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China's science and technology powers ahead

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-17 09:37

BEIJING - China has made a series of landmark achievements in science and technology recently as the country quickens its pace in becoming a science and tech powerhouse by the middle of the century.

The biannual ranking of the world's fastest 500 supercomputers published Monday showed China's Sunway TaihuLight in the lead for the fourth time, with Tianhe-2 the second. China has overtaken the United States in the total number of ranked systems by a margin of 202 to 144.

As China's computers run faster, its Antarctic research expedition is going further. Icebreaker Xuelong headed south from Shanghai last Wednesday bound for Antarctica, where the country's fifth station will be set up within five years.

The new base will provide year-round support for researchers conducting tasks such as observations of land, ocean, atmosphere, ice shelf and biology, establishment of an observation and monitoring network in the Antarctic, and survey of marine environmental protection.

China is also dealing with global issues with science and technology. On Wednesday, a new meteorological satellite, Fengyun-3D, was launched to work in tandem with Fengyun-3C, already in orbit, improving atmospheric sounding and monitoring greenhouse gases.

At the ongoing 23rd conference of parties (COP 23) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, China was commended for its action in combating climate change.

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said that she was aware that China planned to generate more power from renewable energy. Norbert Salomon, deputy director of emission control, safety of installations and transport at the German Federal Ministry for Environment, praised China for expansion of electric mobility.

China stressed innovation in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), with the aim of becoming an "innovation nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050.

In recent years, China has commissioned the dark matter probe satellite Wukong, launched the Tiangong-2 space lab, quantum science satellite Mozi and carrier rocket Long March-6, which took 20 micro-satellites for space testing.

With two BeiDou-3 satellites taken into space on a single carrier rocket this month, China is on track to create a global BeiDou Navigation Satellite System by around 2020, which will make it the third country after the United States and Russia with its own navigation system.

In its step toward unravelling the mystery of the universe, China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, has identified multiple pulsars after one year of trial operations, the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) announced in October.

Li Di, chief scientist of the NAOC radio astronomy division, predicted that when FAST starts formal operations in 2019, it will find over 100 pulsars each year. The telescope is expected to discover twice the number of pulsars currently known.

All this, along with the success of deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, shows China leading the world in a number of fields, but still with weaknesses.

Large sums are spent on chip imports every year -- 227 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, twice that spent on crude oil, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Increased investment and new technology must be devoted to domestic chip research, development and production.

According to a national plan on science and technology innovation during the 2016-2020 period, high-end common chip R&D is still on the list of key projects.

Other projects include a deep-sea space station, space probes, quantum telecommunications, brain science, artificial intelligence and clean energy.

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