China Deigest

FAST telescope locates multiple new pulsars

Chinese researchers have discovered six pulsars, which are superheavy remnants of massive stars, using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, known as FAST.

It is the first time Chinese scientists have discovered pulsars using the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, thus opening a “new era of Chinese original space discovery”, Yan Yun, director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China, said on Oct 10.

The first two pulsars, named J1859-01 and J1931-01, were discovered in August and were confirmed in September by the 64-meter radio telescope at Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia.

J1859-01 is 16,000 light years from Earth and rotates once every 1.83 seconds, while J1931-01 is 4,100 light years away and rotates once every 0.59 seconds, according to scientists. Since its completion in Southwest China’s Guizhou province in September 2016, FAST has discovered two dozen highly possible candidates for pulsars, said Li Di, the telescope’s deputy chief engineer.


President urges all-out efforts to fight poverty

President Xi Jinping has urged all-out efforts to win the tough battle against poverty and make new progress in the building of a moderately prosperous society.

Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the remark on Oct 9 in an instruction regarding the fourth National Poverty Relief Day on Oct 17.

The CPC Central Committee made the solemn promise at the Party’s 18th National Congress five years ago to lift all of China’s impoverished people out of poverty by 2020, he said.

China categorizes those with an annual income lower than 2,300 yuan ($350) as poverty-stricken, according to a standard set in 2011.


Tech R&D spending rises 10.6% in 2016

China’s expenditure on technology research and development (R&D) rose 10.6 percent to 1.57 trillion yuan ($238 billion) in 2016, the fastest annual growth since 2014, as the nation increases its investment in new driving forces to stabilize the economy.

The data was released by the National Bureau of Statistics on its website on Oct 10. R&D spending on technology rose 8.9 percent in 2015 and 9.9 percent in 2014.

The expenditure accounted for 2.11 percent of last year’s total GDP, compared with 2.06 percent in 2015. 


Chinese scientists find way to block malaria

Chinese scientists may have found a way to stop mosquitoes from spreading malaria, which kills one child every two minutes worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Malaria affects between 200 and 300 million people globally every year according to the WHO. Infection is caused by Plasmodium, a parasite that is transmitted through mosquito bites. A symbiotic bacterium that grows inside the bodies of mosquitoes was discovered by a team at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, and was genetically modified to carry anti-malaria genes.

“The bacteria proliferate rapidly in the intestinal tracts of mosquitoes after they take in human blood and thus the ability to inhibit the development of the parasites will increase dramatically,” said Wang Sibao, head of the research team at the institute, a branch of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences.


Forbidden City adopts online-only ticket model

The Palace Museum in Beijing — China’s former imperial palace, or Forbidden City — announced on Oct 10 that it has begun to sell entry tickets solely through its online booking system, with few exceptions.

The move is designed “to avoid crowds at the box office, reduce waiting time and provide a more comfortable visiting experience”, said Shan Jixiang, director of the museum.

Online ticket booking is available on the museum’s official website,

To relieve the heavy pressure and safety concerns brought by huge crowds, a daily visitor quota of 80,000 was set in June 2015, and an online ticketing system was launched. 

On launch day, about 7,500 of the day’s 50,000 visitors — about 15 percent — bought tickets online. By 2016, the number had expanded dramatically to 40 percent. As of August, it had mushroomed to 77 percent


Innovation, youth top HK policy plan

Innovation and youth development were central pillars of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s first Policy Address on Oct 11 as she laid out her ambitions for the special administrative region.

Lam said she envisioned Hong Kong becoming an “international innovation and technology hub” and creating high-end jobs.

In pursuit of economic diversity, Lam encouraged the people of Hong Kong to join in the national-level Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development plan and take advantage of opportunities they present.

In the 33,000-word address, the words “innovation”, “technology” and “technologies” appeared a total of at least 150 times, topping the list of policy-related words. 

“To sustain these favorable trends for our economy, diversifying is the only solution,” Lam said, adding that she believed it will not only bolster economic growth but also create quality employment opportunities for Hong Kong’s young people.


Beijing urges US to stop ‘wrong behavior’

Beijing urged the United States to stop its “wrong behavior” after a US naval vessel was warned away from China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea on Oct 10.

The USS Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, made an unauthorized entry into the nation’s territorial waters, the defense and foreign ministries said on Oct 11.

China dispatched a guided-missile frigate, two fighter jets and a helicopter “in an emergency response” and warned the US ship to leave, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

China is “resolutely opposed” to the unauthorized entry, and has lodged “solemn representations” to the US, according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

The Chinese government announced the baseline of the territorial sea off the islands in 1996 under the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone.


Science vessel returns from Arctic expedition

The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, docked in Shanghai on Oct 10 after completing its eighth Arctic expedition, the Polar Research Institute of China announced.

The vessel traveled through the central and northwest shipping lanes along the Arctic rim for the first time, completing China’s first circumnavigation of the top of the world.

The vessel departed from the exploration base in Shanghai on June 20 with 96 crew members. It traveled 20,000 nautical miles in 83 days, including 1,995 nautical miles through ice formations, according to the institute.

“The reason we tried the central line was that we could do research in the open ocean area,” said He Jianfeng, vice-captain of the team and chief scientist of the expedition.

He added that China had traversed the northeastern shipping lane along Russia’s northern coast in 2012, from the Bering Strait to northern Europe.


Deployment of new light tank confirmed

China has confirmed the deployment of a new light tank, which observers say will suit combat operations on plateaus.

A photo of the tank on snowy ground is on display at an exposition in the Beijing Exhibition Center, as part of a display showing achievements made by China over the past five years. 

A number of pictures taken by military enthusiasts and circulated on Chinese defense websites show a row of the new tanks being transported by rail. Those tanks had been painted with a tactical code on the turret — an indication of delivery to the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force.

Developed by China North Industries Group Corp, the light tank is equipped with a hydropneumatic suspension system that ensures good maneuverability and survivability in mountainous regions.


China again launches satellite for Venezuela

China launched Venezuela’s second remote-sensing satellite, VRSS-2, into space on Oct 9.

A Long March 2D carrier rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China’s Gansu province at 12:13 pm to place the satellite into orbit, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the major contractor for China’s space programs. It was the 252nd mission for the Long March rocket family.

Also known as Antonio Jose de Sucre, named after a Venezuelan independence leader, the satellite is the Latin American nation’s third. The previous two were also developed and launched by China.

The satellite will be used for land resources inspection, environmental protection, disaster monitoring and relief, crop yield estimation and urban planning. 


Xi, Putin congratulate friendship association

President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin sent congratulatory messages on Oct 9 to the Russia-China Friendship Association on the 60th anniversary of its founding.

Xi said in his message that over the past six decades, the association has adhered to the principle of friendship in managing relations with China, actively carried out people-to-people exchanges, and contributed to promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Calling the association an important force in cementing and developing China-Russia ties, Xi stressed that the key to sound relations between states lies in amity between the peoples.

China-Russia relations have reached a new historical starting point, Xi said, expressing his hope that the association will open a new chapter in promoting exchanges between peoples of the two nations.


Forex reserves reach year-high of $3.11t

China’s foreign exchange reserves in September rose to their highest level so far this year to reach $3.11 trillion, marking growth for the eighth straight month as capital outflows eased due to the stronger yuan, central bank data showed on Oct 9.

The reserves were up by $17 billion last month, slightly higher than the market expectation of around $16 billion, while the increase in August was $10.5 billion, according to the People’s Bank of China.

It was the first time that the country’s foreign exchange reserves had grown for eight consecutive months since June 2014.

A statement from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said on Oct 9 that stabilized and more balanced cross-border capital flows, together with the increased value of foreign exchange reserve investment, had boosted the growth.


Real estate curbs begin to hit home

Property sales in the country’s major cities dropped to a three-year low during the National Day holiday this month, as the intensive launch of restrictive measures began to bite. Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong province, all saw plummeting property sales during the weeklong holiday.

According to data from the real estate section of, an online information portal, only 134 new homes were sold during the first eight days of October this year in Beijing, a decrease of 70 percent year-on-year.

In Shanghai, 178 properties were sold from Oct 1-8, down 82 percent year-on-year. In Guangzhou, 541 properties were transacted in the first eight days of October, a decline of 89 percent year-on-year.

“It is expected that such a situation will continue for the rest of the year,” said Zhang Dawei, a Beijing-based researcher at Centaline Property.


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