November 29, 2016                                                                    Issue No. 6
In This Issue

Welcome to latest issue of China D-Tech Watch, which is produced by the Study of Innovation and Technology in China at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. This time around we take a look at the latest data on R&D spending in China released earlier this month by China's National Bureau of Statistics.

Tai Ming Cheung
Comments can be sent to Eric Anderson, Research Analyst, at 

SITC News Team
UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation
ANALYSIS:  China's R&D Investment Growth and Share of Defense R&D
The 2015 national research and development (R&D) figures released by China's National Bureau of Statistics on November 11 indicate that R&D investment in China appears to be healthy and moving forward. Total R&D investment as a percentage of GDP is up. Investment in basic research as a percentage of total R&D investment is also up. Based on a 2013 study by Sun Yutao and Cong Cao, we estimate that national security-related expenditures were approximately RMB 162.6 billion (US $23.6 billion) in 2015.

Chinese state-owned companies should be barred from acquiring companies in the United States, a congressional panel warned in the latest sign of the political sensitivity of increasing Chinese investment. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that Chinese state-owned enterprises could use technologies they acquired to benefit Chinese national interests "to the detriment of US national security."


The US Air Force and the Chinese government are presently trialling the controversial EmDrive space propulsion technology on spacecraft, according to sources in the international space industry.

China will send its first cargo ship, Tiangong-1, into space in 2017, said Qi Faren, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The Tianzhou-1, which literally means "heavenly vessel," will be able to send 5 tons of cargo into space. It is designed to provide supplies for China's future orbiting space station.

Two Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after completing the country's longest manned space mission on board the Tiangong-2 space laboratory. According to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, the return capsule of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carrying the astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong landed safely in the steppes of Inner Mongolia. The astronauts spent 30 days in the space lab, where they carried out medical and scientific experiments, and tested the complex's habitability.

Two astronauts who completed China's longest-ever manned space mission returned to Earth safely. Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, announced that the Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11 manned flight mission, which lasted over a month, was a "complete success."

China will start a third round of astronaut selection in 2017, an official from the Astronaut Center of China said. Huang Weifen, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system with the center, made the announcement at a press conference after the Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11 mission came to completion. In preparation for the manned space station program, the new selection process will pick candidates from air force pilots, space engineers, and technical staff in aerospace-related fields.

China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, recently left its shipyard in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, to start a new training mission, as the carrier's political commissar confirmed it is constantly prepared to fight against enemies. Senior Captain Li Dongyou, the political commissar of the Liaoning, told the Global Times  that "as a military force, we are always combat ready and our combat capacity also needs to be tested by war. At this moment, we are doing our best to promote our strength and use it to prevent war. But we are preparing for actual combat at any time." The Liaoning, the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force, has previously been described as a "surface platform" for tests and training by the PLA's official media, but now has been formally described as having a real combat capacity.

Recent Chinese news suspects the J-15 carrier-based fighter has completed catapult take-offs using China's first aircraft carrier electromagnetic catapult tester. In CCTV interviews, military experts have said that the electromagnetic catapult can greatly improve efficiency in aircraft carrier operations and reduce maintenance costs, but that there still remains a lengthy testing process before it is installed on a ship.

China's first domestically built aircraft carrier will boast a more advanced power system and other designs that are improvements on the nation's first carrier, the Liaoning, which was brought from Ukraine and refurbished, military observers said. They made their comments after state broadcaster CCTV ran video clips of the Liaoning that showed the aircraft carrier is using the original Russian-designed propulsion system.

China has successfully developed a high-speed, intelligent unmanned sea vessel, the People's Liberation Army Daily reported. According to Xinhua, the "SeaFly-01" finished a test at Nanhu Lake in Wuhan on Oct. 27. The 10.25-meter-long vessel has a maximum speed of 45 knots. It was built with carbon fiber material, and is equipped with BeiDou communication navigation technology. It is able to "learn" independently and avoid obstacles, among other functions.


The National Research Center for Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology has officially launched a research project on a "E-class high-performance computer prototype system," which will have calculation speeds 10 times the current fastest in the world. This marks the entrance of China into the research and development stage for the national production of exascale supercomputers.

The Shanghai Science and Technology Commission, under authority of the Ministry of Science and Technology, organized testing and evaluation of an 863 Plan key project on "cyberspace mimicry defense theory and core methods." The project involved a joint team comprised of the PLA Information Engineering University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, and the Chinese Academy of Science Institute of Information Engineering. Theoretical expectations and evaluation results were found to be fully consistent. This indicates great theoretical and methodological innovations in China's network defense field that will lead to breakthroughs in the strategic pattern of "easy to attack; hard to defend" in cyberspace and will change the rules of the network security game.

After three years of construction, a 712-km quantum communication line has opened in east China, making it the world's longest secure quantum telecommunications network in use. The new quantum communication line links Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, to Shanghai. It is part of a 2,000-km quantum communication line connecting Beijing and Shanghai, according to Chen Yu'ao, professor at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei and chief engineer of the Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication line. The 712-km line has 11 stations, according to Chen.


The National Energy Administration and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly released the 13th Five-Year Plan for power development recently. During the next five years, the government will have around 30 million kilowatts of nuclear energy facilities going into operation and have over 30 million kW of such facilities under construction. By 2020, China will have 58 million kW of installed nuclear power, up 16.5 percent year on year.

China's biggest developer and manufacturer of land armaments, China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has for the first time publicly displayed an export version of a new lightweight main battle tank (MBT), dubbed the VT5, at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuha. According to IHS Jane's, the new MBT has a combat weight of between 33 to 36 tons, a relatively light weight in comparison to other MBTS such as the 43-ton ZTZ-96. The tank's weight indicates that it could be used for mountain warfare operations to operate in terrains that are inaccessible to heavier MBTs. Like most other light tanks, the VT5 will most likely be used for reconnaissance and infantry support operations.

In order to further intensify surveillance in the Bay and enhance the force's combat capability, the Bangladesh Navy added two submarines in its fleet for the first time in history. "With the inclusion of the submarines Bangladesh Navy started [its] journey as the three dimensional force," Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Nizamuddin Ahmed said at the handing over ceremony of the submarines at Liaonan shipyard Dalian state, China.

The Indian Navy's latest aircraft carrier, the 65,000-ton supercarrier INS Vishal, the second ship of the Vikrant-class, will be powered by a nuclear reactor, according to anonymous Indian Navy sources. Furthermore, the INS Vishal will be able to accommodate up to 55 aircraft (35 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 20 rotary wing aircraft), launched using a catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) aircraft launch system, incorporating U.S. defense contractor's General Dynamics' new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) technology, the Business Standard reported on November 7. Given the incorporation of these new technologies, the Indian Navy source also revealed that the aircraft carrier will not enter service until the 2030s.

Russia's political-military leadership places great emphasis upon military modernization, assumes its targets will be fully met, and offers frequent statistics to illustrate success in this long-term endeavor. Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin expressed confidence in the capacity of the defense sector to harness civilian technologies to benefit the Armed Forces. Yet, there are signs that the pace of rearmament may be slowing, while the finance and defense ministries openly argue about the scale of state funding required to ensure such modernization to 2025.