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

N0.231 August 10,2000
    * ChinaBrazil’s Second Earth Resources Satellite
    * ChinaGermany Working on Desertification Control
    * China’s Wetland Biodiversity Protection
    * World First PCR
    * China′s Nodamage Rocket Engine Testing
    * China’s Major Breakthrough in Rice Gene Separati

ChinaBrazil’s Second Earth Resources Satellite

On July 19, 2000, China and Brazil signed the contract in Beijing on the joint
development of their second earth resources satellite.

ChinaBrazil’s first earth resources satellite, a role model on southsouth
cooperation was launched by LongMarch IV carrier rocket in China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launching Center on October 14, 1999. Its developing technology has reached
the internationally advanced level in the 1990s. It is reported that the life
expectancy of the first earth satellite is 2 years. Improved on the basis of its predecessor, the second satellite will have a better performance and reliability. According to the agreements reached between the two governments, the second
earth satellite will be assembled and tested in Brazil. In this context, the Chinese side will send its space experts with necessary equipment to work in Brazil. The new satellite is scheduled to be delivered to and launched at China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launching Center. When it is in the orbit, it will work in place of its predecessor.

It is reported that the first earth satellite has worked smoothly for nine months in the orbit and sent back rich imagery data. As verified by many remote sensing departments, the pictures are fine in quality with some of the indicators exceeding those of the pictures sent by similar satellites of other countries. Up to date, these imagery data have found extensive applications in different economic sectors of both countries, produced great social and economic benefits. For example, China used the imagery data sent by the satellite to monitor the exten sive hillslides which occurred at Yigonghe, Bomi County, Tibet and obtained the direct overall picture of the areas, which provide valuable information for the fast disaster evaluation by authorities concerned.


ChinaGermany Working on Desertification Control

On July 13, 2000, China and Germany officially signed a financing agreement on the cooperation between the two governments for the ecological construction of the desertified land in Ke'erqin in Inner Mongolia. The project will need a total
investment of Rmb 113.7 million, of which 16 million DM( about 72 million Rmb eqivelent) will be donated by the German Government and China will match the rest with labor.

It is briefed that the project will be organized and managed by the Chifeng Municipal Forestry Bureau for its implementation. The construction will run for five
years with sand control and afforestation activities over an area of 40,250 hectares in 4 districts. In the entire implementation process, the German side will
recruit sand control experts from both China and other countries to provide technical consultation and services for the project and introduce and diffuse advanced domestic and international desertification control techniques so as to make the project a demonstration for deforestation controlling activities of high standards, fine quality and good benefits. In the meanwhile, advanced overseas project management system will be introduced and the socalled reporting system will be practiced in using the donated funds.

China’s Wetland Biodiversity Protection

Sponsored by UNDP with a total budget of USD 34.57 million, “China Wetland Biodiversity Protection and Sustainable Utilization”, the largest of its kind in UNDP’s system and involved in by China’s 6 governmental agencies and research in
stitutions, 5 provinces and 2 international organizations, was formally kicked off on July 20, 2000.

The project covers investigations over the socalled threeriver plains of Heilongjiang Province, coastal wetlands of Yancheng City of Jiangsu Province, Dongting Lake, wetlands of Hunan Province and Ruo’ergai wetlands shared by Sichuan and Gansu. They constitute China’s major wetland types with rich wetland biodiversity. The project is scheduled to run from 2000 to 2004.

It is briefed that the implementation of the project will not only strengthen the wetland biodiversity protection in the target areas, help protect and develop the natural resources and environment of these areas but will also serve as the role model for other wetland protection activities in the country.

Major Breakthroughs in China’s High
Performance Computers Development

It is reported that China has become the third country in the world after US and
Japan that is capable of manufacturing high performance computers. Shenwei I,
the high performance computer of China’s own independent intellectual property
rights with a peak calculation speed at 384 billion floating point per second was put into the commercial operation on July 25, 2000.

It is briefed that the system is ranked in the 48th place among 500 high performance computers running for the commercial operation in the world. 

Capable of scale down or up parallel computations, Shenwei I’s major technological indicators and performance have reached the internationally advanced level.

It represents a major scientific achivement in China’s supercomputer manufacturing and applicating fields and constitutes a breakup for the restrictions imposed by some western countries in the field of high performance computer development.

Established by China Meteorological Administration, based on the computer system
of Shenwei I, Beijing High Performance Computer Application Center also made its debut on July 25,2000 after one year of trial operation. As briefed by the representative of the National Planning and Development Commission, as a component
of national high end computer infrastructures, the Center will be managed on the basis of multiple applications and opened up to the public and gradually make
itself a high caliber high performance computer application and development base
in the country.

It is reported that the applications of Shenwei I system have mainly covered weather and climate, aviation and space, information security, oil field surveying and life sciences. During its trail operation period, the Center has seen the successful development of a number of Shenwei I based large practical application software. As shown by rough statistics, Shenwei I system has recorded an occupancy rate of 60%, playing a positive role in the national economic development.

For example, the integrated numerical weather prediction system developed jointly with China Meteorological Administration is able to produce 32 samples and 10day global weather prediction in eight hours. I has rendered an effective contribution to the meteorological support for major social events such as the celebration of 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and the celebration of Macao resuming its sovereign rights; the human gene cloning system jointly developed with the Institute of Biophysics attached to Chinese Academy of Sciences has seen the completion of the computation on human heart gene cloning with internationally advanced results achieved.

It is disclosed that the second Shenwei I system manufactured by the National Parallel Computer Science Engineering Research Center will be put into operation
in November at Shanghai Supercomputer Center.

World First PCR

The world's first instrument for testing the PCR amplification and hybrids, together with its associated operational systems applauded for its success at Nanjing based Yilai Genetic Medicine Co. Ltd and the patent rights to the technology were granted by the authorities concerned.

The experts panel organized by the National S&T Instrument Development Office has evaluated the testing system and concluded that the gene chip technology is one of the most important edgecutting studies in the fields of life science and medical sciences in the 21st century and one of the major preconditions for the application and diffusion of gene chip technology is to develop the corresponding gene chip testing instrument. At the present stage, there is no gene chip instrument both at home and abroad that can test different properties such as amplification, hybrid, elution, testing and analysis of carps. The successful development of the said instrument will greatly enhance China’s clinical testing techniques in the field.

Nanjing based Yilai Genetic Medicine Co. Ltd. is a high tech business dedicated
to the development of gene chip technology. It is briefed that the successful development of the prototype of the instrument and its associated operational system will lead to the mass production of the instrument early next year. In the near future, Yilai will also bring out some other genetic products such as gene chips for personal identification, infectious diseases diagnosis, genital health and hepatitis diagnosis.

World First Circular Permanent Magnet for Crystal Growth

The world’s first circular permanent magnet for crystal growth recently came in
to being at Hebei Polytechnic University, which is deemed a major breakthrough in addressing the oxygen concentration problem in manufacturing single crystal silicon; hence China has made a great leap in single crystal silicon manufacturing.

Along with the steady improvement of integrated circuits, the expansion of chip face has called for single crystal silicon (a raw material used for making the chip) of a larger diameter. In 1996, the project of permanent magnet simulation for silicon crystal growth under microgravity and oxygen control mechanism undertaken by Prof. Xu Yuesheng of Hebei Polytechnic University was granted with the funding support by the National Natural Science Foundation and Hebei National Science Foundation. Thanks to their 4year painstaking efforts, the research teamheaded by Prof. Xu have worked out a unique circular permanent magnet of stable magnetic field with the matching software for PM magnetic field analysis. The team also developed the first PM direct pulling oven for single crystals and control techniques for the single crystal silicone growth under microgravity and at different levels of oxygen concentration.

The evaluation committee chaired by Liang Junwu, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering believed that the achievement is of China’s own intellectual property rights, positioned in the world advanced. The PM produces no water and electricity consumption nor noise and therefore it is of a bright industrilization prospect.

China’s Nodamage Rocket Engine Testing

It is reported that to scientifically determine the operation life expectancy of
solid rocket engines, the Chinese Naval Academy of Aeronautic Engineering has,
on the basis of thorough analysis and evaluations through twoandodd years of
studies, successfully developed China’s first nodamage automatic testing system for solid rocket engines and successfully installed it after testing the accuracy. Applied with CT mechanism, the system is able to produce original images and data of high quality and overcome such technical difficulties as moving, positioning, centering and general testing. The system is running smoothly, producing clear images. Its major performance indicators such as space and density resolution reach the internationally advanced level yet the price is much lower than that of the products manufactured by developed countries.

It is briefed that the said system is the only one of its kind in the country that is able to exercise nodamage testing on solid rocket engines. With its successful development China has ranked among the internationally advanced in the field. In the meanwhile, the achievent is import in promoting the development of the discipline “Aeronautic Propulsion Theory and Engineering” in the Academy.

China’s Major Breakthrough in Rice Gene Separation

Chinese scientists have successfully separated nearly 2000 rice cDNA sections and developed a rive gene chip of unique functions, the first of its kind , by adopting a unique gene separation technology. The socalled MEST technique developed by the research team headed by Prof. Li Debao of the Biotechnology Institute of Zhejiang University has recently been granted with the patent protection by the China National Intellectual Property Right Bureau.

Prof. Dong Haitao of the research team said that the results of extensive experiments have shown that the said technique is able to accelerate the full length cloning and identification of rice cDNA at a large margin, which in turn greatly improves the experiment efficiency and remarkably reduces the input needed by gene cloning.

The first rice gene chip produced by using the technology has proved able to test the variations of genetic expressions and realize the analysis of biological events such as drought, cold and diseases resistance of rice at the genetic level.

Dong added that at the present stage they have cloned a group of genes relating
to triggering the bacterial leafblight of rice by adopting the gene chip technology. He said that in a short period of time they will use the rice gene chip system to make MEST sequencing data available to the public both at home and abroad. In the meanwhile, they will clone several new genes relating to rice resis
tance to both adversities and diseases and establish a service platform for rice
gene research communities.

Obtaining major genes working on rice agricultural properties such as diseases resistance and yield increase is very important in new pesticides development and
selection, environment protection, improvement of rice quality and screening out the rice species of high yield and diseases resistance.

Dong expressed that the technological revolution taking advantage of existing biological information and human genome projects will accelerate the pace of cloning genes with major agricultural properties and implementing rice genome project, which represents opportunities as well as challenges facing the Chinese scientists working on rice molecule biology. At the beginning of the year, the Research and Development of Rice cDNA Gene Chips Classified by Protein Modules and associated projects were financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, National Natural Science Foundation and Zhejiang Provincial Department of Science and Technology.

More than 70,000 Small and 
Medium S&T Enterprises in China

At the ChinaUS Seminar on the Development and Investment Opportunities of Small
and Medium S&T Enterprises, Xu Guanhua, Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology disclosed that the number of Chinese S&T enterprises at small and medium scales has gone over 70,000 with a total employment of 3.3 million and these enterprises have become an important component of the high tech industry in the country.

It is reported that to further support the development of small and medium businesses, the Chinese government has adopted a series of policies. In 1999 a technological innovation fund for small and medium S&T enterprises was established which has provided financial support to 1000 and more projects. The central authorities will also create a pioneering board for small and medium businesses at Chinese stock exchange market. Up to date the country has seen the establishment
of more than 100 high tech businesses incubators, 30 and more university based S&T parks, 20 and odd overseas graduates pioneering parks and 500 and more productivity promotion centers serving for small and medium businesses. These have made fine services and supporting conditions available for the innovation efforts of S&T people.

       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