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

N0.225 June 10,2000
    * 99' Report on China's Environment
    * Ecological Environment Improvement in West China
    * Daily Air Quality Forecast for 42 Major Cities
    * China's Ozone Balloon over Mount Qomolangma
    * China's Research on Solid Carrier Rockets
    * “No Wound” Therapy for Cancer Patients
    * Clinical Cancer Biotherapy 
    * New High Quality Wheat Species for Bread

99' Report on China's Environment

On the occasion of World Environment Day, State Bureau of Environmental Protection published 99' Report on China's Environment. 1999 was a ritical year determining the success or failure of achieving the environmental protection goals defined by the 9th Five-Year Plan. Both the central and local authorities had enhanced their input in the development of urbaninfr
astructures and environmental protection. As shown by the Report, China's investment in environmental pollution control last year reached Rmb 82.32 billion, 1% of its GDP.

Sponsored by State Bureau of Envirommental Protection and jointly prepared by Ministry of State Land Resources, Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Agriculture, State Statistical Bureau, State Forestry Administration, National Bureau of Oceanography, Chinese Meteorological Administration and Chinese Seismological Bureau, the Report presents the executive assessment of China's environmental status quo: in 1999 China continued its policy of equal priorities for pollution control and ecological protection, strengthened integrated environmental control, effectively checked the total emission of pollutants, basically curbed the environmental deterioration trend and improved environmental qualities of some regions and cities. However, as shown by the statistic analysis of
environmental monitoring results the whole country is still facing tough environmental problems such as large total emission of pollutants, high level pollution, continuously deteriorating environment in some areas, many cities' seriously contaminated water, air, noise and soil, further degraded rural environmental quality, unchecked ecological deterioration trend and extended damages of ecological environment in some areas.

According to the statistics provided by the Report, China's water environment remains threatened by water body contamination and water resources shortage. China's major rivers have recorded extensive organic pollution with increasing surface contamination. Of them, the Liaohe River and Haihe River have suffered seriouscontamination while Huaihe River and Yellow River deplored for poor water quality. Major lakes have been seriously affected by eutrophication. Most urban underground water has been contaminated with a further deteriorating trend. It is worth noting that the total industrial and urban daily-life sewage water emission in the previous year reached 40.1 billion tons, of which daily-life sewage shared 20.4 billion tons, for the first time exceeding the one discharged by the industrial sector.

China's air pollution is dominated by coal smoke with aerosol and carbon dioxide being the major pollutants. Some large cities are polluted by both coal smoke and auto tail gas. Of 338 cities under the survey, only 33.1% met grade II national air quality standards with the remaining (66.9%) failing to meet grade II standards. Of them, there are 137 cities (40.5% of the investigated) having an emission exceeding grade III standards.

The Report also indicates that most of the pastureland in the country has deteriorated or is in the process of deterioration with the ones rated medium deterioration or above (including those in the process of desertification and alkalization) reaching 1.689 million square kilometers, 17.6% of the total national territories, which formed a wind and sand belt starting from Talimu Basin in the west and ending up at the west Song-Nen Plains in the east ranging 4500 km from east to west and 600 km from south to north.

In addition, China's marine environment has drawn people's concerns. 1999 saw serious contamination of China's coastal areas with grade 4 or poor grade 4 sea water reaching 46%. The most contaminated marine area is East China Sea with 53% of its water rated poor grade 4.

The Report also summarized the basic facts on China's industrial solid wastes, arable land and land, biodiversity, climate and natural disasters, radiation environment, noise environment and China's environmental protection efforts such as “one control with dual goals”, quantitative assessment of integrated urban environment control, environmental management for construction projects and construction of nature conservation zones and ecological protection zones.

Ecological Environment Improvement in West China

Along with the steady implementation of the socalled Great West China Development, the ecological environment control in the west has drawn increasing attention. It is reported from authoritative sources that China will restructure its bud geting composition by increasing the investment in the Great West Area's ecological environmental protection from Rmb 7 billion last year to Rmb 12 billion this year.

At the “International Workshop on GEF and West China's Ecological Environment”held on May 22, 2000, Xiang Huaicheng, Chinese Minister of Finance, said that the last Spring witnessed 12 occurrences of sand storms over northern China with its major causes attributing to the land degradation and desertification. The sand storms have tolled the warning for ecological environmental protection.

Xiang added that the planned Rmb 12 billion budget would be mainly dedicated to the projects protecting natural forests and ecological environment, including sand and desertification control. China's input in this area will eventually reach Rmb 100 billion in the next decade. Senior officials from State Development and Planning Commission, Ministry of Waters, Ministry of Agriculture and National Environmental Protection Agency addressed at the Workshop on their respective efforts in protecting ecological environment in west China. The representatives from GEF expressed their firm support for these efforts.

Proposed by the ministerial meeting of World Bank Development Committee, GEF is a world wide fund raising organization founded on May 1991 to provide donations for the environment protection activities in developing countries. China is one of GEF's founding members. Up to May 2000, China's 16 projects have been endorsed by GEF with a total donation of USD 230 million.

Daily Air Quality Forecast for 42 Major Cities

Thanks to the enhanced public awareness of environmental issues, Chinese people have shown increasing concerns over the environment. To meet the challenges, authorities concerned announced that they would start from June 5th, 2000, to issue daily air quality forecast for 42 major cities in the country so as to keep more citizens informed of the urban air quality.

It is briefed that the said 42 cities include 32 capitals of provinces and autonomous regions, cosmopolitan cities under the direct jurisdiction of the central government and 10 coastal and tourist cities. Another 6 coastal cities will soon be added to the list. These cities are the priorities under national environmental protection efforts. Before this, some cities such as Beijing and Tianjin have already started their daily forecast for their respective urban air quality.

It is reported that the daily air quality forecast will become a routine program after the evening news of CCTV.

China's Ozone Balloon over Mount Qomolangma

On June 5th chinese scientists released ozone balloons over the Mount Qomolangma to detect the ozone depletion appeared over the area in summer seasons so as to understand its changing mechanism and impacts on environment.

In recent years, Chinese scientists have discovered the existence of ozone depletion over Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in the summer from June to September dominated by an abnormally low ozone concentration with the lowest reaching 10% less than that of surrounding areas.

The gray-white ozone balloons ascended to a height of 20 to 30 km above the ground and the sensors aboard transmitted the data collected back to the ground receivers on a real time basis. These data will become the basic evidence for analyzing the vertical distribution of ozone and its variations.

The ozone layer distributes over a level 20 to 30 km distant from the ground, serving as “an umbrella” protecting the earth. In the last 20 years and more, the abnormal ozone variations in the atmosphere have become a cutting edge topic for modern atmospheric and environmental sciences.

China's Research on Solid Carrier Rockets

On May 26, 2000 Solid Carrier Rockets Co. Ltd. sponsored by China Space Machinery and Electronics Group announced its foundation in Beijing, which shows China's intensified efforts for developing solid carrier rockets.

The Long-March series rockets manufactured and used by China in its current space activities are all liquid types with strong thrust forces. The newly established solid carrier rocket company is a shareholding entity dedicated for the research, development, manufacturing and commercial launching of solid carrier rockets. At present, there are only few companies in the world dedicated to the endeavor.

The service target of solid carrier rockets is mainly the small satellite under 300 kilos. Such rockets have numerous merits such as high energy density, small volume, simple structures, reliable performance, short response time, strong mobility and low cost, no need for dedicated launching pads and sophisticated ground and technological support for fuel feeding. They may realize mobile launching of small satellites into the lower orbit from simple platforms such as flat ground, hilly area, marine platform and airplanes upon the clients' requirement in 12 hours. In addition, the solid propellant engine can be safely recovered.

It is reported that Chinese made solid rockets will be displayed on satellite launching markets both at home and abroad for providing launching services for small satellites.

“No Wound” Therapy for Cancer Patients

The high intensity supersonic cancer treatment system developed by Chongqing Medical University has been thought highly by medical experts as a new weapon for cancer treatment. As briefed by Dr. Wang Zhibiao of Institute of Supersonic Medical Engineering, Chongqing Medical University, many cancer treatment techniques such as operation, radiation therapy and chemical therapy have great side effects and would cause pains to patients. The said new technique is designed to focus the intensified supersonic energy on cancer tissues so as to directly kill the cancer cells by taking advantage of biological effects of supersonic waves. Such
“cutting” will bring no pains to patients and is the true “no-wound” treatment.

World Richest Resources of Ancient Bird Fossils

The 5th World Conference on Ancient Birds and their Evolutions (Workshop on Hot River Biological Communities) was held in Beijing on June 1, 2000. It is reported that China has not only discovered the richest ancient bird fossils in the world on its territories, but also ranked the leading position in the associated studies. China has become one of major countries in the world studying ancient bird fossils.

Since the 1990s, many vertebrate fossils have been discovered in the west of Liaoning Province and the north of Hebei Province. The discovery of these bird, amphibian, reptile, mammal and angiosperm fossils has caused a stir in the international academic communities for they may explain the major concerns of paleobiological communities such as the flying origin of birds, the evolution and radiation of earlier mammals and the origin of angiosperm. Of them, the bird fossils were deemed as one of the most important discoveries since the discovery of the first archaeopteryx in the field of paleobiology.

It is reported that the earlier bird fossils unearthed in China have overwhelmed the world not only by its quantity exceeding the total discovered in the other parts of the world but also by the rich species and fine preservation. In the west Liaoning, the unique fossils of the socalled hairy dinosaurs such as China Dinosaur Bird, Beipiao Dinosaur and China Bird Dinosaur were discovered. These fossils supported the scenario that birds origin from dinosaurs.

In addition to the fine materials collected, Chinese paleobiologists have harvested remarkable results in the studies of ancient birds and hot river biological communities. In a short period of five years, Chinese scientists have published 14 papers in world renowned publications such as Nature and Sciences, which is also unique for China's natural scientific communities.

The said Conference was held in Asia for the first time since its foundation. Paleobiologists from different countries discussed many related issues such as the origin of birds and the evolution of earlier birds. The Conference was sponsored by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleozoology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Clinical Cancer Biotherapy

Newly restructured human cancer necrosin -NC grade I national new drug has recently passed the approval by State Pharmaceutical Administration for phase II clinical testing in Beijing.

Recent years have witnessed the rapid development of cancer biotherapy both at home and abroad and it has become the fourth cancer treatment modes following operation, radiation and chemical therapies. The newly restructured human cancer necrosin jointly developed by Sanjiu Yigong Biochemistry Co. Ltd. and No. 2 Military Medical School, with the help of genetic and protein engineering techniques, is of strong cancer resistance with little side effect. Its long existence in human body may cause the bleeding and decaying of cancer tissues and therefore directly kill cancer cells, curb the growth of cancer cells and improve the immune system. Fine results have been seen in animal testing in the lab. Phase I clinical testing made at No. 307 Hospital since last year have shown no apparent or
ganic damage to cancer patients.

It is reported that the new drug has been approved by authorities concerned to start its phase two clinical testing at No. 307 Hospital, Beijing Cancer Hospital and Beijing Chest Cancer Hospital.

New High Quality Wheat Species for Bread

Zhongyou 9507, a new wheat species dedicated to high-quality bread making developed by Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences has recently passed the assessment of authorities concerned. Its extended growing will ease the shortage of fine Chinese wheat.

Researchers of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences started their studies of fine wheat species from the early 1980s and obtained some results. However, these results have not formed massive production scale because of the low yield.

During the 9th Five-Year Plan period, under the support of relevant national S&T programs, Chinese scientists worked out the fine new wheat species “Zhongyou 9507”. As shown by the testing results produced by Grain Testing Center of Ministry of Agriculture and International Center for Corn and Wheat Improvement, the new species has reached international class one standard for fine wheat species and is the best Chinese made wheat species for bread making.

The yield intercomparison experiments conducted in Beijing and Tianjin respectively during 1996-1999 and extended growing experiments in Baodi, Tianjin, have demonstrated that its per mu yield may reach 400-500 kilos. This new species is a fine combination for fine quality and high yield. Suitable for the extensive growing in China's northern winter wheat growing area, the new species has been listed in the socalled Leaping Across Program for agricultural S&T improvements.

       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. 2580