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World Laureates Forum and “WLA Scientific Community”

According to China’s official newspaper China Daily, in November 2017, Roger Kornberg and six other Nobel laureates, including Michael Levitt and Ada Yonath, founded the World Laureates Association (WLA), also known as the Global Nobel Prize Scientists Association.  The association’s purpose is to “enhance innovative creativity and foster the development of future Nobel Prize winners” for the benefit of the world.

On October 29, the WLA hosted the World Laureates Forum at Dishui Lake in the Lingang Area of the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. The theme was “Science and technology for the common destiny of mankind.” Over 30 of the world’s top scientists, including 26 Nobel laureates, and winners of the Wolf Prize, the Lasker Award, the Turing Award, the MacArthur Fellows Program, and Chinese scientists attended the forum.

The forum focused on building Shanghai as a science and technology innovation center with global influence. The three-day event included topics such as photonic science, life sciences, innovative drug research, brain science, and artificial intelligence.

Around that time, the “WLA Scientific Community” was launched in Lingang.

According to Chinese media, the community aims to “break the imaginary boundaries of Silicon Valley and Optics Valley and create a ‘Science Valley.’” The “original inhabitants” of Science Valley are the world’s top scientists such as the winners of the Nobel Prize, the Wolf Prize, the Lasker Award, and the Turing Award. The community will be tailored to their diverse needs and for human being’s best brains to create a poetic dwelling for independent innovation.

On May 11, Roger Kornberg represented the WLA and signed a tripartite “Memorandum of Strategic Cooperation” with the Shanghai Lingang District Development and Construction Management Committee and the Shanghai Lingang Economic Development (Group) Co., Ltd. Kornberg stated, “We also hope to establish a number of open, cooperative and shared future technology communities in several Chinese cities such as Shanghai. The world’s top scientists, covering Nobel Prize scientists’ laboratories, studios, and international intellectual property services will lead them.

The “WLA Science Community” consists of three major platforms: the ideological platform, the laboratory platform, and the technology transformation platform. The ideological platform includes the scientific work area, an exchange center, and the release of scientists. It is the birthplace of original ideas. The laboratory platform includes the scientists’ incubator center and the scientists’ laboratory. It is a technology incubator to transform ideas into technology. The technology transformation platform covers a science community technology bank, and the science community fund. It will transform technology into applications.

Source: The Paper, October 29, 2018

Lack of Capital Investment Makes Development of New Drugs Difficult

Science and Technology Daily published an article on the challenges that China faces in new drug research and development. The long development cycle, the high investment that is required, and the high failure rate are cited as the three major points of difficulty in the development of new drugs, especially in clinical trials. The article reported that the lack of a long-term investment mechanism, especially the imperfection of the capital market, has made the research and development as well as the marketing of new drugs problematic. Most of the small and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies rely on self-raised funds for R&D. The R&D investment accounts for 4 to 8 percent of the total sales while some investments could be as high or higher than 20 percent. Also, pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to invest due to the imperfect intellectual property protection system. Investors fear either the high risks or the lack of focus in new drug research and development.

The article stated that fundamentally solving the difficulties in the research and development of new drugs in China requires the progress and maturation of China’s pharmaceutical industry at all levels, including the improvement of the company’s own research and development capabilities, the improvement of the regulatory system, a real understanding of the long-term, high-risk new drug development, and long-term capital market support.

Source: Science and Technology Daily, October 29, 2018

After Meeting with CCP’s Central Propaganda Department, Hong Kong Media Revised Reports amid Concerns over Self-censorship

On Tuesday October 16, about 20 Hong Kong media executives met in Beijing with the Chinese Communist Party’s head of the Central Propaganda Department, Huang Kunming. Siu Sai Wo, the head of the delegation and Chief Executive of the Sing Tao Group, told the media what Huang said at the meeting: “I hope that the Hong Kong media will not become a base for interfering with mainland politics.”

Some Hong Kong media broadcast Siu’s words on television and on social media. However, the report about Hong Kong media interfering with the mainland political base later “disappeared.” This triggered concerns over self-censorship in the Hong Kong press, as Chinese officials have never used such strong language targeting the Hong Kong media. However, Siu later told the South China Morning Post that the meeting related content should not be used for interviews and clarified that the original text should be “to prevent external forces from turning Hong Kong into a base for intervening and destroying the mainland.” It was not targeting Hong Kong media.

Bruce Lui, a lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of Journalism, believed that, as a professional practice, the media has a responsibility to verify the facts. If the interviewee made a false statement, the media and its senior executives should offer clarification, so that the public will not feel that the Hong Kong media, following the practice of the mainland media, will collectively revise their story.

Lui pointed out that the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department mainly takes charge of the ideology inside the Party. “In theory it should not intervene in matters in Hong Kong or Macao.” This time the Central Propaganda Department was directly talking to the senior executives of the Hong Kong media and handing out opinions. It was different from the courtesy visits in the past and was “not normal.” He suspected that the Central Propaganda Department intends to become the direct superior of the Hong Kong media. Possibly it wants to intensify its influence on the Hong Kong media.

The Hong Kong media is different from that in the mainland in that there is a greater degree of freedom in reporting and editing. However, recently, the Asia news editor for the Financial Times, Victor Mallet was denied the renewal of his Hong Kong work visa. It happened after he invited Andy Chan, founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), to give a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC). The event caused the outside world to be concerned about Hong Kong’s freedom of the press.

According to the Hong Kong Journalists Association’s 2017 survey, the Chinese government controls 35 percent of Hong Kong’s mainstream media or they have received financial investments from China.

Lui expects that the mainland will exert more influence on the Hong Kong media in the future. It will use different political and economic tactics to deal with overseas media more often.

Source: BBC Chinese, October 17, 2018

Chinese Police Have Access to All Cyber User Data

The regulations that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) issued not long ago on the supervision and monitoring of the Internet will take effect on November 1. According to this regulation, when there is a need, any network company should open its user data to the public security authorities. The new regulations have in fact added further clarity to the cybersecurity law that has caused widespread controversy in China.

The cybersecurity law came into effect last summer. It requires all Internet information disseminators, including foreign companies, to keep a copy of the data on users from mainland China. Because of this, for example, in order not to lose the Chinese market, Apple agreed to transfer the encryption key and the user data of Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Development Co., Ltd. (GCBD). Since October last year, new regulations that prevent cyber anonymity have been in effect. Some of them require information disseminators, bloggers, and social network administrators to remove all contents that belong to anonymous users. In addition, these regulations prohibit the registration of new accounts if the users do not provide personal information.

The new MPS regulations that will take effect on November 1 explain how to ensure compliance with the law. According to this regulation, the law enforcement authorities can freely enter the office and check the equipment of the Internet service provider and the network units. For example, they can inspect the contents such as whether technological measures are in place to record and retain user registration information and online log information legally and whether it can adequately monitor the content in real time to prevent the spread of negative or illegal information. In addition, law enforcement has the right to monitor Internet service providers and networked users remotely if they are potential security risks and to conduct surprise inspections.

Source: Sputnik News, October 10, 2018

Using Precision Communication to Enhance the Effectiveness of International Communication

On October 8, People’s Daily Online carried an article about China’s propaganda practice in the world. The title was “Precision Communication is the inevitable choice for International Communication.” The authors are from the Hunan University School of the Communication and Arts of Film and Television.

“In recent years, China has been taking many measures in the international field of communication and has achieved remarkable results. However, the pattern of the international public opinion landscape, that the West is strong and we are weak, has not fundamentally changed. There is still a long way to go to do well in international communication. Implementing precise communication and adopting different strategies and methods for different audiences in different countries is an inevitable choice to enhance the effect of international communication.”

“Precision communication is conducive to enhancing the effectiveness of international communication. . . . There are so many countries, nations and cultures in the world and there are great differences between countries, nations, and cultures. Even within the same country, there are big differences between different audiences. This requires us to adopt different communication methods for different audiences in different countries in international communication and to implement precision communication. By “using one key for one lock,” we can continuously improve the effect of international communication.”

“Precision communication should become an important topic in the study of international communication theory. . . . We should take the following as important research topics: the audience for international communication, the landscape of international communication and strategies, the comparative study of international communication, the influence of Chinese and foreign media, and the improvements on the effect of China’s international communication. This will provide theoretical support for telling good stories about China.

“Precision communication should rely on cyber technology to promote innovation in communication methods. At present, the development of information technology, especially big data technology, provides favorable conditions for the implementation of accurate communication. Relying on big data technology, we can analyze the characteristics, hobbies, and information needs of different audiences in different countries and analyze the misunderstandings that different countries’ audiences have about China. Based on this, we can provide targeted content for different audiences in different countries. From a technical point of view, precision communication requires the use of profiling based on information processing such as knowledge graphing, user classification, and association rules. Relying on big data technology and artificial intelligence technology, we can accurately provide personalized content to different audiences in different countries.”

Source: People’s Daily Online, October 8, 2018

India Excluded Huawei and ZTE from Experimental 5G Network

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Indian government just announced its decision to exclude China’s Huawei and ZTE from its experimental 5G network project. In a press conference, a Chinese government spokesperson commented that China did notice such a report and that the Chinese government always encourages Chinese companies overseas to follow local laws and regulations. However, China also expects other countries to provide a fair, just and transparent business environment for Chinese companies. The spokesperson also suggested that the Chinese-India trade relationship is essentially a win-win situation and that the current relationship is satisfactory overall. He did not answer a question asking whether the Chinese government got in touch with the Indian government on this specific matter or not.

Source: Sina, September 19, 2018