China Science & Technology Digest:
January 1-15, 2003
This digest summarizes S&T-related articles that appeared in the media ATIP monitored in the first half of January 2003. Some articles reference a relevant website to assist readers in obtaining further information. For questions or to request additional information, please send email to ChinaST@atip.or.jp.
China's Unmanned Spaceship Lands
China's unmanned spaceship "Shenzhou IV" has returned to earth from its six-day flight. It landed at 7:16 p.m. on January 5, in the middle of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China.
During its space mission that lasted six days and eighteen hours, "Shenzhou IV" circled the earth 108 times. As the fourth unmanned capsule in China's ongoing manned space program, "Shenzhou IV" will been identical to the spaceship that China is going to launch in its future manned space program, except there were no people aboard the flight this time.
According to China's manned flight program, which began in 1992, a number of unmanned test flights will be launched before Chinese astronauts are sent into space. China's previous three unmanned spaceships include "Shenzhou I" launched by "Long March" carrier rocket on November 20, 1999, "Shenzhou II" launched on January 10, 2001, and "Shenzhou III" on March 25, 2002.
Source: Xinhuanet 01/05/2003
China Rapidly Developing Biotechnology and Bio-Industry
In order to rapidly develop its bio-industry, the Chinese government has invested some 10 billion yuan (approx. US$1.2 billion) in this sector in the past two years. Today, there are nearly 200 major biotechnology laboratories funded by governments at various levels, with more than 40,000 technological and research personnel. As the only developing country participating in the international human genome project, China has finished one percent of the sequence test and independently completed the sequence draft for the gene groups of a hybrid rice. It is also the first country to locate and clone the gene causing high-frequency nerve deafness and some genes causing hereditary diseases. Chinese scientists have also succeeded in cloning a goat and cow.
Source: Xinhua News Agency 01/04/2003
Nuclear Power Plant Completed in South China
The 2 million kw Ling'ao Nuclear Power Plant in Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong Province, was completed when its second generating unit officially began commercial operations on January 8. As a result, the province now has two nuclear power plants working with a combined capacity of 4 million kilowatts. The other nuclear plant is located in Daya Bay, only one kilometer from Ling'ao. Each plant has two one million kw generating units in operation.
Source: Xinhuanet 01/08/2003
New Generation Nuclear Reactor Put into Use in China
China's first high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor has been connected to the electricity grid and started operation. The nuclear reactor, located 40 kilometers from downtown Beijing, and representing a total investment of 250 million yuan (approx. US$30 million), has a power generation capacity of ten megawatts. It is able to create a temperature three times higher than conventional nuclear reactors, leading to a high power generating capacity. Helium is used as its coolant. China is the fifth country to have this technology, following the United States, Britain, Germany, and Japan.
Source: Xinhuanet 01/07/2003
China Develops Its First Automatic Biochemical Analyzer
The Changchun Institute of Optical Devices and Physics has developed an automatic biochemical analyzer. The analyzer, a medical measurement instrument commonly used in clinical treatment, is the first of its kind developed by Chinese scientists. An automatic biochemical analyzer is an efficient medical measurement device with multiple functions capable of providing prompt data concerning the functioning of a patient's blood, heart, and liver. Although the automatic biochemical analyzer is widely used in western countries, only large Chinese hospitals can afford it, due to its high price. The new Chinese product will be introduced at a lower price, and it is estimated that revenues from the project will reach 100 million yuan (approx. US$ 12.4 million) by the year 2005.
Source: Xinhuanet 01/06/2003
Hydrogen-Powered Car Introduced
Scientists in Shanghai have developed the city's first hydrogen-powered car, which runs on fuel cells. It mixes hydrogen with oxygen to generate energy that is transformed into electricity. It can reach speeds up to 110 kilometers per hour, while producing water as its only emission. The project is one of the country's twelve key scientific projects during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005). The car, called Chao Yue I, was built using the chassis of a Santana 2000. Shanghai Fuel Cell Vehicle Power train Co., composed of Tongji University and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., spent one year and used a 37.9 million yuan (approx. US$4.57 million) grant from the central government to develop the new hydrogen-based engine. The government has offered an additional 80 million yuan (approx. US$9.6 million) to help the company develop the technology through 2004. Researchers hope to begin mass production of hydrogen-powered cars in China within the next seven or eight years. While other countries are further along in developing the technology, none have begun mass production of such vehicles.
Source: Eastday.com 01/13/2003
Beijing-Kowloon Double-Track Railway Completed
The last section of the Beijing-Kowloon Railway’s double-track line, one of the major north-south trunk lines in China, has been put into operation. Construction on the Longchuan-Dongguan section of the double-track line, with a length of 220 kilometers, began in March 2001. The project cost a total of 2.698 billion yuan (approx. US$325 million). The Beijing-Kowloon Railway connects China's capital to Kowloon, in Hong Kong. The railway’s single line was put into operation in 1996, but a dramatic increase in the number of passengers and amount of freight has made construction of a double-track a necessity.
Source: Xinhua News Agency 01/11/2003
Hepatitis Biochip Marks Breakthrough in Medicine
Chinese scientists have developed a biochip to quickly detect the virus that causes hepatitis C. The liver illness has infected about 40 million Chinese, mainly through contaminated blood. The silica-origin protein chip detects the hepatitis C virus in blood samples more efficiently and accurately than the current method of ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay). The detection kit for hepatitis C antibodies chip was allowed to enter the Chinese market last October. China has also reported a high rate of hepatitis B. Around 10 percent of its nearly 1.3 billion people are infected by the virus. About 25 percent of those infected are likely to develop chronic hepatitis B.
Source: China Daily 01/03/2003
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