China S&T News Digest for September 13-19, 2017

The journal  Economic and Political Studies seeks papers for a special issue on Innovation, Technological Development, and Industrial Restructuring in China. Deadline for submission is  September 30, 2018. 


Senior CPC leader Liu Yunshan on Sunday stressed the need to push forward work in the popularization of science. Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, made the remarks during a visit to the China Science and Technology Museum, where he highlighted the role of this work in improving people's scientific literacy, encouraging innovation and serving the country's goal of becoming a leading power in science. 

A world-first collaboration between the University of New South Wales and the Chinese government, celebrated as a $100m innovation partnership, opens a Pandora's box of strategic and commercial risks for Australia, according to leading analysts. These include the potential loss of sensitive technology with military capability, an unhealthy reliance on Chinese capital, and vulnerability to Beijing's influence in Australia's stretched research and technology sector. The UNSW Torch Innovation precinct, the first outside China, was unveiled last year.

China's state assets regulator and the Ministry of Science and Technology signed a cooperation agreement  to encourage innovation in centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The SOEs invested more than 380 billion yuan (58.1 billion USD) in research and development in 2016, and have seen average annual growth of over 20 percent in the past few years. These enterprises own 80 national key laboratories which account for nearly half of the total number. "The central SOEs are playing an increasingly important role in technological innovation," Xiao Yaqing, chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang said supportive policies will be rolled out to encourage central SOEs to innovate more.

China's 7,500-plus incubators and makerspaces have fostered more than 223,000 businesses as of 2016, according to data from Torch High Technology Industry Development Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology. China has become the country with the most incubators and makerspaces. The figure was announced at a forum to mark the 30th anniversary of China's first high-tech business incubator, born in 1987 in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.

Judge Yang Liping's office is stacked with files, and she even has a supermarket trolley for clerks to bring new dossiers. She works in the fifth civilian court of Haidian district court in Beijing. The court handles intellectual property rights (IPR) disputes. "There are just too many cases and no choice. We often have to work overtime," she said. "In the first half year, the court handled 6,072 IPR-related cases, almost the total amount for last year," said Yang Dejia, chief of the IPR court. Increased awareness of IPR protection has led many to resort to legal means to safeguard their rights. In 2002, there were only 100 cases, but the number has exploded in the last decade.

US President Donald Trump blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying Lattice Semiconductor Corp., casting a cloud over Chinese deals seeking US security clearance and spurring a call for fairness from Beijing. It was just the fourth time in a quarter century that a US president has ordered a foreign takeover of an American firm stopped on national security concerns. Trump acted on the recommendation of a multi-agency panel, the White House and the Treasury Department said. The spurned buyer, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC, is a private-equity firm backed by a Chinese state-owned asset manager.

China has set up its first "commercial" quantum network in its northern province of Shandong, state media said, the country's latest step in advancing a technology expected to enable "hack proof" communications. In August China said it sent its first "unbreakable" quantum code from an experimental satellite to the Earth. The Pentagon has called the launch of that satellite a year earlier a "notable advance." Now the country's "first commercial quantum private communication network" has been setup for exclusive use by more than 200 government and official users in Shandong's provincial capital Jinan, the official Xinhua news agency said.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the authors of three Obama administration reports on artificial intelligence (AI) have received a heartfelt compliment from their Chinese counterparts. With China's July 2017 Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, the country has announced that it, too, sees AI as the transformative technology that will underpin future economic and military power. China's plan calls for exceeding all other nations in AI by 2030, but the checklist for China's ambitious agenda is strikingly similar to the policies prescribed by the Obama administration's reports.  The similarities go beyond such high-level objectives, even including many specific policy details and recommendations.

China's home-grown BeiDou Navigation Satellite System will cover countries and regions along the Belt and Road by 2018, said an official at the China National Space Administration (CNSA) Monday. Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the CNSA, said the plan was based on the satellite system's improving regional services, which had been cooperating with various countries and regional organizations. China now has 17 communication satellites in orbit, with nearly 300 transponders, and the country's satellite communication services cover over 30 countries and regions, said Wu.

A new powerful chip technology has been introduced in China's national satellite navigation system to provide high-precision positioning. The chip, which will be attached to the satellites of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, was unveiled by the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location Based Service Association of China. The positioning accuracy of the chip reaches at sub-meter level without ground-based augmentation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The chip, developed by Shenzhen-based Allystar Technology, supports the new generation of BDS-3 satellites for high-precision navigation and positioning, the report said.

A Chinese startup appears to be following in the footsteps of SpaceX as it has lately laid out its own reusable space launch system project. Link Space, the country's first private rocket company, has recently presented the design of its New Line 1 (also known as Xin Gan Xian 1) launch vehicle, which could compete with SpaceX's Falcon 9 in the future. Link Space uncovered the design and some basic technical parameters at a recent presentation. The images revealed to the public show that the first stage of the newly developed launcher could feature a landing system similar to that used in SpaceX's flagship reusable Falcon 9 booster.

The Chinese Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) has pledged to train experts from across Asia in the various peaceful uses of nuclear technology under a recent agreement. The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the IAEA's 61st General Conference, will strengthen expertise in nuclear energy, nuclear safety and nuclear science and applications. "This practical arrangement represents a big step in training on the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in Asia and the Pacific," said Massoud Malek, program management officer at the IAEA's technical cooperation program. China has agreed to provide regional training courses and long-term education programs in the areas of nuclear energy, nuclear safety and security, and nuclear sciences and applications. The training will be delivered under the IAEA technical cooperation program. The agreement is valid for four years.

With the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in full swing, low-carbon-oriented practices have become an important factor for regional economic growth. Early in 2014, President Xi Jinping said it is an important national strategy to achieve coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, involving exploration of an effective path of ecological civilization construction and promoting the coordinated progress in population, economy, resources and environment. The national strategy for regional development addresses unbalanced development, tackles pollution and seeks a new means of growth. It demands local authorities abandon their old selfish mindset and see the bigger picture.
Produced by the IGCC Project on the
Study of Innovation & Technology in China

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