The Chinese Academy of Sciences convenes its 2001 Annual Working Conference


Annual Working Conference
Focuses on Reform and Knowledge Innovation Program 

With the completion of a three-year initial stage, the CAS Pilot Project of the Knowledge Innovation Program (KIP) has entered a new stage of comprehensive implementa-tion this year. At the 2001 Annual Conference of CAS which commenced on January 9, Lu Yongxiang, President of the Academy, delivered a key-note speech outlining the tasks of this stage, stressing the implemen-tation of three “action plans” within the next five years to assure the attainment of predetermined objectives. The three “action plans” are the action plan for the strategic readjustment of the S & T disciplinary layout and organizational structure, the action plan for S & T innovation team building and education promotion, and the action plan for management system innovation of national research institutions. 

The action plan for strategic readjustment of the S & T disciplinary layout and organizational structure is to materialize a major adjustment of S & T disciplinary layout, realizing a radical change from the current discipline classification-based distribution to an arrangement that combines the strategic needs of the state and the frontiers of S & T development. The second action plan is to establish a novel employment system that interfaces with international practices in national scientific research institutions, and to recruit a scientific and administrative staff that comprises three parts: a sector recruited according to posts, a sector recruited according to the needs of projects and a mobile sector. 

The staff will be clearly layered, rationally structured, highly efficient and dynamically updateable. The third action plan aims to improve the modern management system of the institutes by referring to the internationally prevailing management mode adopted by public scientific research institutions and non-profit making organizations. Tryouts will be conducted to set up a corporate management system where a board of directors will be established as the decision-maker and a board of supervisors be established for supervision, while the director of the institute is responsible for execution of the decisions and routine management.


     Chinese President Jiang Zemin Visits Legend Group
At a moment when the nation was celebrating the first spring festival of the new century, Chinese President Jiang Zemin inspected the Legend Group Corp. Ltd., which is based in the Science Park of Zhongguancun (Beijing). The Legend Group was founded in 1984 as the New Technology Corporation of the Institute of Computing Technology, CAS. With the lapse of 16 years, it has now developed into the number one of the 100 top electronic enterprises of China. Jiang Zemin heard the report by Lu Yongxiang, President of CAS, on the Academy’s efforts to develop high-tech industries. Jiang said that, in the past years, the Academy has made rewarding achievements in promoting the development of high-tech industries. The Academy shoulders the important tasks of building itself up into a base of scientific research at the advanced international level, a base for bringing up senior scientific and technological personnel and a base for facilitating the development of high-tech industries in China. He hoped that CAS would give full rein to its advantages and make greater contributions to the establishment of China’s national  innovation system and the development of the country’s high-tech industries. Jiang Zemin pointed out that continuous efforts to advance S & T innovation, to facilitate the transfer of S & T achievements into actual productivity and to promote the development of high-tech industries are important measures for enforcing the role of S & T as the primary driving force behind productivity. International competition in science and technology is, to a large extent, the competition of the capability of developing high-tech industries. Hence, it is of significance to guide and organize the research and development of high technologies, and to actually promote S & T innovation with independently owned intellectual property rights, which is instrumental to the leap-and-bound development of high-tech industries that are internationally competitive.
CAS President Lu Yongxiang meets with Dr. Larry R. Kohler, Executive Director of ICSU, on 15 January, 2001
Premier Announces New Phase of Knowledge Innovation Program

Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council and Director of the State Leading Group for Science, Technology and Education, presided over the Group’s Eighth Meeting at Zhongnanhai on 21 December 2000. The meeting reviewed the report submitted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on the implementation of the Pilot Project for the Knowledge Innovation Program. It also reviewed reports by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). Great importance has been attached to the Knowledge Innovation Program initiated by CAS, and the objectives of the initial phase which commenced in 1998 have been fulfilled. Within the next five years, CAS will continue to adapt itself to the strategic needs of the state and the frontiers of world science and technology through the enhancement of original scientific innovation and strategic high-tech development, and through the furthering of system reform and mechanism innovation in the whole Academy.

Premier Zhu Rongji spoke highly of the major advances achieved by CAS in conducting the Knowledge Innovation Program, declaring the CAS Pilot Project for the Knowledge Innovation Program would enter a new phase in 2001. It is important that objectives for the next phase should be clearly defined, and efforts be focused on enhancing basic research, S & T innovation and industrialization, on talent cultivation and team building, and on accelerating system reform and mechanism innovation. Meanwhile, continued efforts should be made to readjust the discipline layout and organizational structure of science and technology as well as to perfect the modern management system.

CAS President Lu Yongxiang meets with Dr. Larry R. Kohler, Executive Director of ICSU, on 15 January, 2001.
CAS Contributes Heavily to Nation’s Major S & T Advances   in 2000

Ten top S & T advances in China in 2000 selected by 485 CAS/CAE Members were announced in Beijing on 4 January 2001 and listed below according to their vote counts. Among the top ten are three accomplishments made respectively by the CAS Shenyang Institute of Metal Research, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry and Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics.

  1. Important results were obtained in the research on super hybrid rice.

  2. Genetic codes of prawn virus deciphered by China for the first time in the world.

  3. Ultra plastic ductility of nano-scale metal materials under of room temperature conditions was observed for the first time in the world by the Institute of Metals Research. High-density, and high-purity nanometer copper was synthesized using a new process by a research team led by Dr. Lu Ke, a young scientist. The copper can be metamorphosed for over 50 times under room temperature conditions without any cracking. Scientists believe this is a breakthrough in the field of nanometer materials.
  4. A highly active anticancer substance was developed for the first time by the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, indicating that China is now leading the world in the artificial synthesis of anticancer substances.

  5. A major breakthrough was achieved in the development and application of high-performance computers, making China the third country (after USA and Japan) that has the capability of developing high-performance computers.

  6. The interference of matter waves was discovered for the first time by China. When two molecules collide with one another, interference appears as with light waves. This phenomenon was observed in an experiment by scientists from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics. It has not only proved the theoretical prediction made by foreign scientists more than ten years ago, but also enriched the quantum theory.
  7. China NetCom opened its wide-band, high-speed network. The overall transmission bandwidth of the network reached 40 Gbits, and its total length was 8,490 km. On the whole, it is at the international leading level.

  8. A pilot test on biological hydrogen-making process was conducted in China for the first time.
  9. An electromagnetic biochip was invented by China for the first time in the world. The single-point gating electromagnetic array technology and electro-circumgyrate detection technology are new.

  10. The University of S & T for National Defense developed the first subhuman robot in China.
CAS Vice-President Yang Bailing meets with Bell Vice-President Dr. W. Brinkman on 16 January, 2001


 Environmental Protection

Demonstration to Improve Ecology in Inner Mongolia

CAS and the Government of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region have signed a cooperative agreement to jointly establish the “Demonstration Site for Integrated Management of the Ecological Environment in the Hunshandake Sands and Jingbei Area. According to the agreement, CAS will invest 10 million yuan under its Knowledge Innovation Program (KIP) to build three demonstration sites, while the Inner Mongolian Government will invest an amount 3-5 times that of CAS to support the project. The Academy is responsible for the scientific research and technical demonstration, and the Inner Mongolian government will provide pastures, farmland, domestic animals, demonstration households, complementary equipment, relevant scientific research facilities and policy support. The project will begin in January 2001 and end in December 2004. The aims of the project are to identify the strategies, approaches and optimal modes for the integrated management of the ecological environment in related areas, to develop cost-effective technology kits for sand vegetation rehabilitation, degraded grassland improvement and damaged agro-ecological system restoration, to provide theoretical instruction, technical support and typical samples for the management of the eco-environment of the entire Hunshandake Sands, and to promote regional eco-environment rehabilitation and sustainable socio-economic development.

Joint Efforts to Better Manage Loess Plateau

In order to implement the country’s strategy of developing the western areas, a cooperation agreement to jointly establish a demonstration site for water & soil conservation and eco-environment rehabilitation of the Loess Plateau between CAS and Shaanxi Province was launched in Xi’an. The demonstration site is located in Yan’an and Ansai, where the highland and dongas are typical of the Loess Plateau. It is a comprehensive experimental zone covering 650 km2, based on the Ansai Experimental Station of the Academy for Integrated Control of Water Loss and Soil Erosion. It is aimed at addressing the major scientific and technological issues concerning the management of the Loess Plateau, incorporating the “Shan Chuan Xiu Mei” Program of Shaanxi Province and the Research Project for Experimental Demonstration of Eco-Environment Rehabilitation under the “West Action Program” of CAS.

Major Progress in Eco-Barrier Construction in Upper Reaches of Yangtze

The state key S & T project under the nation’s Ninth Five-Year Year Plan titled Research on the Environmental Changes, Ecological Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development of the Yangtze River Upper Reaches, which was carried out by the Chengdu Institute of Biology as the primary host institution, has passed specialists appraisal organized by the state.

     The ecological environment of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River has been deteriorating due to human factors. Frequent disasters have occurred in the middle and lower reaches. Decrease of forest vegetation and weakening of its water conservation capacity have caused dramatic changes to the volume of water flow in the Yangtze River basin. The S & T Action Program for Eco-Environment Rehabilitation of the Western Regions (the Yangtze River upper reaches) under the framework of the above Project is of great importance. It defines nine key areas of the Yangtze River upper reaches for eco-environment rehabilitation and related countermeasures against disasters. The Project has brought about good social benefits through the establishment of an ecological economy. It has provided technical support and an example for the eco-barrier construction in the region, increased the income of the local farmers, facilitated the pace of poverty eradication, contributed to the increase of forest-land and promoted coordinated, sustainable development of both ecological rehabilitation and the economy.

A delegation headed by CAS Member Zhao Zhongxian, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Academy Divisions of CAS, visited France and Belgium. Photo shows host from the French Academy of Sciences meeting with the delegation.

Energy-Saving Combustion Furnace for Pyrogenation of Medical Wastes

A pollution-free high-tech energy-saving combustion furnace for pyrogenation of medical wastes has been developed by Dr. Chen Yong, chief scientist, and his colleagues of the Laboratory of Solid Wastes, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Resources under the Academy. Proving effective in trial use, the unit has recently passed the appraisal of authorities concerned and has been commercialized. The invention is novel in “pyrolysis combustion”. It comprises a pyrolysis aerification box and a firebox, adopting the hollow fire grate technology, which enables pyrolysis aerification and sufficient combustion. The flammable substances in the medical wastes are decomposed through pyrolysis into flammable gases, which are then burned in a rotational flow in a gas-phase firebox where the temperature is over 1000 0C. The amount and indexes of smoke or fume produced in the process are much less than the national standards for environment protection. As the fume is processed through an absorbent chimney before exhaust, the content of ashes in the fume is close to zero. The unit features a simple structure, a small size, energy conservation, low cost and a long service life. It involves several patented technologies. Its performance is superior to similar foreign products, but the price is only one-fourth of the latter.

 Information Technology

CAS Successfully Develops Chinese-Platform Software with Self-Owned Copyright

Chinese-Character Processing & Application Platform in Open Systems, a state key S & T project undertaken by the Institute of Software, passed the appraisal and acceptance inspection of the Ministry of Information Industry recently. This indicates that China has developed Chinese-platform software with self-owned copyrights, which is parallel to similar foreign products in terms of technology, and internationally advanced in terms of Chinese-character processing techniques.

Professor Bai Chunli, Vice-President of CAS, and Academician O. M. Nefedov, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, sign a memorandum of cooperation in materials science between CAS and RAS.

First Secure Operating System Conforming to National Standards

The technical appraisal meeting on the Secure Operating System developed by the CAS Information Safety Technology & Engineering Research Center was recently held in Beijing. The Secure Operating System is based on Linux sources. It has adopted an “improve/enhance” approach to construct a security kernel with independent copyrights. The system is the first such that conforms to China’s national standards. Its successful development has laid a foundation in the research, development and application of secure operating systems in China.

Hanwang Setting Foot in Fingerprint Identification by Biologic Features

Biologic features identification is a difficult S & T problem confronting the world. Hanwang Company of the Institute of Automation, CAS has now set foot in the area. The company is adapting to the information era by devoting itself to computer network security research & development, such as fingerprint identification systems and related applications on anti-forgery authentification and identity examination. Presently, important progress has been made in the arithmetic of fingerprint identification, and the company’s attendance recognition-by-fingerprint system has a rejection rate of less than 0.1% and an error rate of less than 0.0001%. The main technologies of the product are at an advanced international level.

World’s First On-line Finite Element Software Successfully Developed

The world’s first finite element software available on the Internet has been developed jointly by the Institute of Mathematics and System Science, CAS and Beijing Feijian Software Corporation Limited and is ready for market operation. It is available on the Internet and accessible to users around the world. So long as the user gives a finite element problem, he or she can obtain all the finite element programs which are compiled and run automatically by the computer as well as the computing results.

  State-of-the-art Petro-chemical Industry Application Software

A  state key S & T project, “Petroleum-Chemical Industry Application Software Demonstration Project and Product Development”, undertaken jointly by the Institute of Software, CAS and the China Petroleum-Chemical Industry Group, has recently passed the acceptance inspection of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The products have self-owned copyrights. The general technological level of the products is internationally advanced and there are good application perspectives

 Academy-Locality Cooperation

CAS and Shenzhen Join Hands to Promote Technology Transfer

At the Second China International High and New Technology Commodities Fair, CAS and Shenzhen signed a new agreement, under which the Academy, as the national S & T team, will conduct high-level, all-round scientific and  technological  cooperation  with  the  Shenzhen Special  Economic  Zone.  The  united  efforts between China’s largest high-tech development center and the country’s best city in high-tech industrialization will further promote the industrialization of high technologies to make unique contributions to the development of the national economy. Complementing each other’s advantages, the duel will not only set up a “CAS-Shenzhen Cooperation Committee” in Shenzhen, but also establish an Expert Consultatant Committee for Shenzhen’s S & T Development Strategy, which will provide decision-making consultation on the development of Shenzhen’s S & T programs, major projects and industrial investment directions. Meanwhile, Shenzhen will establish a seed fund for scientific innovation that aims at promoting technical and personnel cooperation and facilitating the transfer of scientific achievements. The two sides will also establish an industrial incubator group. More efforts will be made to promote the development of the Shenzhen Science Park, which was initiated in 1985 according to an agreement between the two sides. In the past 15 years, a number of high-tech enterprises such as Legend, Dawning, Anke and China NetCom have successively “settled down” in the Park. In 1999, the industrial revenue of the Park amounted to more than 25 billion Chinese yuan.

Newly appointed CAS Vice-President Professor Chen Zhu.

CAS and Xi’an to Jointly Develop Pancreatic Enzyme

The opening ceremony of the Shaanxi Institute of Pancreatin Development, jointly established by the Center of Enzyme Engineering of the CAS Xi’an Branch and the Shaanxi Hancheng Huaxing Biochemistry Corporation Ltd., was held in Tongli, marking the kick-off of joint efforts between the science and industry sectors in developing research results on pancreatic enzyme. During the nation’s Ninth Five-Year Plan” period, the Center of Enzyme Engineering conducted research on pancreatic enzyme while carrying out key S & T projects of the state and Shaanxi Province, and discovered new application areas of enzymes. Enzymes not only exist in microorganisms, but also in animals and plants. As enzymes extracted from an animal’s pancreas do not have xenogenous protein reactions with the human body, but are compatible with the latter, they can be widely used in biochemical pharmacy. In recent years, enzymes and their components extracted from animal pancreas by the Center have been used to promote the development of a batch of high and new technology industries. The newly set-up institute will specialize in research on the production and applications of pancreatic enzymes in the fields of medicine, cosmetics, foods and textiles.

   Cooperation to Develop Natural Medicaments from Plants

The A joint R & D center of natural medicaments from plants between CAS Wuhan Institute of Botany and Puyang Hongtianwei Pharmaceutical Company Limited was founded and held its first council meeting recently in Puyang, Henan Province. Dr. Hongwen Huang, Chair of the Council, and Mr. Tingyuan Huang, Mayor of Puyang City, both attended the unveiling ceremony of the “Industrialization Base for Natural Medicaments from Plants”. The foundation of the center and the base are in conformity with the scientific objectives of the State’s “Tenth Five-Year Plan” on innovation and industrialization, and promise a bright future for CAS-province cooperation to develop high-tech industries.

CAS Member Professor Wu Wen-jun has been awar-ded  the Supreme National Prize for Science & Techno-logy for his contri-bution to mathema-tics

International Cooperation 

Foreign Scientists to Participate in China’s Major Science Program for the First Time

A project proposal titled Chemistry of Molecular Congeries, to be included in the National Key Program of Basic Research (the 973 Program), which was jointly submitted by Chinese scientists (including CAS Members Tong Zhenhe from the Institute of Physics and Chemistry Technology, Jiang Xikui from the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, and Shen Jiacong  from Jilin University) and foreign experts from the European Union (two German scientists and one Dutch scientist), has recently been approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). This is the first time when foreign experts participate in China’s major science programs. In 1999 China began to conduct full collaborative research in the fields of high technologies and key basic research with EU. The signing of the China-EU Agreement on S & T Cooperation has made the Fifth Framework Research Program of EU open to China. On the other hand, China will open its programs on basic research and high-tech development to EU. Prior to that, three Chinese projects regarding energy and information technologies had participated in the Fifth Framework Program of EU. The participation of EU member countries in the research project of “Chemistry of Molecular Congeries” marked a new stage in China’s large science programs.

Sino-German Partnership Team on Catalytic Nano Technology Established in Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics

A Sino-German partnership team on catalytic nano technology was established in the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics by the Fritz-Haber Institute, Max-Planck Society, according to an agreement between CAS and MPS. Prof. G. Ertl, Director of the Fritz-Haber Institute, a well-known expert in catalysts, granted the appointment letter issued by Prof. H. Markl, Chairman of MPS, to Prof. Xinhe Bao, Director of the Dalian Institute and leader of the team. The two leading scientists discussed the working plans of the partnership team in great detail. 

    Following the suggestions and comments from experts, MPS and CAS agreed to establish partnership teams in CAS Institutes, where the two sides provide funding sources to advance research of the teams to a high level within five years. In accordance with this agreement, MPS has successively established partnership teams with the CAS Shanghai Institute of Cell Biology, Shanghai Institute of Botany and Shenyang Institute of Metals Research.

IVPP in the Limelight as Palaeontology Research Center

In recent years, world-known journals such as Nature and Science have paid special attention to the Chinese community of paleontology, particularly the CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP). In the year of 1999 alone, the Institute published 8 articles on Nature and Science. Besides, at the 2000 International Symposium on Archaeornithes and Evolution and the Workshop on the Biome in Rehe, Liaoning Province, which IVPP recently sponsored, correspondents from Nature and Science interviewed the research staff of the Institute, and showed admiration and appreciation for their work. After the meeting, Nature carried three reports about the Symposium. Science also published relevant articles.

    In September 2000, two Science correspondents visited IVPP and the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology respectively. They interviewed scientists on the following subjects: progress of research on biome in Rehe, Liaoning Province; latest advances on China’s palaeoanthropology and stone artifacts; ichthyology and origin of early vertebrates; and research on trias reptilia in Guizhou Province. The correspondents showed great interest and declared IVPP to be a world research center of paleontology. Relevant reports will be published in Science in early 2001.

CAS and Bell Set up Joint Laboratory on Telecommunications Technology

Bell recently announced that an agreement of cooperation between the Institute of Basic Sciences (China) under the Bell Laboratory and the Institute of Software, CAS, on the establishment of a joint laboratory on telecommunication technology was signed on 24 November 2000. According to the agreement, the Joint Laboratory will conduct research on telecommunication technology. The initial joint project concerned the research on IPv6 protocol. In addition, Bell will provide training to staff of the Joint Laboratory and conduct exchange of scholars with CAS when necessary. Yan Yixun, former vice president of CAS and Director of the Board of China NetCom, attended the signing ceremony together with Dr. Xu Jun, President of Asia-Pacific and China-Bell Laboratory.