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



November 10,2006







*China’s New S&T Development Plan

* 3D SARS Protein Maps

* Space Medicine

* China’s Global Satellite Navigation System

* Taking Ocean Temperature




China’s New S&T Development Plan

Not long ago, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Development and Reform Commission jointly published China’s national S&T development plan for the 11th Five-year period (2006-2010). The Plan, designed to implement the National Outline for Medium and Long Term S&T Development Planning (2006-2020) (hereinafter referred to as the Planning Outline), will work on the following missions and tasks.

Surrounding the general goals defined by the Planning Outline for S&T development in the future 15 years, efforts will be made to raise the proprietary innovation capacity in the following five areas in next five years: 1)  strengthening key technology innovations in the areas of energy, resources, and environment, and enhancing the capability of addressing bottleneck restrictions, in line with major national economic needs; 2) strengthening the technical innovation part of industry, with focus on acquiring proprietary intellectual property, and noticeably enhancing the core competitiveness of major sectors, including agriculture, industry, and service industry; 3) strengthening technology integrations, and enhancing S&T service for public good sectors, including population, health, public security, urbanization, and urban development; 4) responding to the new needs of defense modernization and to nontraditional security concerns, and enhancing S&T support for national security; and 5) making deployments in the visionary areas of basic research and cutting-edge technology, and enhancing the capacity building of sustained S&T innovations.


During the 11th Five-year plan period, step will be taken to establish a national innovation system, agreeable with the socialist market economy and the natural rhythm of S&T development, in an attempt to create a rational S&T development pattern, and strive for major breakthroughs and leaping development in the selected priority areas. The endeavor will raise China’s R&D expenditure to 2% as a proportion of GDP, allowing China to become an S&T power with strong proprietary innovation capacity, and laying a foundation for making China part of innovation economies in the world.


The Plan also puts forwards eight tasks for implementing the Planning Outline, including 1) pooling up forces to implement major special projects defined by the Planning Outline, with focus on strategic objectives; 2) strengthening efforts to address urgent concerns in the fields of energy, resources, environment, agriculture, information, and health; 3) grasping future development opportunities, and making deployments in the visionary areas of cutting-edge technology and basic research; 4) enhancing sharing mechanism, and establishing platforms for sharing S&T infrastructure facilities and conditions; 5) implementing the strategy of high caliber personnel, and strengthening the capacity building of S&T workforce; 6) creating an environment agreeable with popular science activities and innovative cultures; 7) making industry a major player, and advancing the construction of a national innovation system of Chinese characteristics; 8) strengthening S&T innovation, and safeguarding defense security. 




3D SARS Protein Maps


Thanks to their 3-year painstaking efforts, Chinese and European scientists have landed major progresses in SARS related collaborations. Genetic analysis of eight SARS proteins has unveiled the 3-D structure of SARS viruses, and led to the discovery of natural anti-SARS elements in traditional medicinal herbs and fruits, such as Chinese gooseberry.


China-EU collaboration on SARS diagnosis and research makes the first cooperation project under the EU’s 6th research framework, in the context of the equal participation of both sides, namely four institutes from each side. According to a briefing made by Prof. Rolf Hilgenfeld at German Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, Chinese and European scientists have completed the genetic analysis of the proteins in eight SARS viruses, and worked out their 3D structures. Derived from the study are 24 active anti-SARS viruses compounds, of which a number of compounds enjoy a wide spectrum anti-viruses activity.


What makes European scientists most excited is they have discovered natural elements in medicinal herbs that are resistant to SARS viruses. JIANG Hualiang, a scientist working for the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM), part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told reporters that such natural elements can be found in numerous fruits, including Chinese gooseberry, hawkthorn, and orange. Chinese gooseberry, in particular, has a higher concentration of such elements, compared with others. The discovery is important to the future drug development, as the elements produce no side effects. However, JIANG cautions that the finding does not mean mere eating Chinese gooseberry can fend off SARS viruses, as the fruit contains very limited amount of the elements.




Space Medicine


XU Guanhua, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, visited on November 5, 2006 Xi’an Hengtong Pharmaceuticals, a space medicine manufacturer, and was briefed of the R&D and production activities there.   


Hengtong Pharmaceuticals, a national high tech business acknowledged by the Ministry of Science and Technology, has passed through the nation’s GMP accreditation for its domestically advanced levels in equipment making, energy efficiency, environmental protection, and management.  Shenzhou III oral liquid, a high tech product financed by the National 863 Program twice, is a proprietary space biomedicine aboard the spacecraft. Chinese scientists triggered gene mutations in the bacteria culture, where the oral liquid is produced, taking advantage of special space environment, including microgravity, alternating magnetic field, cosmic rays, and drastic change of temperatures. The repeated experience of space environment has resulted in mutations in bacteria. As a result, the bacteria produces metabolites rich in T-factor, with a peptide concentration three or five times the one before the onboard experiment. The enhanced concentration, much higher than the national standard, has noticeably raised the therapeutic effects. According to experts, the new medicine is highly efficient, safe, toxicity free, and containing no hormones or chemical synthesizer.  T-factor has a function to activate the bone marrow stem cells in human immune system, and enhance the production of new immune cells, which is desirable for stepping up human immunity in a short time. The new drug is of fine therapeutic effects on immune diseases, including respiratory tract infection, aplastic anemia, cancers, and leucopenia.


China’s Global Satellite Navigation System


China announced not long ago that it has been working on a proprietary global satellite navigation system. The system, named Dipper, has successfully launched 3 experimental navigation satellites since 2000, in a move to establish an experimental navigation system. Designed to provide a range of GPS services for China and its adjacent areas, the experimental system has played an important role in providing required service for a number of sectors, including mapping, telecommunication, water resources, traffic and transportation, fishery, prospecting, and forest fire fighting.


The Dipper satellite navigation system under construction is made up of 5 geostationary and 30 non-geostationary satellites, providing two types of services, including open service and authorized service. Open service provides free positioning, speed measuring, and clock service, with a respective precision of 10m, 0.2m/s, and 50 nanosecond. Authorized service provides users more sophisticated service for the same items, plus telecommunication and system information service.


China plans to launch two navigation satellites in early 2007, which will operate to meet the needs of China and its adjacent areas for satellite based navigation around 2008, and to be a base for further networking and experiments that will lead to a full range global satellite navigation system.


China is wiling to work together with other countries to improve the compatibility and inter-operations between the Dipper system and other similar systems in the world, promoting applications of satellite positioning, navigation, and clock service.


Taking Ocean Temperature


It is reported at the 7th ARGO data management meeting opened on November 1, 2006 that China has so far deployed 35 buoys that automatically transmit data to satellites over the northwest Pacific and the Indian Ocean, since its joining the global oceanic observation system.


ARGP program has, since its implementation in 2000, set up a goal to establish a global oceanic observation network made up of 3,000 buoys, in an effort to collect real time sea water temperature and salinity data at a depth of 2000m over the oceans. With the participation of 24 countries and organizations, the Program has, as of August 2006, deployed 2,552 ARGO buoys over the global waters.


LIN Shaohua, Director of National Marine Data & Information Service (NMDIS), told reporters that China has established an ARGO data center. Under the principle of common participation and data sharing, China has shared the data collected from more than 2,000 buoys. NMDIS has provided service for some 50 domestic institutions and individuals using updated daily data, which are used extensively in diverse studies, including marine, climate, typhoon, and El Nino phenomenon.


China is currently speeding up the development of its proprietary new buoys. With the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, domestic research institutes have developed and field tested China's Ocean Profiling Explorer (COPEX).


Modernized Animal and Plant Growing System


China has established and perfected a modernized technical system for growing both animals and plants, through an initiative to address key agricultural technologies in the 10th Five-year period (2001-2005). The effort has greatly raised the technical level of the industry, and associated economic returns.


The demonstration project has rolled out a range of proven technologies, including standardized cow breeding, quality feeds production, major cow diseases prevention and control, and cow nutrition regulating. The project has developed diverse technical modalities tailored to different breeding areas in the country, including modern dairy production in large cities, standardized dairy production in the rural areas, dairy production in the area mixed with farming and stock raising, and ecological dairy production in north China. The efforts has raised unit milk yield from 5000 kg to 6500 kg, greatly increased the economic return of dairy industry.  


The project also worked on the key technologies for breeding lean pig, egg layer, meat chicken, aquatic animals, finewool sheep, and mutton, technologies for scale breeding and nutrition regulating, and technologies for developing and utilizing feed resources. Rolled out from the project are an array of new technologies and products for feeds, additives, nutrition regulation, and rumen regulating, with 10 new veterinary drugs, and 18 vaccines for 9 major diseases. The sub-project of environment friendly prawn breeding has realized a unit yield of 4.34kg/m2. Six immunity enhancers and water quality regulators, also derived from the project, have added technical means to wave resistant cage breeding, and advanced shallow or inland water breeding, with both improved product quality and water environment.


Researchers also developed soilless culture techniques for growing tomato, cucumber, water melon, and lettuce, and special facilities for growing tomato trees on a soilless basis. They worked out different rotation modalities for different soils and diseases, and integrated techniques for breeding new varieties of walnut, chestnut, apple, pear, orange, peach, Chinese gooseberry, and grape. Researchers also produced a technique for treating sweet melon’s downy mildew. The integrated techniques for growing pulp timbers, also derived from the project, has raised the stand growth by13.8%, and the technique for growing veneer and homebuilding timbers by 14.1%. 


Enhanced Farming Mechanization


With the support of an initiative for addressing key agricultural technologies in the 10th Five-year period, Chinese researchers have worked out an array of farming machineries, which not only raises the mechanization level of agricultural production activities, but also their economic returns.


In the course of developing major farming machineries for rice, corn, rape, and grazing grass, researchers have produced a wide range of machineries, including rice seeder, high speed hybrid rice transplanter, walking/carrying corn harvester, potato seeder/fertilizer applier, combined harvester for potato, rape fertilizer applier/seeder, multifunction combined rape harvester, sugar cane harvester, plough free corn seeder/deep tiller, plough free wheat seeder with stalk picking and smashing functions, proprietary automatic pruning machine with remote control function, innovative super low speed and multifunction nursery stock bed shifter, and intelligent seed processing equipment. The efforts has greatly raised the level of farming mechanization and associated economic returns.  


High speed rice transplanter, an advanced and cost effective machine for growing rice, can serve an area of 450 mu(1 mu= 0.0667 hectare). Application of key techniques and supporting tools can raise the corn yield by 10% or more, or wheat yield by 6%, with a saving of RMB 104 per mu. The techniques and associated tools have been used over 205,800 mu of cropland in some 50 counties, produced a direct economic return worth RMB 21.4 million a year. The 1,162 plough free seeders, derived from the initiative, have produced a sale of RMB 9.296 million. Key technologies and supporting tools for harvesting grazing grass seeds and post handling have raised the seeds quality from grade III to grade I, with an increase margin by 20%. In the meanwhile, the treated seeds have produced an added value worth RMB 1800-2400 a ton.


The advanced pesticide application techniques and machines have resulted in a saving of pesticides by 50%. Calculating on 20% machine spraying in orchards, and 15% for rice, 38,500 tons of pesticides can be saved each year, equivalent to a sum ranging from  RMB 770 million to 1.155 billion, based on the pricing of RMB 20,000 – 30,000 a ton. It apparently promises a broad application perspective for fine economic, social, and environmental returns.   


China’s Mie Scattering Lidar


China’s first Mie scattering Doppler lidar, developed by the Anhui Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics, and Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has recently passed an approval check for its successful performance. The lidar makes high resolution remote sounding of atmospheric wind fields possible. As an innovative means for atmospheric sounding, the advanced Doppler system constitutes an only effective tool for observing 3-D atmospheric wind fields at a worldwide scale. The system measures the echoes bouncing back from boundary layers and lower troposphere, using Doppler effects, and collects accurate 3-D wind field data of high spatial and temporal resolution, through analyzing the measurements. It makes a desirable solution to measuring wind shears that threaten lower air aviation activities, and is of an application perspective for a string of areas, including weather forecast, environmental protection, defense, and airfields.


       Comments or inquiries on editorial matters or Newsletter content should be directed to:

Mr. Mao Zhongying, Department of International Cooperation, MOST 15B, Fuxing Road Beijing 100862, PR China  Tel: (8610)58881360 Fax: (8610) 58881364