Recently some web users have taken photos of a large Chinese surface warship being built. The ship looks clearly different from China’s existing 903/903A large comprehensive replenishment ship. Sources say that China is building Type 901 large comprehensive replenishment ship as an important part of its future aircraft carrier battle group.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “First ever disclosure of a ‘wet nurse for aircraft carrier’ China is building” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
The capitals of the world’s two most populous nations, China and India, were blanketed in hazardous, choking smog on Monday as climate change talks began in Paris, where leaders of both countries are among the participants.
China’s capital Beijing maintained an “orange” pollution alert, the second-highest level, on Monday, closing highways, halting or suspending construction and prompting a warning to residents to stay indoors.
The choking pollution was caused by the “unfavourable” weather, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Sunday. Emissions in northern China soar over winter as urban heating systems are switched on and low wind speeds have meant that polluted air has not been dispersed.
In New Delhi, the U.S. embassy’s monitoring station recorded an air quality index of 372, which puts air pollution levels well into “hazardous” territory. A thick smog blanketed the city and visibility was down to about 200 yards (metres).
Air quality in the city of 16 million is usually bad in winter, when coal fires are lit by the poor to ward off the cold. Traffic fumes, too, are trapped over the city by a temperature inversion and the lack of wind.
However, the government has not raised any alarm over the current air quality and no advisories have been issued to the public. Thirty thousand runners took part in a half marathon at the weekend, when pollution levels were just as high.
In Beijing, a city of 22.5 million, the air quality index in some parts of the city soared to 500, its highest possible level. At levels higher than 300, residents are encouraged to remain indoors, according to government guidelines.
The hazardous air underscores the challenge facing the government as it battles pollution caused by the coal-burning power industry and will raise questions about its ability to clean up its economy at the talks in Paris.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are both in Paris and both were scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to give momentum to the two-week negotiations.
“WHEN A CHILD IS BORN, WE PLANT A TREE”
Modi sought to highlight India’s green credentials in an article for the Financial Times on Monday, writing: “The instinct of our culture is to take a sustainable path to development. When a child is born, we plant a tree.”
But at Connaught Place, a city centre landmark in New Delhi, people chided the government for failing to minimise the risks to their health from air pollution.
“The pollution level is so high it’s just unbelievable,” said Aisha, a 19-year-old student.
For Beijing’s residents, the poor air makes breathing hard.
“This sort of weather, you can see that all of Beijing has been completely enveloped in smog…and for every breath, getting up every morning, your throat will feel particularly uncomfortable,” said Zhang Heng, a 26-year-old architect.
The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said on Sunday that it had requested factories to limit or suspend output and had also stopped construction work throughout the city.
The ministry said the number of cities affected by heavy pollution had reached 23, stretching across 530,000 square km, an area the size of Spain, but a cold front beginning on Wednesday would see the situation improve.
State-run Xinhua news agency said more than 200 expressway toll gates in east China’s Shandong province were closed on Monday due to smog. The province issued a yellow alert.
China launched a “war on pollution” last year following a spate of smog outbreaks in Beijing and surrounding regions.
China has vowed to slash coal consumption and close down polluting industrial capacity, but environmental officials admit that the country is unlikely to meet state air quality standards until at least 2030.
Reducing coal use and promoting cleaner forms of energy are set to play a crucial role in China’s pledges to bring its climate warming greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by around 2030.
(Reporting by David Stanway, Kathy Chen and Adam Rose in Beijing, and; Douglas Busvine and Alex Richardson in New Delhi; Editing by Josephine Mason and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
Source: Reuters “Smog chokes Chinese, Indian capitals as climate talks begin”
Once the site of violent clashes between Tibetans and Chinese security forces, the ancient area of Barkhor in the Tibetan capital has become one of the safest places in China, officials say, thanks in part to an on-the-ground surveillance network.
Guard posts erected among shops and in courtyards around the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa watch the comings and goings of residents. The posts are manned by locals who are selected by the residents’ management committee, though some appeared to be unstaffed. At night, the doors to the courtyards are locked, residents say.
Managing the remote Himalayan region of Tibet remains a difficult issue for China, which has struggled with decades of often violent unrest in protest at Chinese rule, which started when Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950.
The government’s strategy, which was formally rolled out across the region in November 2014, is a “grid management” surveillance system aimed at managing society “without gaps, without blind spots, without blanks,” according to state media.
“This is a Chinese specialty, where the masses participate in managing and controlling society and they also enjoy the results of managing their society,” said Qi Zhala, the top Communist Party official in Lhasa.
Earlier this month, Reuters reporters, along with a small group of journalists, were granted a rare visit to the region on a highly choreographed official tour. Chinese authorities restrict access for foreign journalists to Tibet, making independent assessments of the situation difficult.
For the Han Chinese, many of whom have moved to Lhasa in recent years, the scheme is popular.
“If there’s anyone suspicious entering the courtyard, then they know,” said Shou Tianjiang, a Barkhor resident, referring to the ramshackle guard post erected in the center of the courtyard where he rents a room for his sock business.
The changes that have transformed Lhasa are evident. Five years ago when Reuters was last allowed access to the Tibetan capital, squads of paramilitary officers patrolled the streets and armored personnel carriers were stationed on most roads. But the paramilitary presence was not visible on the visit this November.
Activists say, however, that the real aim of the program is to maintain absolute control over the Tibetan population. Beijing reviles exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.
“They want to detect and root out any sentiment that runs counter to the party state,” said Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet.
Rights groups say China has violently tried to stamp out religious freedom and culture in Tibet. China rejects the criticism, saying its rule has ended serfdom and brought development to a backward region.
Source: Reuters “China deploys mass surveillance to secure streets around ancient Tibetan temple”
Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report today that according to Russian sputniknews.com, Igor Lisoff, an observer of Aerospace News magazine, told sputniknews news agency that China is the leader in aerospace field in terms of development potential and speed.
Lisoff believes that China is vigorously developing its space program to build a new space system that neither Russia nor the U.S. can achieve in terms of speed and quantity.
He says that according to the information he has gathered, China has launched 87 carrier rockets over the past decade. Many of those rockets carried more than one satellite.
He pointed out: China ranks the first in the 97% reliability it has achieved.
According to Xinhua News Agency, China launched Yaogan (remote sensor)-29 satellite for survey of natural resources and other purposes.
Lisoff believes that the satellite is a strategic one as China lacks resources for its fast growth rate of 6%-7%.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russia media: China leads by far in space potential with a speed neither the U.S. nor Russia can achieve” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
The first of 30 Comac ARJ21 planes delivered to Chengdu Airlines amid nationalistic fervour
China’s ambition of an indigenous plane took wings on Sunday as its first home-grown passenger jet, the Comac ARJ21, entered commercial service after 13 years in the making.
Configured with 90 economy-class seats, the jet was delivered to its launch customer, Chengdu Airlines, from Comac’s Shanghai factory and flown to Chengdu by the airline’s general manager Sui Mingguang and deputy manager Zhang Fang in an emotionally charged event bursting with nationalistic rhetoric.
“I am very proud to fly the first Chinese-made jet…It is not in any way inferior to the A320,” said Zhang, the captain, upon landing, as reporters unleashed a volley of questions on comparisons with the bigger Airbus product.
Chengdu Airlines, a budget carrier in which Comac has a 48 per cent stake, now faces the task of establishing its maker’s claims and proving to the world that China has arrived as a plane maker. ARJ’s commercial performance will serve as a test case for the bigger C919, China’s answer to Boeing and Airbus in the 150-seat category, that rolled off the assembly line this month.
The ARJ has yet to gain US endorsement, limiting its market to non-Western skies. But Comac has already received more than 300 orders, including from customers in the Republic of Congo, Thailand, Myanmar and Germany.
The plane was certified by the Chinese aviation authority last December after nearly seven years of tests.
Chengdu Airlines, which has a fleet of 20 A320s, said it planned to use the ARJ in less than three months upon completing post-delivery tests. It is likely to be used on prominent routes between Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen first, before being deployed in southwest China.
Chengdu Airlines will receive four more ARJs from Comac next year – the first batch of the 30 planes it ordered. But the airline will also need to find pilots. Since pilot licences are model-specific, there are just 10 pilots licensed to fly ARJ in the country at present. They include four at Chengdu Airlines, all of whom were in the cockpit yesterday.
Converting to an ARJ licence will be a major career gamble for pilots whose pay depends on their flying hours and who are not allowed to operate multiple models at the same time.
Despite that, the response of the airline’s nearly 400 A320 pilots had been “more enthusiastic” than expected, said Captain Ti Wei, deputy manager of the airline’s flight department.
That is in part because the company is tripling the hourly pay to make up for the shorter flying hours that ARJ will entail.
Ti is one of the first batch of 16 experienced pilots at the airline on course for the training, which takes 50-70 days. “I am looking forward to being able to fly China’s own plane,” said Ti, who has flown in an ARJ simulator and found it to be “very smooth”.
Olga Razzhivina, a director at aircraft appraiser Oriel, said: “As the ARJ enters service, Comac’s support ability will be the main test. Being a newcomer to aircraft manufacturing is not easy. Not only the aircraft itself has to be safe, the manufacturer has to convince potential customers of its ability to resolve any technical issues quickly and efficiently.”
The ARJ is entering a crowded market currently dominated by Brazil’s Embrarer and Canada’s Bombardier.
Source: SCMP “After 13 years, China’s home-grown Comac ARJ21 passenger jet enters commercial service”
China, already a global powerhouse in high-tech areas from solar panels to bullet trains, is turning its industrial might to the challenge of making more of its own drugs for a vast and aging population.
Given the 10 years or more it typically takes to bring a new medicine to market, original “Made in China” treatments won’t arrive overnight, but multinationals are already encountering more competition from local generic drugs that look set for a quantum leap in quality.
The stakes are high. China is the world’s second biggest drugs market behind the United States, and fast food, smoking and pollution have fueled a rise in cancers and chronic heart and lung diseases.
The country also has more diabetics than any other in the world, with numbers expected to hit 151 million by 2040 from 110 million today, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
That has made China a sweet spot for Denmark’s Novo Nordisk; the world’s biggest insulin producer has mined a rich seam in the country since opening production facilities here in 1995.
By 2010, it dominated 63 percent of China’s insulin market. But it has recently been losing ground to local competitors cheered on by Beijing.
“China is going to be tough for us for the next couple of years,” said Chief Science Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen. “Right now, the country is very focused on building domestic production.”
Local rivals are selling both cut-price basic insulin and sophisticated modern versions, including a biosimilar copy of Sanofi’s Lantus made by Chinese biotech specialist Gan & Lee Pharmaceuticals.
END OF BRANDED GENERICS?
Greater local competition is also evident in other areas, helping the top 10 Chinese drugmakers grow sales 12 percent on average this year, according to IMS Consulting – twice the rate of multinationals, which suffered a setback from a bribery scandal at GlaxoSmithKline two years ago.
GSK itself has seen its drug sales slump.
Increasing local competition is part of a structural upheaval in China’s hospital-dominated prescription drug market. Selling drugs to patients at a hefty mark-up – especially off-patent Western “branded generics” – often accounts for 40-50 percent of Chinese hospitals’ revenues. But the authorities are now pushing a policy of zero mark-ups, initially in smaller county hospitals.
“Branded generics are something that exist today, but the need for them in 10 years time is not going to be there,” said Luke Miels, AstraZeneca’s global portfolio head.
That means foreign firms will be more reliant on new, patented medicines, although the scale of demand for such expensive products is uncertain in a country with only basic health insurance cover.
At the other end of the spectrum, multinationals aim to build up volume, often in partnership with local players, in the big markets outside China’s top cities, where distribution costs are high and prices low.
“It’s the right thing to do, even if profit margins shrink,” said the head of one big multinational.
Pivotal to the transformation of the market is the China Food and Drug Administration, led by reformist boss Bi Jingquan since January.
The watchdog has promised to speed up approval of innovative new drugs, which can take 5-7 years, while cracking down on substandard local generics.
“This creates lots of opportunities for local Chinese companies that have a strong focus on innovation,” said a spokesman for China’s Fosun Pharma, which sees itself among the winners.
It is not alone. A cluster of drug research labs in eastern Shanghai highlights the promise of China’s life sciences sector. The area brings together multinational and local firms, alongside contract research businesses and small biotech operations.
Among the latter is Hua Medicine, led by Chinese-born, Western-educated Chief Executive Li Chen, who used to run Roche’s China R&D center. Now he is developing a novel diabetes treatment, licensed from Roche, while working on Hua’s own promising leads.
Another standard-bearer for Chinese biotech is Beijing-based cancer specialist BeiGene, which last month announced plans for a $100 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
At a time when China’s academic researchers have grabbed headlines by editing the genes of human embryos, such start-ups highlight the commercial potential of China’s biotech know-how.
The history of failure in drug development suggests they won’t have an easy ride, but GSK’s China R&D head Min Li, a returnee from America, believes “there is a real chance for China to leap ahead in life sciences”.
Dennis Gillings, executive chairman of leading contract research organization Quintiles, said the number of Chinese-developed drugs in the pipeline was rising fast.
“It’s probably been taking everyone a little by surprise, the sheer scale of that,” he said. “As we hit the next decade in the 2020s, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t at least a top 20, if not top 10, global pharma player that was headquartered in China.”
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Will Waterman)
Source: Reuters “Beijing aims to refill medicine chest with ‘Made in China’ drugs”
A real war may break out between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea as Chinese submarine no. 372 has recently received a first-degree combat readiness order on its way back from a secret cruise at high seas. It was ordered to go to the South China Sea with such combat readiness.
That is what people.com.cn says in its report today.
The website provides in the report as relevant information that there are four degrees of combat readiness. The troops are in first i.e. highest degree combat readiness when the situation is very tense and there is a clear sign of war against China. All means of reconnaissance shall be in active operation to monitor the enemy and reserve troops shall be expanded and ready for emergency, etc.
Source: people.com.cn “PLA meritorious submarine sent to the South China Sea on its way back with an order of first-degree combat readiness” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
PLA Daily published a report on November 23 on China’s new mobile radar able to track a missile several thousands km away but this blogger has not been able to find any photo of it.
According to the report, the radar consists of one command vehicle, five equipment vehicles and five maintenance vehicles. No. 1 vehicle that carries the radar is more than 20 meters long and weighs nearly 50 tons.
It is quite difficult to erect the radar due to the high accuracy required. To keep it accurately horizontal, four people has to swing the rocker arms of its four supporting legs more than 3,000 times each to adjust the legs.
It is also time consuming to withdraw the radar, which involves removing nearly one thousand bolt and nuts and place them on a specially designed frame to facilitate re-erection.
When a missile has been launched, the radar has to promptly catch it and track it. That requires much strict training. The troops operating the radar have been out working for accumulated time of one year in the past one and a half years.
Source: PLA Daily “Second Artillery Corp’s new radar tracks a missile several thousands km away: More difficult than finding a needle in a stack” (summary by Chan Kai Yee of the report in Chinese)
Beijing Morning Post says in its report yesterday that Shen Jinke, spokesman of Chinese air force, announced the news in Nanjing on November 27 that Chin’s H-6K bombers and various types of fighter/bombers and early warning aircrafts conducted training more than 1,000 km outside the first island chain
Chinese military’s website 81.cn and newspaper PLA Daily says in their report that the warplanes set out from an airfield in South China to fly continuously for several thousand km and successful conducted precision attack at various targets.
Shen said that was the fourth training of that kind this year and that Chinese aircrafts always conduct patrol of China’s East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone to identify the nationality and type of aircrafts entering the zone and track them.
Note: It must be very clear that there are no military targets in that sea area except U.S. navy.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Chinese air force patrol East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone and flies more than 1,000 km out of island chain” (summary and comment by Chan Kai Yee on the report in Chinese)
Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report yesterday “China has made breakthrough in strategic new material graphene” that the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) holds a ceremony in Beijing to announce and sign its program for graphene scientific and technological development and industry.
The report regards graphene as a revolutionary new strategic material as it is the thinnest and strongest known matrial with the best stiffness, strength, fatigue resistance, electrical conductivity and coefficient of heat transfer and low linear expansion coefficient.
Titanium alloy strengthened with graphene is used in China’s hypersonic flying vehicle while aluminium alloy strengthened with it has been used in aircrafts. Graphene strengthened material is used in C919 airliner’s nose, fuselage and wings to reduce their weight and increase their strength.
In addition, graphene can be used in armor to greatly reduce its weight as well as in making flak jacket.
Graphene can also be used to improve high temperature alloy for aircraft engine.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “China has made breakthrough in strategic new material graphene” (summary by Chan Kai Yee of the report in Chinese)