China successfully completes lander tests, preparing for Mars mission in 2020 as it pushes for inclusion in global space projects


China unveils its 2020 Mars probe

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A lander for China’s Mars mission is seen before a hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test at a test facility in
Huailai, Hebei province, China November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

HUAILAI, China (Reuters) – China on Thursday successfully completed a lander test in northern Hebei province ahead of an unmanned exploration mission to Mars next year.

China is on track to launch its Mars mission in 2020, Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration, said on Thursday. Zhang was speaking ahead of the hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test for the lander.

The journey through space will take about seven months, while landing will take seven minutes, said Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars exploration programme.

The test was conducted at a sprawling landing test site in Huailai, northwest of Beijing.

China has developed the powerful Long March 5 rocket to transport the probe to Mars in 2020.

The same rocket is meant to deliver the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon by the end of 2019 or early next year to bring back samples of lunar rocks.

The Chang’e-4 probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon in January this year, a historic first and major achievement for China’s space programme.

China made its first lunar landing in 2013.

China expects to complete a modular space station around 2022, around the time when NASA is said to start building a new space station laboratory to orbit the moon, as a pit stop for missions to other parts of the solar system.

In 2003, China became the third nation to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Since then, it has been racing to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030.

(Reporting by Martin Pollard; Writing by Ryan Woo and Liangping Gao; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
China preparing for Mars mission in global space projects

It’s a success: A lander being lifted during a test at a facility in Hebei province. — AP

HUAILAI: China invited observers to a successful test of its Mars lander as the country pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.

The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.

China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail.

China’s burgeoning space programme achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon.

It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 and has sought cooperation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.

The US, however, has banned most space cooperation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.

Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power. It is gradually constructing its own larger, more permanent space station in which it has invited foreign participation.

The lander yesterday successfully avoided ground obstacles during a simulated low-gravity descent, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Chinese space programme’s main contractor.

The refrigerator-sized craft was lowered gently on 36 cables through the air for about a minute and used onboard jets spraying rust-coloured fumes to alter its downward course.

“After the probe is launched, it will take about seven months to reach Mars, and the final procedure of landing will only last about seven minutes, which is the most difficult and the most risky part of the whole mission, ” said the Mars mission’s chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao, standing before the 140m-tall testing facility.

Recent rover crashes on the moon by Israel and India highlight the difficulties of safe landings from space.

The remote Comprehensive Testing Ground for Landing on Extraterrestrial Bodies run by CASC lies an hour north of the Great Wall from Beijing.

Guests at yesterday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy. — AP

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In the wilderness of Daocheng, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, 4,400 meters above sea level, Chinese scientists are constructing a cosmic ray observation station on an area equivalent to 200 soccer fields.

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In the wilderness of Daocheng, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, 4,400 meters above sea level, Chinese scientists are constructing a cosmic ray observation station on an area equivalent to 200 soccer fields.

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China’s private reusable rocket to be launched in 2021

A Chinese reusable carrier rocket that uses liquid oxygen-methane propellants made its first public appearance Friday at the ongoing 2019 Zhongguancun Forum in Beijing.

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China’s “Super Microscope” starts new experiments to explore microworld secrets

The China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS), located in Dongguan City, south China’s Guangdong Province, began a new round of user operation Thursday, with 57 experiments on new materials to be conducted in the next four months.

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China’s lunar rover discovers mysterious substance on moon’s far side

China’s lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, discovered an unidentified substance in an impact crater on the far side of the moon.

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China gets into blockchain race with US


Blockchain is perhaps best known for underpinning the operation of
cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which Beijing may seek to replicate.
PHOTO: REUTERS
One example of the potential application of blockchain technology is a newly launched app by the Communist Party that asks members to explain why they joined and what party loyalty means to them. (Photo: AFP/Greg Baker)

BEIJING: China has launched an ambitious effort to challenge the US dominance in blockchain technology, which it could use for everything from issuing digital money, to streamlining a raft of government services and tracking Communist Party loyalty.

The technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal that the government sees blockchain as an integral part of the country’s plan to become a high-tech superpower.

Beijing is the latest in a handful of countries to have adopted a law strictly governing the encryption of data – particularly blockchain technology, which allows the storage and direct exchange of data without going through an intermediary.

Reputedly unfalsifiable, blockchain is a database shared across a network of computers. Once a record has been added to the chain it is almost impossible to change.

It is perhaps best known for underpinning the operation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – which Beijing may seek to replicate as it pushes ahead with its plans for a world-leading government-run digital currency.

https://cna-sg-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/image/12059024/16x9/670/377/9e6b6b9b2b6ec007ae2c9a3107f86991/tI/blockchain-technology-received-a-crucial-endorsement-from-president-xi-jinping-last-week-a-signal-that-the-government-sees-it-as-an-integral-part-of-the-country-s-plan-to-become-a-high-tech-superpower-1572750315390-2.jpg
Blockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal

Blockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signalBlockchain technology received a crucial endorsement from President Xi Jinping last week, a signal that the government sees it as an integral part of the country’s plan to become a high-tech superpower. (Photo: AFP/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

Although the new law for blockchain “is still rather vague”, the country is clearly one of the most active in terms of regulation, Stanislas Pogorzelski, editor of specialist site Cryptonaute.fr, told AFP.

“China has understood very well that to stay a superpower, you have to be at the forefront of new technologies,” said Pogorzelski.

Blockchain is set to play a key role in many sectors in the future, including digital finance, internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G.

LESS HUMAN INTERVENTION 

Bitcoin(FX:BTC/USD)Stock market insights from social media

It could also serve to make China’s vast bureaucratic system more efficient.

The official Xinhua news agency said a blockchain-based system had been used for the first time to automatically generate and file an enforcement case in Chinese court against a party who failed to pay damages in a mediation agreement.

With less human intervention, such systems could make judicial enforcement in China “more intelligent and transparent,” the agency said.

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said China should step up research and development of the technology.

“Blockchain should play a bigger role in strengthening Chinese power in cyberspace, developing the digital economy and promoting socio-economic development,” Xi said.

“The general sentiment of Xi’s comments was simple,” said Anthony Pompliano, who writes a daily cryptocurrency newsletter.

“Blockchain technology is really important for the future and China plans to be the global leader,” Pompliano added.


LOYALTY TEST

According to analyst Kai von Carnap of the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies, blockchain-backed tools have potential applications that go well beyond improving administrative efficiency in China.

“More interesting will be those targeting party discipline, internal stability and ideological loyalty,” Von Carnap told AFP.

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said
 https://cna-sg-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/image/12059022/16x9/670/377/4fa319d4c8e8c12060091d197dfd0249/sF/chinese-shares-jumped-this-week-as-investors-piled-into-stocks-linked-to-blockchain-after-xi-said-china-should-step-up-research-and-development-of-the-technology-1572750315390-3.jpg

Chinese shares jumped this week as investors piled into stocks linked to blockchain, after Xi said China should step up research and development of the technology. (Photo: AFP/Hector Retamal)

One example is a newly launched app by the Communist Party that asks members to explain why they joined and what party loyalty means to them.

Blockchain technology is then used to store their responses on a permanent, widely distributed ledger – recording their thoughts in cyberspace forever.


“NOT A FAN”

As China trumpets its push for more blockchain technology, it is hoping to outpace trade-war rival the United States, whose President Donald Trump tweeted his disdain for cryptocurrencies in July.

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” he wrote.

The contrast between the world’s two biggest economies is “striking”, according to Pompliano, who says “bitcoin, blockchain technology, and digital assets are not a priority for America”.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had to defend his plans to launch a digital coin called Libra to the US Congress in October, after it faced a torrent of criticism from all sides – including governments who see it as a threat to their monetary sovereignty.

“I don’t think Libra will succeed,” Huang Qifan, vice director of the CCIEE, an economic think-tank that advises Beijing, said this week in remarks widely reported by state media.

“It is better … to have sovereign digital currencies issued by a government or a central bank,” he said.

Last year China released a damning report on existing digital currencies, saying they were “increasingly used as a tool in criminal activities.”

But while Beijing banned cryptocurrencies two years ago, it is fast-tracking preparations for its own state-run virtual currency, which is supposed to facilitate transactions and reduce costs.

The anonymity of cryptocurrencies allows users to buy and sell freely without leaving a digital trail – but China’s mooted e-cash system will be tightly regulated, experts say, and run by the People’s Bank of China.

Source: AFP/zl   Source link


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BLOCKCHAIN beyond Bitcoin

Tech Titans of China


How China’s Tech Sector is challenging the world by innovating faster, working harder, and going global

The rise of China’s tech companies and intense competition from the sector is just beginning. This will present an ongoing management and strategy challenge for companies for many years to come. Tech Titans of China is the go-to-guide for companies (and those interested in competition from China) seeking to understand China’s grand tech ambitions, who the players are and what their strategy is. Fannin, an expert on China, is an internationally-recognized journalist, author and speaker. She hosts 12 live events annually for business leaders, venture capitalists, start-up founders, and others impacted by or interested in cashing in on the Chinese tech industry. In this illuminating book, she provides readers with the ammunition they need to prepare and compete.

Featuring detailed profiles of the Chinese tech companies making waves, the tech
sectors that matter most in China’s grab for super power status, and predictions for China’s tech dominance in just 10 years.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES , USA TODAY , AND WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected expert.

 

American China Experts open letter against Trump’s China policy; Hong Kong attacks a political act


‘China is Not an Enemy’ Says Open Letter Signed by 100 American China Experts to Trump

 

U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: VCG
U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: VCG

Experts tell Trump that China is not the enemy, so who is?

A hundred American academics, diplomats and experts from the military and business communities signed an open letter calling on President Donald Trump to reexamine his policy toward China. The letter was published Wednesday in the Washington Post.

In the letter, titled “China is Not an Enemy,” the signatories express concern over the negative orientation of the Trump administration’s China policy.

“We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted in every sphere,” the experts say in the letter.

The five authors are M. Taylor Fravel, a professor at MIT; J. Stapleton Roy, a former U.S. ambassador to China; Michael D. Swaine of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Susan A. Thornton, the former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Ezra Vogel, a professor at the Harvard University Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

The deterioration of the bilateral relationship is not in the interests of the U.S. or the rest of the world, and Trump’s attempt to “decouple China from the global economy” will damage the U.S. global reputation, according to the letter.

“The United States cannot significantly slow China’s rise without damaging itself,” the authors write.

“The fear that Beijing will replace the United States as the global leader is exaggerated,” the letter says. “Most other countries have no interest in such an outcome, and it is not clear that Beijing itself sees this goal as necessary or feasible.”

The key message of the letter is that the U.S. should not make China its enemy, especially in a rash manner, said Li Cheng, director of the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center, who signed the letter.

Signatories are representative as they hold different views toward China — some are pro-China and others are more critical, Li said. But they all disagree with the Trump administration’s China policy, Li said.

“I won’t say we are the majority,” Li said. “Maybe we are the minority that can’t change some people’s extreme views, but among those who reexamine the U.S. policy on China, many have started reconsideration.” Additional scholars have endorsed the letter after its publication online, he said.

A better policy orientation for the U.S. would focus on building long-term alliances that support economic and security objectives based on a realistic assessment of China’s ideology, interests, goals and actions, the experts write.

“We believe that the large number of signers of this open letter clearly indicates that there is no single Washington consensus endorsing an overall adversarial stance toward China, as some believe exists,” the letter concludes.

Views toward China vary significantly among different social groups in the U.S. and also inside the government, Li said.

“There is a need for different voices to let China know that there is no consensus on America’s China policy, and there won’t be one for a long time,” Li said.

Most of the signers are older experts who don’t represent the views of younger Americans, some observers said. Although the open letter originally targeted senior scholars with strong academic backgrounds, Li said it’s inappropriate to argue that younger scholars view China in a more adversarial way. A public poll showed that Americans under 29 are actually friendlier toward China, Li said.

Older scholars and officials have a better understanding of China after witnessing the country’s changes over recent decades, but members of younger generations will also know China better as time goes by, Li said.

“A proper discussion of China policy is very important, and it shouldn’t be limited inside the government,” Li said. Although it is unclear whether the letter will influence policy, he said it sends a strong message that “the views toward China between the U.S. government and scholars are different.”

Since last year, the two countries have been locked in a trade war, slapping tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed last week at a G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, to resume trade talks. The U.S. also agreed not to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports.

This story was updated with Li’s comments.

By Qing Ying, Ren Qiuyu and Han Wei

Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (qiuyuren@caixin.com); Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

 

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Trump urged to  take ‘wiser’  approach with  Beijing in open letter from China
experts in US The Straits Times

 

US actions hurting relations with China, 100 academics, policy …

Letter to exert positive impact but unlikely to be taken seriously by White House: experts

An open letter to US President Donald Trump signed by scores of Asia specialists including former US diplomats and military officers has revealed that rational voices are emerging to challenge paranoid ideas, Chinese experts noted on Thursday.

China insists all trade war tariffs must be eliminated as part of a trade deal

‘Hong Kong attacks a political act’ – Asean+ | The Star Online

During an interview Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt still refused to directly criticize the violent protesters who stormed and vandalized the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Instead, he superficially stated that the UK condemns “all violence” and warned China again. He did not elaborate on the “serious consequences” that he previously warned China that it may face, but said the UK is “keeping options open” over China.

Almost all analyses believe Hunt is putting on an air. Nobody believes the UK will send its only aircraft carrier to China’s coast. Nor would anyone believe the UK will punish Beijing at the cost of hurting trade with China. The UK has been dwarfed by China in military and trade. Hunt’s inappropriate statements make many British people nervous: Will Beijing cancel an order from the UK to warn British politicians?

If China-UK relations deteriorate, will expelling Chinese diplomats become a card for London? This was the way that the Theresa May government used to deal with Moscow when a former Russian spy was poisoned in the UK. BBC reporters asked Hunt about the possibility for expelling diplomats. But it seems more like these BBC reporters, who bully politicians for pleasure, were using the unreliable option to make things difficult for Hunt.

Launching a diplomatic war against China leads to nowhere. European countries will not stand by London on the Hong Kong issue. By worsening diplomatic relations with China, the UK will only isolate itself.

What’s important is that Beijing has done nothing wrong on the Hong Kong issue. It is obvious to all that China persists in the “one country, two systems” policy, and Hong Kong’s system is different from the mainland’s. The Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, proposed by Hong Kong regional government, was a small cause of the unrest. It was politicized and magnified by opposition factions. The situation escalated according to the logic under Hong Kong’s system, not that of the mainland. But such storming and vandalizing is not acceptable under Hong Kong’s system or any system worldwide.

Instead of blaming violent protesters, Hunt directed his ire against Beijing, which is based on his selfish interests to win the election. Hunt wants to defeat Boris Johnson. In charge of diplomacy, Hunt believes the Hong Kong issue is a chance that dropped into his and the UK’s lap. But this is not the 19th century when the Opium War broke out. The UK has gone past its prime.

Hunt knew that Beijing would sniff at his threat of “serious consequences.” But he still said it because he needed to play in front of voters. This is political fraud. Hunt obviously believes that the British people can be manipulated like a flock of sheep.

But Hunt’s stunt has no good effect. Many British people are more worried whether Hunt’s words would lead to “serious consequences” from China. Purpose and ability should match in diplomatic strategy, but Hunt is obviously outwardly strong and inwardly weak. Even the British people think his performance is amusing.

In a few short years, one minute the UK calls its relations with China the “Golden Era,” and the next minute it warns China of “serious consequences.” Although these statements are from different administrations and politicians, the UK still shows inconsistency in policy. The country also swung from side to side on Brexit. The UK’s politics have become politicians’ coffers and plots. They are undermining the UK’s image.

Under such circumstances, we should not be too serious when dealing with the UK. Regardless of whether it shows a friendly or an opportunistic gesture, we should remind ourselves this will not be its first or last attitude toward China, and by saying that we mean it will be in a relatively short time, to be specific. – Global Times

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American anti-China Hawks ignited the trade war, are Trump’s advisors


Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US President-elect Donald Trump appointed Peter Navarro, a strident critic of China, as head of the new National Trade Council on Wednesday. Most of the Trump’s views in his accusation against China during and after the election are influenced by Navarro. Moreover, Trump’s special adviser Carl Icahn and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross also take a hard line on the trade with China. The possibility of a potential trade war between China and the US after Trump takes office has come under heated discussion.

Trump’s Top China Expert Isn’t a China Expert

 

Peter Navarro doesn’t speak Chinese, and has scant in-country experience. Should that matter?

University of California at Irvine Economics Professor Peter Navarro, head of White House National Trade Council nominee for president-elect Donald Trump, arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. A top congressional ally to Trump said Thursday that Republicans will repeal Obamacare, including some funding provisions, quickly while a replacement plan is due in “six to eight months.” Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/13/peter-navarro-profile-national-trade-council-donald-trump-china-expert

The issue needs to be considered in the backdrop of a major adjustment of the US policies toward China. At present, there is a glaring contrast between the economic prosperity and political stability in China and the economic downturn and political division in the US, which stings the US policy elites who are steadfast defenders of the US hegemony and its role as the world leader. Those elites tend to believe that the increasingly powerful China has not made the changes approved by the US and is trying to upend the international order shaped by the US.

Thus, it has now gradually become an expectation for the incoming US government to discard the long-standing engagement policy and adopt tougher or more confrontational policies toward China instead.

Against this backdrop, the trade topics closely associated with employment and welfare have become more sensitive but quite effective tools for the China hawks to create an unfriendly public opinion against China. The China-US trade disputes are no longer simply economic topics, but have strong political and strategic implications.

The manufacturing industry is not only the foundation for the US economic recovery, but also the key to solving the unemployment problem and guaranteeing social stability. The imbalance of China-US economic and trade relationship is considered by economists represented by Navarro as the critical reason for the weakening US manufacturing industry. They believe that the current close trade ties have boosted China’s rapid development, whereas the hundreds of billions of dollars of US trade deficit with China has led to the current economic woes in the US. They also blame the US manufacturing companies that moved their factories to China for the high domestic unemployment rate.

In other words, the field of trade, which has long been regarded as mutually beneficial, is now considered by advisers of the incoming US government to be detrimental to their country’s interests. The US maintains that a major trade policy adjustment needs to be urgently pushed forward to give China a head-on blow.

Although bilateral trade generally works by following WTO rules, the US policy elites, represented by Navarro, maintain that their country’s serious inherent economic problems are caused by both China, which fails to address bilateral trade problems impartially, and the US government, which neglects the American public’s demands. They keep overstating China’s negative role to the American public, and thus have made full preparation for a big policy change toward China in the coming years.

Given the current policymaking atmosphere in the US as well as Trump’s picks of advisers, the US has a strong desire to make a major confrontational policy adjustment in its trade with China in the future. However, it still remains uncertain if the adjustment will directly lead to a trade war.

The high interdependence of bilateral trade indicates that any form of trade war provoked by the US will ultimately hurt itself. It is probably difficult for the Trump team to figure out how much self-damage their country is able to withstand.

During the election campaign, Trump denounced the greediness of Wall Street magnates and promised to create new jobs, but, ironically, the officials he appointed after winning the election mostly came from the Wall Street.

China’s economic power is no longer as it was before, and its defining power over bilateral relations in trade and all the other aspects is stronger than ever. It is impossible for China to sit back and let the US destroy the mutually beneficial situation in trade. Instead, China will firmly push forward the future bilateral ties under the concept of building a new type of major power relationship.

In contrast to the uncertain US trade policies toward China, China’s policies toward the US are clear and concise: get rid of any barriers and push forward bilateral relations in a stable and mutually beneficial direction. The evolution of China-US relationship has always been a process of moving forward and addressing various conflicts along the way. It is hoped “the China-US trade war” will only be a verbal clash, instead of a clash in real action.

By Li Haidong Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/25 13:43:39

The author is a professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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US anti-China hawks may yet scupper trade deal  

Right after the G20 summit in Japan, US Senator Marco Rubio made the headlines again by calling for legislation to continue the ban on Huawei, even after US President Donald Trump said he would lift some of the restrictions on US companies doing business with the Chinese tech giant.

Image result for US Senator Marco Rubio an Anti-China Hawk imagesSenator Rubio Prepares To Blast China …
forbes.com

 

Rubio is a salient representative of the US political extreme. Some US politicians appear to take advantage of the split in US society and are using their extreme political views to gain more voters as well as please different political groups. This actually reflects the increasingly prominent malfunction of US politics.
It is an important reason why China is concerned that the US-launched trade war against China will not end in the short term.

We believe there are rational people who know China well at the US government’s decision-making level. Even so, lawmakers like Rubio have gone too far. They are not messing with China but rather wearing down the credibility of US politics.

The US political system is becoming increasingly flawed. Many politicians deliberately act up to firmly oppose anything that would benefit China for the sake of being anti-China. That the political landscape is becoming extreme in the US is providing these politicians with the opportunity to play to their base if they show an open anti-China stance.

Rubio is one such politician. He paints himself as being hostile to China to draw attention. Despite the fact that the trade war and the Huawei ban are harming the interests of the US, Rubio insists on this excessively tough stance toward China because that could spark controversies which could end up favoring him.

This is what Rubio, an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, needs to fulfill his political ambitions. Such narrow-minded thinking has de facto escalated the US-launched trade war against China.

Rubio doesn’t understand China and probably barely knows China’s history. But taking advantage of being anti-China, he can create hot debates and make headlines, and thus gain more assets for his political career.

Even though people who don’t know much about the world’s second-largest economy can be a senator in the US, it is a joke that someone like Rubio can pretend to be a China hand and comment on China’s policies. This is one of the key reasons for the ratcheted-up tensions between China and the US.

The fundamental split in the US political system provides openings for hawkish politicians who have long been hostile toward China. The US is now in the throes of the 2020 presidential campaign, when candidates vie with each other to make outrageous remarks to appeal to their supporters.

This marked increase in radicals in US politics makes it much more difficult for the US government to function normally and for Republicans and Democrats to reach compromises, especially on major issues.

Even though there are signs of China-US trade frictions turning around, as the US political system will not fundamentally change in the short term, China must remain vigilant and prepare for a long-term trade war, in case the hawks gain the upper hand.

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/30 19:53:39

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Tech war exposes urgent need for talent

 

Trade war involves science, tech strength: Huawei founder

Chinese students have increasingly become interested in participating in math contests organized by elite US institutions. Photo: IC

The escalating China-US trade war, which has become a new cold war in technology, has made attracting talent an urgent task.

The recent call by the founder of China’s Huawei to enhance the country’s fundamental education system was echoed across Chinese society, while observers emphasized the importance of science and math.

In a recent interview with China Central Television aired over the weekend, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, whose company is now in the middle of the China-US trade battle, reiterated the importance of fundamental education and research instead of spending too much time talking about his company’s future.

The 75-year-old entrepreneur said that he cares about education the most because he cares about the country. “If we don’t attach importance to education, we’ll actually return to poverty,” he remarked.

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei meets the media in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, earlier this month. Photo: Courtesy of Huawei

The country’s development relies on culture, philosophy and education, which are fundamental, Ren said. And the escalating China-US trade war involves strength in science and technology, which comes down to the level of education.

His remarks put the focus on basic education.

Wang Lixin, vice mayor of Shenzhen, a city that is often seen as the new Silicon Valley as it gathers hundreds and thousands of high-tech firms, said at a recent conference that fundamental research is important to not only Shenzhen but the whole country.

“In the 1980s, we often said if you learn math, physics and chemistry well, you will achieve anywhere. Then we had doubts, as working in finance, economy or design would earn you more money. Considering the current situation, it’s time to bring up that slogan again,” Wang was quoted as saying in media reports on Sunday.

As part of broader efforts to strengthen science and technology, Shenzhen, which is now at the forefront of the China-US tech battle, where tech firms such as Huawei and DJI being targeted by the Trump administration are located, has vowed to invest one-third of its science and research funding to fundamental research, to the tune of over 4 billion yuan ($580 million), reports said.

On China’s Twitter-like Weibo, net users praised Ren’s call and considered improving the country’s education system as the most urgent task. “High-tech growth cannot be supported only by a huge amount of money. Only with continuous efforts in fundamental education can the goal be achieved,” a netizen said.

A mother surnamed Song, who lives in western Beijing’s Haidian district, said she has always insisted that fundamental education should not become a heavy burden for children. However, the escalating trade war, especially the Huawei incident, has made it more urgent to enhance the country’s overall STEM education, she believed.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and these academic disciplines are often seen as fundamentals for a country in a race for high-tech supremacy.

“I’m thinking about sending her to an afterschool training course on mathematics this summer,” she told the Global Times on Monday, referring to her 7-year-old daughter, who is now living at an increasingly competitive environment.

Fundamental research

As the world’s two largest economies spar over tech, Chinese industry representatives are considering enhancing fundamental education, including science and math, as a major task, especially after many Chinese parents have been complaining in recent months about the current dogmatic policies of stifling rising talent.

The authorities’ latest move to ease the schoolwork burden on primary and middle school students also weakened science and math education, and the ban on extracurricular coaching for Olympiad-style contests issued in 2018 will seriously affect the cultivation of talented students in STEM, analysts said.

“This one-size-fits-all approach will hurt fundamental education in the country and make our children fall behind their American counterparts in the future, which needs to be corrected,” Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times.

The Ministry of Education issued a guideline in December 2018 to ease academic burden in primary and middle schools. The guideline says primary and high schools are forbidden from hosting math Olympiads to recruit students. The move follows a change in policy on stopping the awarding of extra points to students who have won academic Olympiads or science and technology competitions.

But parents also applauded the government’s efforts to ease the children’s burden, while some advocated a happy-elementary-education approach.

Ren said he attaches great importance to fundamental research, and the country should invest more in developing mathematicians, physicists and chemists instead of just pouring money into industries.

The US clampdown on Huawei, as part of the China-US tech battle, will stimulate technological self-reliance while boosting scientific research and innovation, as US sanctions also exposed the country’s high-tech Achilles’ heel due to Huawei’s reliance on American technologies and core components reflecting the overall shortcoming in the sector.

It’s becoming more urgent for Chinese tech companies to attract talent, as the tech war will eventually become a battle for more talent, analysts said.

“Our country has to have an awareness of crisis, and to clearly see the real gap between China and the US in education,” Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Education Sciences based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

For instance, American students have a deeper understanding of natural sciences and mathematics, as they learn by following their own interests, he noted. “How to arouse the interest of Chinese students in science and technology, which will lead to better fundamental research, remains a challenge,” he said.

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US technology sector faces triple threat


Uncertainty over the future of US-China economic relations has derailed the once high-flying global equity market, which rose almost 15 per cent in the January-April period.

Clive McDonnell, head of Equity Strategy at Standard Chartered Bank, looks at the causes behind the decline.

The technology sector, now facing challenges on a number of fronts, is supposedly the main cause behind the decline.

While President Trump’s policies get blamed for a lot of events impacting global equity markets, he is probably less responsible for the upset in the technology sector than many would have you think.

There are three primary challenges facing the US technology sector:

1. The sector’s high overseas revenue share: over 60% of total revenue comes from

abroad.

2. The threat of regulation on accessing and using personal data.

3. Monopoly powers and the risk of an antitrust investigation.

Let’s consider each factor. US economic growth appears resilient in the face of weaker growth prospects in the euro zone and emerging markets.

However, since US technology companies generate more than 60% of their revenue from overseas, they are acutely sensitive to slower growth prospects outside the US. In the past, they have been able to offset slower growth in the euro zone with robust growth in emerging markets led by China.

The next downturn may witness slower growth in both regions, which would leave US technology companies exposed relative to US banks and utilities which have the lowest overseas revenue exposure amongst US companies.

Additionally, there is a risk that China responds in kind to the US President’s targeting of Chinese technology companies. There is also a risk that US dollar strength creates a negative effect on US technology sector earnings once overseas revenue is converted into US dollars.

The threat of regulation on accessing and use of personal data looms large for technology companies, particularly those in the social media space. Europe has been at the forefront of regulating use of personal data via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

These regulations changed the balance of power between individuals and companies over the use of personal data. The rules give EU citizens more control over their personal data held by companies and the right to have their data removed from databases, the so-called “right to be forgotten” law.

The challenge for US companies is these rules cover their processing of personal data in Europe, regardless of the residential location of the individual generating the data.  

The rules give EU citizens more control over their personal data
held by companies and the right to have their data removed from
databases.

Similar to the long arm of US financial regulators – which impact banks regardless of where they are incorporated once they engage in US dollar transactions – European rules on personal data are impacting US technology companies in ways that are not covered by domestic laws.

The central business challenge for US technology companies, in particular those in the social media sector, is their business models are built on free access to consumer data in exchange for free use of their software, including search, email and productivity tools, such as those available on Google Drive.

If these companies lose unfettered access to personal data, they would likely start charging consumers for use of the same software.

This, in turn, will have a significant impact on their advertising revenues, as the precision they have been able to offer companies targeting customers would decline. No doubt their business models would evolve, but this could be at the cost of lower net margins relative to the near-20% margins they currently enjoy.

Finally, the perceived monopoly power of some of the sector’s leaders and the resultant risk US technology companies face from antitrust investigations is probably the biggest risk to the sector.

The definition of monopoly power in the US, focusing on the short-term price impact on consumers from company actions, has been unchanged for over 40 years.

Specifically, if company actions lead to higher prices, it could be designated as a monopoly (and importantly, the reverse also applies). This is relevant for technology companies as many have helped to lower prices for consumers.

The definition of monopoly power is changing. This is led by Lina Khan, a Legal Fellow at the Federal Trade Commission and an academic Fellow at Columbia Law School.

In a paper, entitled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox (1)”, she challenged the current interpretation of antitrust law which is designed to curb monopolistic power. She proposed that lower prices were not necessarily good for consumers if prices were used as a tool to choke off competition and eventually restrict consumer choice.

The primary tool available to technology companies to manipulate consumer choices (and some would say restrict competition) is their search algorithm.

Whenever a social media or e-commerce company implements a change to their search algorithm, the ensuing uproar amongst its users and customers is a measure of the importance this tool has to drive sales and choices for consumers.

The search algorithm assumes unique power once a platform becomes dominant in an industry and consumers no longer look at other platforms as they believe that their chosen one offers them all the choice they need.

The risk is: their choices are being determined by companies who pay more to appear higher up the search results than those which pay less, even though the latter companies may offer lower prices.

If regulators’ definition of monopoly power evolves, as Lina Khan suggests, there is a risk of antitrust investigations against US technology sector leaders, with penalties ranging from fines to reversal of prior acquisitions.

The challenges facing the US technology sector have converged at a time when valuations are elevated and earnings growth has weakened.

They are shining a light on their business model, which can undoubtedly evolve, but may require changes that the market is not currently anticipating.

Clive McDonnell is Head of Equity Strategy at Standard Chartered Private Bank.

The views expresssed here are entirely the writer’s own.

 

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