made software. Last year appalled at the drastic ascending of Chinese Internet subscribers from 2 million in the previous year to 8.9 million, which in turn spurred the development of Internet related software. Beijing started its Internet related software export from last year and reaped a harvest of over USD 2 million with a steadily growing demand.

As far as software export is concerned, unit prices of products can be polarized according to the contents. In the last few years, most software exported were games and education applications. Along with the intensified international market competition, the software export prices for the above mentioned applications have dropped by 20% while system software, supporting software and Internet related software of independent design have secured a much higher price even to one million US dollars.

As far as the software carrier is concerned, optical discs have seen increasing welcome for its advantages such as large storage capacity, long preservation and magnetism resistance. Its export reached USD 2.87 million last year, 10 times of that in 1998 with its proportion from 1% in 1998 up to 9%.

China's Huge Input in Traditional Medicine Development

As disclosed by the briefings at International Conference on Traditional Medicine held on April 23, 2000, to enhance China's competitiveness in the international traditional medicine market and promote the export of Chinese traditional medicine, the Chinese Government has published its Action Plan for Modernizing Chinese Traditional Medicine Industry and created the Office for Chinese Traditional Medicine Modernization Project Management with a huge budget for the implementation of the plan.

Recently the Chinese Government has approved the establishment of China's first national industrial base for Chinese traditional medicines modernization in Sichuan and formulated GAP standards for a dozen of regular traditional medicine products with more than ten Chinese traditional medicine manufacturers being granted with national GMP certificates. The defined objectives are to produce high-quality traditional medicines through developing GAP base, modernizing traditional medicine production in line with international demands and quality control from the original sources.

The detailed objectives of the Action Plan are: by 2010, internationally acknowledged standards and regulations for modern Chinese traditional medicine production such as screening center for compound medicine, GLP center, and GCP center should be basically established; by 2010 several groups of strong competitiveness shall be created for transnational operations in collaboration with foreign manufacturing, research and investment institutions so as to lift China's share in international traditional herb market to 15%.

China's “Digital City” in Prospect

On May 13, 2000, nearly a hundred Chinese mayors and a hundred and more IT industrial celebrities gathered together at “the Forum on Digital City in the 21st Century”, discussing the future plan for China's urban digital process. Co-sponsored by National Mayor Center and Chinese News Agency, the meeting aiming at promoting the interactive communications between Internet related industries and government on a mutual benefit basis will be of positive significance to the development of China's urban digitalization process.

Yu Zhengsheng, Minister of Construction, pointed out at the opening ceremony that like “garden city” and “ecological city”, the socalled “digital city” isa description of the future orientation that the urban development will go into and aconcept introducing digital technology, information technology and Internet technology into different aspects of urban life. Urban digitalization process will be able to check up the development of illegal structures and avoid corruption and shortcomings occurred in project bidding and property construction.

The official from Ministry of Science and Technology believed that “digital city” went along with China's current economic life in parallel with the industrialization and informationization processes and was of important significance to China's modernizing process of urban areas. He disclosed that urban planning and management and urban digitalization process are important endeavors in the 10th Five-Year Plan for scientific and technological development in drafting process.

Song Ling, Director of Dept. of Information Process Promotion, Chinese Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom Industries, said the urban informationization process is the prerequisite and necessary condition for China's cities merging into the globalizationtrend. China has established an intercomparison system measuring the level of information process and will soon be published after the review and approval of Information Process Steering Group subordinated to the State Council.

It is reported that many cities in the country have demonstrated their respective characteristics in the information process. For example, Beijing has designeda “digital Beijing” centered around the development of Zhongguancun while Shanghai proposed the concept of information port with a steady improvement process.

Shanghai Municipal Government, together with Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom Industries, will sponsor a high level forum on the urban information process in Asian and Pacific regions.

Aiming at promoting the start and implementation of China's urban digitalization process, the digital city forum scheduled for three days focuses on the theme of “urban sustainable development and information technologies”. In addition,the meeting has opened its forum website: www.21itc.com. The new website will serve as a standing platform for the exchanges and dialogues among mayors.


China's First Atomic Fountain

Chinese scientists have recently displayed the socalled atomic fountain with atomic cooling technique that is able to make thousands of atoms spring up 1-2 cm high in a second.

Atomic cooling is a cutting edge technology newly emerged in the world. It useslaser technology to make the atom temperature approach the absolute zero, namely 271.16 degree centigrade below zero. The technology can be used to study atomic clock and atomic laser of extensive applications.

In 1994, Laboratory of Laser Cooling and Confined Atoms chaired by Profs. Wang Yiqiu and Yang Donghai, Dept. of Electronics, Peking University, started the studies of atom cooling. At the end of last year, researchers captured cesium atoms with six laser beams through improved techniques and acquired the lowest temperature in the country after making them cool down though 3/00000 degree centigrade higher than the absolute zero. At the extremely low temperature, cesium atoms become almost static with its moving velocity dropping from regular 300 -400 m/second to 3 cm/second. Not long ago Chinese scientists have further developed an atomic fountain with 80 million cesium atoms springing up to 1 to 2 cm high under the laser effect.

Experts believe that the limited 1 to 2 centimeters are of far reaching significance as atomic fountain can be used to make atomic clock of extremely high accuracy with only a second error in 30 million years. The said clock is the time frequency system made by China on its own. At present, China's time authorization center at Shanxi Astronomical Station announces the time solely relying on a foreign made small cesium clock and making it in line with the world time through American GPS system.

Associate Prof. Chen Xuzong, Vice Dean of Dept. of Electronics, Peking University, said scientists were planning to further reduce the atom temperature and work out the fifth state of matter: Bose condensation, the first of its kind in the country.

It is reported that under such a state comes out many magical phenomena such as the light velocity may reduce to 17 meters per second while a bicycle champion may hit a record of 90 meters a second. In addition, it may produce atomic laser. At present there are only few research institutions in the world able to reach this state and produce atomic laser.

China's Super Hybrid Rice Genome Program

Chinese scientists announced in Beijing on May 11, 2000 that China's super hybrid rice genome program was formally kicked off and was scheduled to decode the hyper rice's genes in one year.

In the coming year, scientists from Beijing Huada Genetic Research Center, Lab on Phytobiological Technologies of Institute of Genetics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and National Research Center on Hybrid Rice Engineering Technologies will join their efforts to work on the decoding of super hybrid rice's genes, the first of its kind in the world so as to improve hybrid rice yield and quality and create a permanent foundation for China's leading position in hybrid rice production.

Chinese scientists hope to create a technological innovation approach for scaled industrialization running from genetic research to molecule breeding and to field plantation in a timeframe from 3 to 5 years.

Rice genome is composed of 430 million base pairs, while human genome is composed of 3 billion base pairs. Both China's first 1% human genome draft chart just completed by Chinese scientists and the large scale sequencing efforts for rice genes, one seventh of the working load of human genome program, have demonstrated China's advancement into a new phase of genetic studies. “Decoding super rice will help people to identify the relevant genes in wheat, corns and other major food crops and spur the basic and applied genetic studies of food crops”, said Prof. Yang Huanming of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Rice is the most important food crop in the world. China is the country with the largest yield of rice and rich species. In this context, it is of great scientific and economic significance to conducting intercomparison genetic rice studies in China.

Breakthrough for China's Optical Catalytic Technology

Recently Beijing Puren S&T Co. Ltd. located in Haidian Pioneering Park has successfully developed liquid optical catalytic material of internationally advanced level. Its basic development work relating to synthesizing technique, performance assessment, application areas and coating techniques has been completed with the comprehensive indicators reaching the advanced level of their foreign counterparts, ready for industrialization. Testing results worked out by Institute of Microbes, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and China Institute of Medical and Biological Products Assessment have indicated that the ceramic dinnerware coated with optical catalyst is of remarkable bacteria killing effects hitting 99% without any harmful effects on human body. With numerous merits such as low production costs, no pollution for both manufacturing and application processes and permanent
anti-bacteria coating, the technology is of extensive market applications suchas in the fields of air purification, ceramics, building materials, dinnerware, medical instruments, household electronic appliances, autos and transportation, environmental protection, degradable plastics and other daily products.

Human Genome Anatomic Charts

Scientists working for International Genome Organization gathered in US and announced that their human genome sequencing efforts have entered the last phase from today ( May 11, 2000). Scientists from six countries including US, UK, Germany, France, Japan and China engaged in this great endeavor for sequencing 3 billion base pairs of human genome have worked out human genome maps similar to the one for the anatomic purpose. Dr. Yang Huanming, Chinese focal point of International Human Genome Organization, Director of Human Genome Center, Genetics Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, was part of the announcement activity in the capacity of Chinese representative.

The announcement marked the formal entry of 16 genome centers in 6 countries including US, UK, Germany, France, Japan and China into phase two human genome project at which the accurate genome map will be drawn. The socalled accurate map is the one showing the whole DNA sequencing of human genome. The activities at this phase include filling in the existing blanks of the sequencing so as to increase its accuracy to 99.99%. The current draft map need further improvement here and there. Experts believed that by 2003, the accurate human genome sequencing will be completed and the current draft map will be turned into an accurate one.

Of 16 genome centers engaged in human genome project, the Chinese scientists team composed of Genome of Center of Genetics Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Southern Center of Human Genome and National Northern Center of Human Genome were honored with the mission of sequencing 1% of human genome. It only took half a year for Chinese scientists to complete their due though China is a later comer and the only developing country involved in the project. This grand project will be inscribed with Chinese names.

Human genome project is assigned to sequence the DNA of 3 billion base pairs and identify and decode 100,000 genes relating to birth, senile decaying, disease and death processes of human beings, which is the key to and basis of understanding human body and improving health. Started from March 1999, phase one project of the program has so far completed the sequencing of major base pairs and worked out the first working draft of human genome on which 20,000 and more DNA sections and their locations and detailed relationships are reflected. These sections have not only played a direct role in genome sequencing but can also be directly used by the studies on genetic functions. Of these sequenced, there are about 600 million base pairs (20% of the total) reaching an accuracy of 99.99%.

The sequencing information in the “working draft” will be updated every day and can be directly used by the public free of charge. On the basis of hundreds and thousands of genes identified, experts believed that these results may help geneticists find out the genes triggering diseases such as breast cancer, genetic deaf, apoplexy, epilepsy, diabetes and abnormal skeletons in different forms.

Facing the intensified competition with private sectors and demand for technical advance, the scientists involved in the genome project have decided to advance their original time schedule for turning out accurate sequencing map from 2005 to 2003 and now to June 2001. Chinese scientists team headed by Dr. Yang Huanming have promised the completion of their part before the new deadline.

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