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

N0.260 May 30,2001
* China's Eye-Catching S&T Achievements for the 9th Five-Year Plan

* China's Eight Key Technology Systems for Agriculture

* Agricultural Incubators' Rich Results

* Earliest Ocean in the World

* China's Advanced Short Term Climate Prediction

* Inner Earth Telescope

* Breakthrough in Soy Bean Processing


 China's Eye-Catching S&T Achievements for the 9th Five-Year Plan

During the 9th Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000) China has applauded for its breakthroughs in key technologies in a number of major S&T fields and eye- catching progresses and achievements. At the news briefing sponsored by the Chinese Mini stry of Science and Technology on May 16, 2001, 11 associations such as China Ma chinery Engineering Association, China Metallurgy Association and Chinese Associ ation on Medical Sciences have publicized their major S&T achievements made in t heir respective areas during the 9th Five-Year Plan period.

In the field of machinery industry, major progresses have been made in the full fledged extension of computer based design techniques, the extensive improvement of sophisticated shaping and processing techniques and the development of digitally controlled machine tools.

As far as the iron and steel industry is concerned, the products composition has seen rationalized restructuring with its continuous casting ratio and blast  f urnace blowing coal dust techniques approaching the world advanced level.  

In the railway based transportation sector, the train speed pick-up has marked a historical breakthrough with overall technical upgrading for railway constructi on and transport security support.

In the field of auto industry, the comprehensive technical level of auto product s' has been raised to a new stage with major progress made in developing new auto fuels.

The instrument manufacturing sector has realized the industrial production of mi crowave vector network analyzer at milietric level, making China became the seco nd country mastering the technology in the world after US, and it has also devel oped the complete electric quantum metric standards.

In the field of medical sciences, China has completed the DNA sequencing of man' s 1% genes under the human genome project and landed major progresses in the stu dies of cloning human genes causing genetic diseases and decryption of genetic c odes of pathogenic microbes.

In addition, China has harvested proud achievements in the fields of civil engin eering, hydraulic works, agriculture, forestry and resources. China's technologi es of bridge designing and construction and construction of sky scrapers and lar ge span structures have ranked among the world advanced. China's water resources  development and utilization and overall level of ecological environment studies have stepped onto a new stage. Its integrated high yield making technologies for the extensive growing of five major crops have provided the technical support for China's food security. Breakthroughs have been seen in the development of ke y technologies controlling the desertification. The applications of remote sensing, computers and geographic information technology have helped China to accurat ely and completely measure its land resources for the first time.

China's Eight Key Technology Systems for Agriculture

In the next 15 years, to raise its agricultural production quality and level on an overall basis, China's S&T priorities for its agricultural development will cover eight major technological fields such as yield increasing, fine quality, high efficiency and farming machinery. The head of the Dept. of Rural Areas and Social Development, Ministry of Science and Technology has disclosed the following thrusts:

Develop the yield increasing technologies aiming at increasing the unit yield of agricultural produce and comprehensive production capacity. The priorities will  be placed on developing the new high-yield and fine-quality species of multiple resistance for grains and cotton and the associated industrialized techniques, the planting techniques for major fine quality and high yield crops, the biotechniques for disasters control, the new species screening and intensive breeding techniques for animal and aquatic products.

Develop the sophisticated technologies aiming at improving the quality of the ag ricultural produce and market competitiveness with priorities on the application s and industrialization of the major fine agricultural species, the development of green, high quality and clean farming technologies, the key technologies on the physiological and property improvement of animal and plant species so as to f undamentally change the poor quality of China's current agricultural produce and establish the quality control system in line with international norms.

Develop efficient technologies for the purpose of improving farmers' income and the overall agricultural economic benefits with the major focuses on animal and aquatic products processing techniques for high added values, the in-depth proce ssing of agricultural produce and fruits and vegetable freshness keeping, and provide the advanced, practical, simple and mature technologies for vast rural areas.

Develop the agricultural high technologies with a highlight on biotechniques and information technology.  To greatly improve the S&T level in the field of agriculture, priorities will be given to the studies of genetic modification engineering that will improve the resistance and quality of the animals and plants, enzyme engineering technology, bio-degradation technology, microbe utilization technology and gene based animal vaccines, and associate the processes of practical applications, commercialization, industrialization.

Develop the comprehensive supporting technology for the regional rural economic development with stress on the comprehensive regional agricultural supporting te chnologies including technology engineering, scale and practical application pro cess and the R&D of market circulation, aiming at providing S&T support for taki ng full advantage of China's diversified regional strength, associated applicati ons and economic development.

In addition, the set of priorities also train their focus on the key technologie s maintaining the sustained utilization of agricultural resources and strengthen ing environmental protection, developing the industrialized farming technology f or the purpose of improving modern material input level, and developing the infrastructure construction technologies for strengthening the sustainable development of agriculture.

Agricultural Incubators' Rich Results

During the 9th Five-Year Plan period, Chinese Ministry of Science and Technolo gy has launched the so-called 'efficient industrialized farming demonstration' an d  found its implementation in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Liaoning and Guangdong respectively. In the period of the five years, these demonstration projects have not only harvested quite a number of major S&T results and fine economic benefits but also become the incubators stimulating the industrialized farming activities in the country.

At present, China's industrialized farming facilities have reached a preliminary  scale with the erection of modern greenhouses of China's own design, manufacturing and characteristics.  These facilities include S&T demonstration parks, engineering demonstration parks and attached greenhouses, plastic film covered farml and and solar greenhouses with a total area amounting to 10,000 hectares and localization rate of 95%-99%.

Seeds and seedling breeding techniques have seen remarkable innovative improveme nt.  While introducing massive quality species from abroad, China has screened o ut and bred 944 greenhouse species suitable for 5 major ecological types in the country. Of these new species, the ones of vegetables reach 550 in number, which provide rich alternatives for industrialized farming products and the substitut ions for imported ones. In addition, 12 industrialized seedling bases have been established, which have basically realized the standardization, fine species scr eening process and commercialization of vegetable seedling breeding.

The facility based vegetables growing has made fine quality and high yield possi ble. A set of procedures for greenhouse based high yield and quality vegetables growing have been established and technical specifications and quantitative management indicators have been developed for 20 and more types of vegetables. In addition, the computer based decision making supporting system has been perfected and diseases and pests prevention and control system for green vegetables improv ed. 

Now China's comprehensive management and control of its industrialized farming f acilities and environment has reached internationally advanced level. Applied wi th the imported technologies as well as independent innovations, Shanghai has designed and manufactured China's first 3300m2 intelligent plastic film covered gr eenhouses with its intelligent functions, automatic environment control and tuni ng system and facilities and instruments equipped reaching the world latest level. Some key technologies of the Liaoshen I daylight greenhouse have found extensive applications in numerous areas in the country. Huabei Double Deck inflated a ttached greenhouse  and energy efficient greenhouse series that met the demand o f southeast China have reached the internationally advanced level.

China's after-production processing techniques have also seen a raised new leve l. The said demonstration projects have established a basic technical system for vegetable harvesting, pre-cooling, graded processing, package, storage and circ u lation and improved the cooling chain circulation system made of after-harvest p recooling, lower temperature processing, freshness keeping, lower temperature sh ipping and air-condition based sales. In addition, they have developed pressure difference based precooling system and refrigerator warehouse as well as the coo ling chain operational processes for 10 major vegetables.

It is briefed that during the five years seeing the implementation of the projec ts, S&T demonstration parks have produced 50,000 tons of vegetables with an output value of RMB 160 million, flowers 20.4 million with an output value of RMB 120 million and foreign currency from export USD 11.96 million. 


Earliest Ocean in the World

Zunhua prefecture of China's Hebei Province has kept the oceanic crust remains d ated back to 2.5 billion years ago and these remains have recently been conf irme d by the international scientific community the earliest oceanic crust remains discovered so far in the world, or 500 million years older than the one that had previously won the world acknowledgement as the ‘oldest’.

Experts believed that the discovery of the intact snake green rocks of 2.5 billion years of age in north China has not only provided the most direct geological evidence for people's further understanding of the earth's childhood but also proved the fact that the plate drifuing and collision had already taken place 2.5 billion years ago and constituted a large scale horizontal movement in North China area.

The said major discovery was made by the research team headed by Dr. Li Jianghai, Dept. of Geology, Peking University. In the collaboration with their US counterparts, a paper on the detailed discovery was published in Sciences on May 11, 2001 which caused a great stir in the international geological community. Prof. Kevin Burg, Chairman of International Lithosphere Committee and an academician of US Academy of Sciences thought highly of the finding and commented: “Chinese discovery has pushed the plate tectonics.”

Scientists have collected 3000 and more rock samples that weighed about 2 tons. Li Jianghai said: “these collections have not only contained oceanic crust remains but also some ancient earth mantle rocks. The intactness of these oceanic crusts has proved really amazing though they have gone through myriad-year weathering. The rock samples have covered all the different levels which are desirable for restoring the original face of oceanic crust 2.5 billion years ago.”

China's Advanced Short Term Climate Prediction

China's Short Term Climate Prediction System, a major S&T project on the priority list of China's 9th Five-Year Plan has recently passed the approval checks, which shows China's internationally advanced level in short term climate forecasting. Built upon the dynamic climate model and mainstreamed with the statistics-dy namics approach, the study of the comprehensive short term climate prediction technology has turned out an operational system made up of short term climate monitoring, predicting, impacts assessment and services. The said operational system have played an important role in the operational climate forecasting during the period of 1998-2000.

It is reported that once into the operation, the system has remarkably improved the accuracy of China's short term climate prediction. As is shown by the scores made on summer precipitation prediction during the period of 1998-2000, the climate prediction at national level has improved by 4% against that before the 9th Five-Year Plan period and the one at regional level by 5%-10% with an improved relevant coefficient between prediction and actual happening at 12%, ranked the internationally advanced. Up to date, the project has produced 592 research or technical papers, 6 monographs, 8 dedicated issues of academic journals and 5 paper collections.

Inner Earth Telescope

Chinese scientists have recently kicked off its drilling of the first deep earth well in Asia. Designed with a diameter of 156 mm and a depth of 5,000 m, the deep earth well is physically located at Maobei Village, Donghai County, Jiangsu Province and the drilling has been going smoothly. Referred to a telescope penetrating deeply into the inner earth, the project is the first of its kind in Asia in terms of its depth. Upon the completion, the observation instrument will be sent to the depth of 5,000 m to directly obtain the first hand data and information there.

The reason behind the choice is the site sits at the east of Dabie-Jiangsu-Shandong super high pressure zone of metamorphism, a best spot to study the super high pressure metamorphism, a cutting edge earth science topic. In addition, numerous minerals such as diamond, disthene, pyrope and crystal are discovered there. In this context, the deep earth well will create a new approach to knowing and developing the mineral resources there and studying the mining of  super high pressure metamorphism. Donghai county is linked with a nearby earthquake belt. The earthquake and geostress observed in the long deep drilling to numerous earthquake prone levels will provide physical basis for the seismological forecasting. The said deep earth well is also the one going through the deepest mountain making belts in the world. Upon its completion, the scientists will establish a long term observation and experimental base there, the first of its kind in Asia. In the meanwhile, the first continental scientific drilling and earth physical data and information bank and the first sample rock core lab studying earth mantle matters will also be established there, which will promote China's studies of super pressure metamorphism and earth mantle matters to the internationally advanced level.

Breakthrough in Full Gene Cloning

A brand new gene called JWA after the name of Zhou Weijian, a young lecturer wor king for Nanjing Medical University, has recently witnessed a breakthrough. Zhou and his lab have found that the biological function of this very active gene is related to the occurrence of malignant tumors and senile dementia.

Zhou Weijian used to work in the capacity of visiting scholar on cells and molecular biology at Davis School of UCLA in 1996. During his two-year studies, Zhou cloned a brand new gene related to cell separation, the first of his cloning of a complete new gene in the lab, and applied for new gene number at the US National Gene Bank.  When he returned to China, Nanjing Medical University he worked for has paid great attention to his studies and helped him to establish a molecular toxicology lab with the appropriations for key lab construction.  In addition, the school allocated the dedicated fund for his application for national invention patent. In 2000, the Lab headed by Zhou cloned another gene sharing the same source as JWA and applied for new gene number at the US Gene Bank. Up to date, the scientists all over the world have altogether found 5 genes sharing the same source as JWA. During his recent studies, Zhou discovered that the gene was of a clear relationship with the active and chronic granulocytic leukemia and on the basis of the new clues, they have also found the evidence associating the gene with the occurrence of senile dementia.  


Breakthrough in Soy Bean Processing

Thanks to his many-year studies, Mr. Jiang Haokui, a Chinese bioengineering  expert has successfully extracted isoflavone and saponated glucoside from soy beans with his findings filed for national patent protection.  The said development marks a major breakthrough in China's in-depth soy bean processing.

On the basis of more than a thousand trials and errors, Dr. Jiang extracted the rare isoflavone and saponated glucoside in the process extracting soy bean protein and compound sugar with the help of the latest bioengineering technology. His findings have made the long cherished wishes of many scientists come true.

Recent years have seen the ascending occurrences of cancers and cardiovascular diseases in China. The said major finding is doubtlessly a fresh good news to the patients. In the meanwhile, China is a larger country for soy bean production with its annual capacity at 20 million tons, ranking the fourth place in the world. The industrialization of the said technology will play an important role in raising the technical added values of soy bean products.

Green Epoxy Propane Technology

Chinese scientists have recently worked out a new technology able to turn propylene into epoxy propane, which is able to avoid the pollutant by-product in the industrial production of epoxy propane. As is reported by the new issue of Science Weekly, the developers of  this 'greener' technology are the researchers working for Dalian Institute of Chemophysics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. With oxydol as an oxidant, they used tungsten based catalyst to oxidize propylene. While being used together with oxydol, the said tungsten based catalyst is soluble.  However, when the oxydol runs out, the tungsten will deposit and become easy to come out, leaving the catalyst for cyclic use. In this context, the new technology will not bring out the by-product that will contaminate the environment in comparison with the traditional epoxy propane manufacturing technology.

       Comments or inquiries on editorial matters or Newsletter content should be directed to:Mr. Cheng Jiayi, Department of International Cooperation, MOST 15B, Fuxing Road Beijing 100862, PR China  Tel: (8610)68512650 Fax: (8610) 68512594