The Quantum Gap with China

China has ramped up its investment in developing quantum technologies, but few understand the impacts of losing this modern-day space race.

By Thomas E. Ricks | November 28, 2017, 10:00 AM

China has ramped up its investment in developing quantum technologies, but few understand the impacts of losing this modern-day space race.

Seventy-five years ago, the United States and imperial Japanese navies (IJN) faced off at the Battle of Midway, an engagement that would prove decisive in determining the outcome of World War II in the Pacific. The U.S. navy (USN) had devoted tremendous intelligence resources to detecting when and where such a battle might occur. They had long known that the IJN’s primary strategic objective was to lure the USN into a decisive fight. The IJN planned a surprise attack. Why then did the USN take such a risk?
The USN knew it had two critical advantages despite being outgunned and likely years behind in naval readiness than their Japanese counterparts. First, it had broken its adversary’s codes and unlocked access to all of imperial Japan’s communications. They knew precisely when and where an attack would take place. Second, the USN had outclassed its adversary’s fighting platforms with two new and revolutionary technologies, radar and sonar. Therefore, not only did the USN know precisely when and where to place its forces to counter the IJN punch, but it also maintained better situational awareness throughout the fight. Had the United States not recognized the strategic importance these technologies would play throughout the war it may have cost it victory at Midway and many other points along the way.

How does the Battle of Midway relate to the ongoing race to develop quantum technologies? Quantum technologies are those that make use of some of the properties of quantum mechanics. Features such as quantum entanglement, quantum superposition, and quantum tunneling can be applied in new forms of computation, sensing, and cryptography. Many are convinced that whoever masters this esoteric field will gain a similar dominance both in codebreaking and advanced sensors. These advantages will tip scales both in the ongoing cyber war being carried out daily over the global internet and in future state-on-state combat.

Given these risks, China’s recent announcement of a $10 billion, four million square foot national quantum laboratory in Heifi should raise alarms. Having already demonstrated a head-start in a handful of quantum technology applications — such as its launch of the Micius satellite, the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, and China’s claimed engineering of a quantum radar capable of detecting current stealth technologies — China has proven it wants to maintain its advantage. These achievements combined with the massive investment by the Chinese government in quantum research should be a wake-up call to policy-makers and military leaders alike.

China’s increased spending and demonstrated advances in developing quantum technologies will enable advantages both commercially, and militarily, for a handful of reasons. The most concerning advantage relates to codebreaking. Today, communication networks pass digital information over public infrastructures, such as fiber optic pathways and wireless airwaves, using encryption to prevent eavesdroppers from reading the content of the message traffic. The only thing stopping eavesdroppers from decrypting this traffic is the mathematical complexity of doing so. Quantum computers will have the ability to crack these codes in far less time than today’s most advanced conventional computers. Furthermore, as quantum computers make linear gains in computational power, they will exponentially decrease the time it takes to break current means of encryption.

Conversely, just as quantum technologies can be used to decrypt traditional security measures, it also can protect information in sophisticated new quantum communication channels. One of the more pervasive concerns of relying on public infrastructure to communicate sensitive information comes from eavesdroppers. Man-in-the-middle attacks allow eavesdroppers to place sensors along public communication pathways to copy all data passing through these channels and attempt to decrypt it either in real-time or later through brute-force. Today, traditional networks have no reliable means to detect when these types of listening apparatus are emplaced. Quantum technologies, by design, detect changes at the smallest of scales.

The extreme sensitivity of quantum technologies enables them to detect anomalies such as when an eavesdropper attempts to copy or siphon off data. China has already tested a 2,000km long quantum communication pathway from Beijing to Shanghai that employs this powerful new means of detecting man-in-the-middle eavesdroppers. They have already begun to defend their most sensitive networks.

If we return to the lessons learned from the Battle of Midway, the USN realized early on that having better sensors meant providing military leaders better situational awareness in tactical engagements. The rise of quantum technologies that enhance sensing will also dramatically change the landscape of military technologies in coming years. Quantum metrology technologies enable measurements of minute changes such as gravity upon subatomic particles and other characteristic changes that occur at atomic scales. Developments in this arena will have profound effects on a variety of sensors. China claims that it has already created a new form of quantum radar capable of defeating the electromagnetic stealth technologies employed in the $1 trillion F-35 program. This would render much of the strategic investments sunk into this platform tragically outdated and call into question the future viability of this already controversial program. The announced quantum information sciences laboratory in Heifi would also focus on the development of quantum metrology and appears set to build upon China’s early claims regarding quantum radar successes.

Source: Foreign Policy “The Quantum Gap with China”

Note: This is Foreign Policy’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

Back to school: China kindergarten weathers child abuse storm for now

Adam Jourdan, Philip Wen November 29, 2017 / 5:58 PM / Updated 11 hours ago

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – When RYB Education Inc became enmeshed in allegations of child abuse at one of its Beijing kindergartens, it touched off an angry online furor in China, a police inquiry and a precipitous fall in the company’s New York-listed shares.

Barely a week later, the firm appears to have weathered much of the storm, for now. Chinese police said late on Tuesday some claims of abuse were unfounded, although one teacher was in custody for using knitting needles to discipline children.

The company’s shares closed up 23.33 percent in New York on Tuesday, after falling over 40 percent last week when allegations first emerged of abuse that included sexual molestation and forced medication.

However, shares fell over 10 percent in pre-market trade on Wednesday after the company said there were parent complaints about other RYB-branded kindergartens and that it was cooperating with police. It gave no other details.

RYB’s actions over the week represented a case of effective crisis management, experts said, rare in the Chinese corporate world where companies tend to hunker down in the face of adverse news and allow events to play out.

RYB appeared to have taken “some good corrective actions”, said James Robinson, managing director of communications consultancy APCO Worldwide’s Shanghai office, adding a well-oiled response and open channels of communication with government stakeholders were key.

“It’s essential for companies to respond swiftly, even if it’s just to acknowledge they are aware of an issue and are investigating further.”

Led by chief executive and founder Shi Yanlai, a vocal proponent for China’s early child education sector, RYB appeared to have hit all the right buttons last week.

“When I heard the news, I was personally shocked and very angry,” Shi said in an investors call on Friday.

“This issue has struck an alarm bell for us,” she said, adding the firm would look to speed up the installation of “blanket surveillance” tools at its schools and day care centres.

RYB announced a $50 million share buyback and said it had dismissed a teacher suspected of involvement in the case as well as the head teacher of the Beijing school.

Shi helped set up RYB in 1998 when her own son was born. It now has over 1,300 play and learn centres and nearly 500 kindergartens in around 300 cities in China. Most are operated on a franchise model.

As the case became a lighting rod for wider anger in China about a lack of trained teachers, low wages and poor regulatory oversight in the massive and fast-growing private pre-school sector, Shi underscored that she was a mother herself and repeated frequently in local media interviews that the children were the top priority.

On Wednesday, the kindergarten in Beijing was operating as normal, with parents milling around waiting for children to finish class. A handful of police officers were the only sign of last week’s troubles.

At the company’s headquarters in southern Beijing, an RYB official said the police had only released their preliminary findings and that the firm could not provide comment until the investigation had finished.

Shi also refused to comment for this story.


Teachers, investors and experts said RYB had so far had got off fairly lightly, with a lot of the anger being aimed at regulators and wider issues in the market. Beijing is sending inspectors to the city’s kindergartens, while China’s education ministry is doing a broad investigation into the sector.

“I‘m not really surprised,” wrote Zhang Xiaolong, an education sector executive who has half a million followers online, referring to Tuesday’s recovery in RYB’s shares.

“After such a serious issue, the government hasn’t taken away RYB’s license to operate schools, and so it seems like it’s being treated like an isolated incident.”

Teachers in China said the furor over the case – hundreds of millions posted online about it last week – reflected bubbling tensions over the fast development of the private pre-school sector and a lack of resources for teachers.

“Thresholds for kindergarten teachers getting into the profession are too low; but also status, social recognition and levels of respect for the role are lacking,” said Zhong Qian, the head of a private kindergarten in Chengdu.

“Increasingly there’s a mismatch between the demand from students and the need for teachers.”

RYB has survived similar scandals in the past, at another of its Beijing kindergartens earlier this year and before that at a nursery in northern Jilin province. Before it listed shares in New York in September, its IPO prospectus flagged abuse by teachers as a risk.

Teachers and academics, however, said that it was tough to stamp out abuse, especially at franchised, private-sector schools where competition was tough, requirements and checks on teachers were less strict and salaries were low.

“It’s often one of the poorest paid professions in China, certainly right down bottom of the pay scale,” said Geoffrey Crothall, communications director at China Labour Bulletin. “Schools often just want bodies in there who can supervise kids and pay them as little as possible.”

The state-run Global Times wrote on Wednesday that even after the police report, there was still fierce criticism online of the case.

“As often is the case when authorities intercede in a case that has touched a nerve about people’s welfare, a raging debate has continued to ferment,” the newspaper wrote in a commentary.

Robinson, the communications consultant, added: “For RYB, it seems they’ve taken some good corrective actions, but I don’t know whether it’s enough. The facts are still emerging.”

Reporting by Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI, Philip Wen in BEIJNIG and SHANGHAI newsroom; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Source: Reuters “Back to school: China kindergarten weathers child abuse storm for now”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

America Just Quietly Backed Down Against China Again

When China complained about a plan for the Navy to make port calls in Taiwan, Congress listened.

By Julian G. Ku | November 29, 2017, 12:36 PM

In June, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed an amendment to the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require U.S. Navy warships to conduct port calls in Taiwan — that is, to regularly dock, contrary to current practice, at Taiwanese ports for extended visits. The Chinese government quickly indicated its opposition: The amendment drew “solemn representations” from the ministry of foreign affairs, which denounced the U.S. government’s “erroneous actions on Taiwan-related issues.”

I have previously written about how, as a matter of law, Congress almost certainly lacks the constitutional authority to require the president to send the U.S. Navy on port calls to particular countries. But on merit, such port calls are a good idea since they would reassure Taiwan of the U.S. commitment to its security while placing China, which claims Taiwan is part of its own sovereign territory, on the defensive. A U.S. aircraft carrier visiting a Taiwanese port for an extended visit would be a tangible demonstration of the U.S. Navy’s commitment to maintaining a presence in and around Taiwan in the face of growing Chinese naval strength.

So there was plenty of reason to support a House version of the 2018 NDAA that would have simply required the secretary of defense to submit a report by fall 2018 on the feasibility of such Taiwan port calls. Such a provision is perfectly constitutional and would send a useful signal to China that the United States takes Taiwan port calls seriously.

But China’s opposition may have led to Congress further dilute the already watered-down House version of the “port calls” language. The Senate recently passed a final version of the 2018 NDAA that no longer requires a report but merely expresses the “sense of Congress” that the U.S. should “consider the advisability and feasibility of reestablishing port of call exchanges between the United States navy and the Taiwan navy.” A sense-of-Congress statement is not nothing, but it represents a substantial climb-down from mandating port calls or requiring the Pentagon to report on a plan for them.

Port calls in Taiwan are not going to make or break U.S.-Taiwan policy. But it’s notable that Chinese government opposition may have convinced Congress to back off
Port calls in Taiwan are not going to make or break U.S.-Taiwan policy. But it’s notable that Chinese government opposition may have convinced Congress to back off
its more aggressive support for this idea; it should remind us of the difficulty of managing foreign policy from the legislative branch. As I observed earlier this year, Congress has usefully intervened on Taiwan policy with several bills, including the Taiwan Travel Act and the Taiwan Security Act. But given Congress’s many legislative priorities, these bills are likely to languish in committee. The NDAA, by contrast, must pass every year to authorize military operations, which is why it is so disappointing the more aggressive port call provisions were removed.

On the other hand, just as Congress backs off its effort to manage Taiwan policy and push port calls, the Trump administration’s China team may finally be coming together behind the idea. After all, the individual most responsible for promoting the idea of U.S. Navy port calls in Taiwan, Randall Schriver, is likely to soon be confirmed to the position of assistant secretary of defense for Asia-Pacific affairs. In prepared answers to policy questions at his confirmation hearing in November, Schriver reiterated his support for port calls in Taiwan, even though the Pentagon has been neutral on this issue so far:

Since we reserve for ourselves the right to define our own One China Policy, commencing U.S. ship visits to Taiwan and vice versa can be included. The benefits of U.S. port calls to Taiwan would fall into the traditional justification for port calls to any other friendly country in the world — rest and relaxation for the sailors (which aids in recruitment and retention); minor repair and maintenance; port familiarization to assist in planning for a known contingency; and to support our political goals of supporting Taiwan and deterring China. If there are alternate views in the Department of Defense, I look forward to learning more about the counter arguments.

We will see whether Schriver’s views prevail within the U.S. government, where the State Department is likely to provide an opposing view in deference to what are likely to be vigorous Chinese government protests. But the baton on port calls, and Taiwan policy as a whole, is probably being handed over to the executive branch. For those of us outside the administration, whether such port calls happen will be an interesting signal of Schriver’s influence in shaping U.S.-China policy — and the ultimate direction of that policy in the Trump administration.

Julian Ku is the Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Law at Hofstra University in New York.

Source: Foreign Policy “America Just Quietly Backed Down Against China Again”

Note: This is Foreign Policy’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

Battlefield Singularity: Artificial Intelligence, Military Revolution, and China’s Future Military Power

By Elsa B. Kania November 28, 2017


By Paul Scharre

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast heating up as a key area of strategic competition. U.S. leaders have signaled that AI is a major component of the Defense Department’s strategy to reinvigorate American military technological dominance. In October 2016, the U.S. government released a “National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan,” one of three reports on AI issued by the Obama administration. Other nations have similarly taken note of the transformative potential of AI. In July 2017, China released its own national-level AI development plan. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin observed, “whoever becomes the leader in this sphere [artificial intelligence] will become the ruler of the world.”

Home to many of the world’s top AI companies, China is poised to be a major player in this unfolding competition. In this in-depth analytic report, CNAS adjunct fellow Elsa Kania explores China’s strategy for developing and implementing AI technology for military applications. Drawing on open-source Chinese-language documents, Ms. Kania explains Chinese strategic thinking on AI and specific military applications that Chinese leaders envision. Her report is a must-read for national security professionals concerned about maintaining U.S. strategic advantage in an era of rapid technological change.

Paul Scharre is a senior fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is a former Army Ranger and Pentagon policy official and author of the forthcoming book Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, to be published in April 2018.

Executive Summary

Although technological advantage has been a key pillar of U.S. military power and national competitiveness, China is starting to catch up in its quest to become a “science and technology superpower” (科技强国). While the U.S. military possessed an early edge in technologies critical to information-age warfare, primacy in artificial intelligence (AI), likely integral in future warfare, could remain contested between the United States and China. Indeed, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is pursuing advances in impactful and disruptive military applications of AI. Although this military dimension of China’s rise in AI has remained relatively opaque, the available Chinese-language open-source materials reveal initial trends in PLA thinking and progress.

The Chinese leadership is advancing an “innovation-driven” strategy for civilian and military development, aiming to become the world’s “premier innovation center” in AI by 2030. Certainly, a range of challenges, including serious shortcomings in human capital, may inhibit progress, and China presently continues to lag behind the United States in cutting-edge research and development. However, China’s rapid rise and future trajectory in AI could be enabled by critical systemic and structural advantages, including likely levels of funding and investment, potential human talent resources, and massive amounts of data. AI is a high-level priority within China’s national agenda for military-civil fusion (军民融合), and this strategic approach could enable the PLA to take full advantage of private sector progress in AI to enhance its military capabilities.

Although the PLA’s initial thinking on AI in warfare has been influenced by careful analysis of U.S. military initiatives, its approach could progressively diverge from that of the United States, based on its distinct strategic culture and organizational dynamics. The PLA anticipates that the advent of AI could fundamentally change the character of warfare, resulting in a transformation from today’s“informatized”(信息化) ways of warfare to future“intelligentized”(智能化) warfare, in which AI will be critical to military power. The PLA will likely leverage AI to enhance its future capabilities, including in intelligent and autonomous unmanned systems; AI-enabled data fusion, information processing, and intelligence analysis; war-gaming, simulation, and training; defense, offense, and command in information warfare; and intelligent support to command decision-making. At present, the PLA is funding a wide range of projects involving AI, and the Chinese defense industry and PLA research institutes are pursuing extensive research and development, in some cases partnering with private enterprises.

This could be the start of a major shift in the PLA’s strategic approach, beyond its traditional asymmetric focus on targeting U.S. vulnerabilities to the offset-oriented pursuit of competition to innovate. The PLA is seeking to engage in “leapfrog development” (跨越发展) to achieve a decisive edge in “strategic front-line” (战略前沿) technologies, in which the United States has not realized and may not be able to achieve a decisive advantage. The PLA is unlikely to pursue a linear trajectory or follow the track of U.S. military modernization, but rather could take a different path. Since the 1990s, the PLA has focused on the development of “trump card” (杀手锏) weapons that target vulnerabilities in U.S. battle networks, seeking to develop, in the words of then-Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman Jiang Zemin, those weapons that “the enemy is most fearful of.” This asymmetric thinking will likely persist in the PLA’s approach to AI. For instance, the PLA may seek to use swarms to target and saturate the defenses of U.S. aircraft carriers. However, China is no longer in a position of technological inferiority but rather sees itself as close to catching up with and overtaking the United States in AI. As such, the PLA intends to achieve an advantage through changing paradigms in warfare with military innovation, thus seizing the “commanding heights” (制高点) of future military competition.

As the U.S. and China compete to innovate in AI, the trajectories of their respective advances will impact the future military and strategic balance. The PLA is acutely aware of the criticality of adapting to and capitalizing upon progress in AI, fearing the emergence of a ‘generational gap’ between its capabilities and that of the U.S. military, which is perceived as a powerful adversary (强敌) and thus the key metric for comparison. Since China may possess the potential to equal or surpass the United States in this critical technology, the U.S. military must recognize the PLA’s emergence as a true peer competitor and reevaluate the nature of U.S.-China military and technological competition.

As the PLA attempts to overtake, rather than just catch up with or match, U.S. progress in this domain, it will be vital to understand and take into account the PLA’s evolving approach and advances. In particular, the PLA’s capacity to leverage military applications of AI could prove distinctive due to its model of military-civil fusion, expansive concept of “intelligentization,” and focus on AI-enabled command decision-making. Certain PLA thinkers even anticipate the approach of a “singularity” on the battlefield, at which human cognition can no longer keep pace with the speed of decision-making and tempo of combat in future warfare. While recognizing the importance of human-machine collaboration, and likely concerned with issues of controllability, the PLA could prove less adverse to the prospect of taking humans ‘out of the loop’ to achieve an advantage.

Looking forward, the PLA’s militarization of AI will influence the trajectory of this unfolding military revolution, presenting a unique strategic challenge to the United States. In response, the United States must work to formulate a long-term, whole-of-nation strategy to support critical determinants of national competitiveness in AI. While taking steps to mitigate illicit and problematic technology transfers, the United States should ensure that there is adequate funding for and investments in next-generation research and development, averting the risks of an “innovation deficit.” It is also critical to sustain and build upon the current U.S. competitive advantage in human capital through formulating policies to educate and attract top talent. However, the U.S. military must prepare for a future in which the United States may no longer possess technological predominance, particularly through focusing on the human factors and organizational capacity that are critical determinants of successful defense innovation. As the intensification of military and strategic competition in AI could result in destabilizing arms race dynamics, the United States should also explore options to mitigate the risks to strategic stability that could result from great powers’ pursuit of AI-enabled capabilities to achieve military advantage.

Source: CNAS “Battlefield Singularity: Artificial Intelligence, Military Revolution, and China’s Future Military Power”

Note: This is the preface and executive summary of CNAS report that I Reblog here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Chinese President Xi Jinping Calling for “Toilet Revolution”

China’s public toilets have long been notorious for their unhygienic conditions. President Xi Jinping has decided that this needs to change, and is calling (in Chinese) for a “toilet revolution” (厕所革命 cèsuǒ gémìng).
• Xinhua says China’s top leader has “personally spoken out on this seemingly petty issue” because it affects rural development and tourism, and offers the opportunity for innovative sanitary products to be designed in China.
•The idea of a “toilet revolution” was first used in state media in 2015.

China has worried about its toilets for at least a decade:
•In 2006, Chinese internet users were outraged when a Taiwanese model who had built a career as a TV presenter in the mainland criticized Chinese public toilets for their dirty conditions and lack of doors.
•Before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the city announced plans to construct “64 four-star, 197 three-star and 118 one-star toilets at all its major tourist attractions.”
•In 2008, the People’s Daily also noted plans for an “electronic guidance system for public lavatories.”
•In 2012, Beijing city authorities issued a set of guidelines for public toilets that stipulated that each toilet should contain no more than two flies.
•When the “toilet revolution” first launched in 2015, a model public toilet equipped with a TV as well as vending and ATM machines was displayed in Beijing.
•In 2016, Beijing authorities said they would build 100 toilets with free Wi-Fi access.

Source: SubChina “The toilet revolution”

Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China’s Second Round of Peaceful Economic Expansion

With a huge population full of diligent and clever people, China certainly shall expand abroad to export its people’s diligence and resourcefulness to cooperate with local people in developing their economy.

That is what a rising China shall do to benefit itself while benefiting others. I regard it as China’s economic expansion, an expansion of prosperity.

The US is a remote country from Asia so that however strong China becomes, it will not hurt US interests. What the US worries about is China’s rise to become its rival superpower or replace it as the only superpower in the world. However, China’s current leader does not seem to have intention to do so. What China wants is to be benefited by its relations with other countries. Acting as US rival or replacing the US as the only superpower will cost China a lot but bring back little or even no benefit.

The Lesson of the Collapse of the Soviet Union

The collapse of the Soviet Union is a very good lesson for Chinese leaders. The Soviet Union has a much smaller economy but has the ambition to be a rival hegemon to the US. Like the US it had to bear the heavy burden of protecting and supporting its subordinate countries. It has given huge aids to Vietnam to enable Vietnam to defeat the US but get no return at all form Vietnam. So were its aids to North Korea and Cuba to enable the communist regimes to survive there.

People wonder why the Soviet Union suddenly collapsed as there seemed no crisis in it to bring it down. However, it is very clear to Chinese leader that the Soviet Union was crushed by its heavy burden to contend with the US given its much inferior economic strength. Anxious to maintain Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s survival, Chinese leaders certainly would not repeat Soviet Union’s disastrous blunder.

Like the Soviet Union’s efforts to spread communism, the US wants to spread its democratic system the world over but has achieved nothing, the democracy it has established in Iraq and Afghanistan are difficult to survive without US military support. The much praised Jasmine revolution for the establishment of democracy has only replaced old autocracy with new autocracy such as the autocratic regime changes in Egypt and even chaos such as the chaos in Libya.

US failure to export its political system makes the Soviet lesson even more convincing.

China simply should not have any intention to export its ideology and political system as China simply cannot benefit from such export. What it should pursue is but win-win cooperation with other countries. Such cooperation will benefit not only China but also its cooperation partners and make China popular among them. Current Chinese leader Xi Jinping is precisely doing that in launching his Belt and Road initiative.

However the experience of Western colonialism and the two world wars tells other countries that a rising power usually bullies other countries and even tries to conquer other countries and turn them into its colonies. Can China be an exception?

China is a country with its own long history and the dominance of Confucianism characterized by benevolence, harmony and the doctrine of the mean quite different from the predatory Western colonialism. Therefore, China simply has a culture different from Western culture instead of being an exception of Western culture.

Westerners and those who have suffered from Western colonialism are scared of China’s rise because they do no understand Chinese culture so that they see China from a Western instead of Chinese perspective.

Another Lesson China Has Learnt from History

While colonists were having difficulties in maintaining their rule and interests in their colonies in Southeast Asia in spite of their military power, Chinese immigrants prospered there through their diligence and resourcefulness in developing local economy. They gradually became wealthy and control 50% or more of the economy in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

History has taught China that colonialism is doomed to failure while having Chinese people in other countries to develop local economy in cooperation with local people will not only make the Chinese people there rich but also benefit China with their wealth. In Chinese history, overseas Chinese were the major source of funds for China’s 1911 democratic revolution and war of resistance against Japan from 1937 to 1945 and major source of investment in China’s three decades of reform and opening-up.

When China was weak and poor, it cannot help its overseas Chinese but had to rely on them for funds. Now, China is rich and strong. It shall help build the infrastructures to help overseas Chinese conduct win-win cooperation with local people.

We can foresee that facilitated by the infrastructures that Chinese government will build under its Belt and Road initiative, Chinese people will spread all over the world to cooperate with local people in developing local economy. They will become rich there due to their diligence, resourcefulness, and expertise. China’s peaceful expansion in the world, especially in underdeveloped countries and regions utterly cannot be stopped by the US with its military threat.

I would like to regard the immigration of Chinese to Southeast Asia in last century to gain economic dominance there as China’s first round of economic expansion. It was very successful when China was poor and weak unable to help those overseas Chinese.

The Belt and Road initiative is the beginning of the second round of China’s economic expansion that will be entirely irresistible as diligent and resourceful Chinese immigrants have the strong support from their homeland.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

Could ghost imaging spy satellite be a game changer for Chinese military?

Scientists are developing a probe to track stealth bombers at night

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 November, 2017, 11:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 4:09pm

Stephen Chen

China is developing a new type of spy satellite using ghost imaging technology that could change the game of military cat and mouse within a decade, according to scientists involved in the project.

Existing camouflage techniques – from simple smoke bombs used to hide tanks or soldiers on battlefields to the hi-tech radar absorption materials on a stealth aircraft or warship – would be of no use against ghost imaging, physics experts said.

Quantum ghost imaging can achieve unprecedented sensitivity by detecting not just the extremely small amount of light straying off a dim target, but also its interactions with other light in the surrounding environment to obtain more information than traditional methods.

A satellite equipped with the new quantum sensor would be able to identify and track targets that are currently invisible from space, such as stealth bombers taking off at night, according to researchers.

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit operated by the United States is the world’s only stealth bomber in service able to deliver a strategic strike on an enemy.

B-2s take flight mostly under the cover of night, in part to avoid high-definition optical cameras on spy satellites. They have a special coating to deflect or absorb microwaves of certain bandwidths produced by space-based synthetic aperture radars, as well as heat-suppression technology to dodge infrared sensors. Its successor, the B-21, is under development with improved but similar technologies. It is expected to enter service by 2025.

Gong Wenlin, research director at the Key Laboratory for Quantum Optics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai – whose team is building the prototype ghost imaging device for satellite missions – said their technology was designed to catch “invisibles” like the B-2s.

He said his lab, led by prominent quantum optics physicist Han Shensheng, would complete a prototype by 2020 with an aim to test the technology in space before 2025. By 2030 he said there would be some large-scale applications.

While ghost imaging has already been tested on ground-based systems, Gong’s lab is in a race with overseas competitors, including the US Army Research Laboratory, to launch the world’s first ghost imaging satellite.

The team showed the engineering feasibility of the technology with a ground experiment in 2011. Three years later the US army lab announced similar results.

“We have beat them on the ground. We have confidence to beat them again in space,” Gong said.

The ghost imaging satellite would have two cameras, one aiming at the targeted area of interest with a bucket-like, single pixel sensor while the other camera measured variations in a wider field of light across the environment.

The target could be illuminated by almost any light source such as the sun, moon or even a fluorescent light bulb. Alternatively, a pair of physically “entangled” or “correlated” laser beams could be generated from the satellite to light up the object and its surroundings.

By analysing and merging the signals received by the two cameras with a set of sophisticated algorithms in quantum physics, scientists could conjure up the imaging of an object with extremely high definition previously thought impossible using conventional methods.

Gong said darkness, cloud, haze and other negative elements impairing visibility would no longer matter.

“A ghost imaging satellite will reveal more details than the most advanced radar satellite,” the research director said.

Because quantum imaging can collect data from a wide spectrum of light, the images they produce would look “more natural” to human eyes than the black-and-white radar images based on the echo of high-frequency electromagnetic waves of narrow bandwidths, he said.

The ghost camera could also identify the physical nature or even chemical composition of a target, according to Gong. This meant the military would be able to distinguish decoys such as fake fighter jets on display in an airfield or missile launchers hidden under a camouflage canopy.

Tang Lingli, a researcher with the Academy of Opto-Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said numerous new devices had been built, tested in the field and were ready for deployment on ground-based radar stations, planes and airships.

“Satellite is the next step,” she said.

Tang said ghost imaging could be achieved using different methods in either quantum or classical physics, and it would work best with other intelligence gathering methods including optical cameras and synthesised aperture radars.

“Each detection method has its unique advantages. It depends on the circumstances and nature of the mission as to which one should be used, if not all [of them],” said Tang, who is also the general secretary of the National Committee on Remote Sensing Technology Standardisation and a supervisor of the national ghost imaging project.

Xiong Jun, a professor of physics who studied quantum optics at Beijing Normal University, said ghost imaging could become a game changer for military operations.

Some 200 quantum optics scientists gather in China every year to share their new discoveries and the latest advances in engineering applications.

Xiong said he had seen ghost imaging used in ground-based radar systems and spy planes, but the satellite project had not been publicly discussed because of its sensitivity.

Many engineering challenges would have to be overcome to build such a satellite, he said.

If the satellite used a natural light source such as the sun and moon, it would need to have extremely fast sensors to detect the tiny changes in light down to a few nanoseconds – or one thousand-millionths of a second – and catch the quantum physics in action.

If it used an artificial light source such as a laser, it would need to be very powerful to reach a distant target near the ground.

But Xiong noted that China had built and run the world’s first and only quantum satellite, which provided a large amount of experimental data – and engineering experience – for its scientists.

Source: SCMP “Could ghost imaging spy satellite be a game changer for Chinese military?”

Note: This is SCMP’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China Making Manned Submersible to Dive to 10,000 Meters Depth

SCMP says in its report yesterday titled “Key work finished on Chinese submersible to carry humans to greater depths” that previously China built two manned submersibles that have dived to 4,500 meters and 7,000 meters below sea level and now it is building a new one to dive to 10,000 meters according to CCTV report yesterday.

The manned sphere is being made of titanium to withstand the great pressure at such a depth. Officials of the manufacturer Baoji Titanium Industry said that it was the first time titanium had been used to make a personnel sphere for a submersible.

Wang Dingchun, the company’s deputy general manager, told the broadcaster that the metal was more flexible and the company is able to make titanium alloy that is “almost corrosion-free”.

The report says, “The sphere is being made in two halves that will be welded together with just one seam to make it more solid. Traditionally there are more pieces involved.” Test dive of the submersible will be conducted at the world’s deepest Mariana Trench in three years.

Such deep-sea submersible will facilitate China’s sea bottom mining and its technology will be very useful for China in developing the most advanced submarine.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at

Thailand, a Vital Part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Red line is the planned route from China to Indian Ocean through Kra Canal while the black line is the existing route through Malacca Strait

Thailand is not along China’s ancient Silk Road so that it is certainly not within China’s Silk Road economic belt.

China’s 21st century maritime Silk Road mainly go through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean and seems to have nothing to do with Thailand.

However, China plans to build a high-speed rail linking China with Bangkok through Laos. Construction of the section of the rail in Laos with a cost of $5.95 billion has already begun, but according to SCMP’s report “China seeks green light to get rolling on Thai ‘train to nowhere’” yesterday, the section in Thailand “has been dogged by delays and mistrust on the Thai side”.

Discrimination against overseas Chinese in Thailand is quite serious. The Chinese there was called Jews in the East by Thai King Rama VI (1910-1926). But in spite of the discrimination, overseas Chinese have been prosperous in Thailand. They account for 14% of Thai population but control 80% of Thai listed companies.

They seem assimilated by Thai people but in fact remain Chinese patriots as proved by their enthusiastic investment in China to help China’s reform and opening-up. Since China began reform and opening-up, overseas Chinese investment has accounted for 80% of foreign investment in China, in which Thai overseas Chinese has made the largest contribution. Therefore, it is only natural for China to invest in Thai infrastructures to help develop Thai economy and thus facilitate the growth of overseas Chinese business there. Return kindness with kindness is Chinese tradition.

However, that is not the major goal of China’s efforts there.

I had a post titled “China to Bypass Malacca Straight by a Canal at Kra Isthmus, Thailand” on March 15, 2014 on the benefits to China, Japan and ASEAN if a canal is build across Kra Isthmus, Thailand as an alternative route to that through the Malacca Strait.

It will shorten China and Japan’s trade route to Europe by 1,200km.

The problem is Thailand’s political instability. However, as mentioned above, overseas Chinese accounts for 14% Thai population but controls Thai economy and in addition, 70% Tai people have Chinese blood. When China was poor and weak those who have Chinese blood would not admit their Chinese kinship for fear of discrimination, but when China has grown rich and strong and able to protect overseas Chinese now, those people would be proud to admit their relationship with China. As a result, overseas Chinese and Thai people with Chinese blood will dominate and bring stability to Thai politics. They will make Kra Canal a viable project.

For that purpose, China shall make lots of investment in Tai infrastructures to facilitate development of Thai economy and enable Chinese people to set up and develop their enterprises there. With Chinese support, Thai Chinese will be certain to be the dominant force in Thailand. In fact, 80% of Tai prime ministers in the past were partially Chinese.

The plan so far for the high speed rail in Thailand is for connection between China and Singapore to provide a shortcut for export of goods from Southwest China, but if Kra Canal is built, the rail will link China with the canal to provide an even shorter trade route.

Taking into consideration of the long term benefit of the rail and canal, the $5.2 billion for the first Thai section, $5.95 billion for the section in Laos and the estimated $28 billion for the canal will be very cost-effective long-term investment. There will certainly be difficulties in conducting such large projects in other countries, but for China’s long-term interests, Chinese officials shall make great efforts to overcome the difficulties.

As the projects will also bring much benefit to Thailand, I believe it is certainly possible to overcome the difficulties.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at

The Conundrum of the New Cold War between US and China

I said, “It seems a new Cold War has already begun” in my post “The beginning of a new Cold War: On Putin’s Beijing visit” on June 6, 2012. At that time, US pivot to Asia aimed at containing China forced China to seek alliance with Russia to resist US containment.

I described the two sides of the seemingly emerging new Cold War respectively in my posts “The new Cold War: The autocracy camp” on June 7 and “The new Cold War: The democracy camp” on June 11.

On March 25, 2013, I believed that the new Cold War had really instead of seemingly emerged in my post “The emergence of a new Cold War”.

Wars need not be declared. As long as there is real military fighting, there is the war so that the US is fighting a war in Afghanistan though it has not declared the war.

A cold war, on the other hand, is the fighting without fire so that it is even more unnecessary for the parties to declare the cold war though everybody knows a cold war is being fought when the cold war has emerged.

So is the Cold War between the democracy and autocracy camps I described.

It has to be made clear that the democracy camp consists of those who regard themselves as democracies according to their definition of democracy while the autocracies in the opposite camp are regarded by the democracy camp as autocracies. If free election is regarded as major standard of democracy, Russia, Pakistan and Iran are democracies while if Lincoln’s government for the people is regarded as the most important one of the three standards for democratic government: of the people, by the people and for the people, even the United States cannot be regarded as a democracy as it is a split nation with politicians fighting for the different parts of American people.

Even US President Trump is making efforts to do things he has promised to those who voted him. What about those who voted against him?

From that prospective, China, a one-party autocracy, can be regarded a true democracy as the party regards “putting the people first” as its doctrine. The government of that ruling party has indeed done a lot for Chinese people, having lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and greatly improved people’s living standards.

Let’s return to our topic the new Cold War. Neither side of the old Cold War has declared their cold war, nor have the two sides of the new Cold War.

I regarded US pivot to Asia as the beginning of the new Cold War as it gave rise to the China-Russia alliance while the US was making great efforts to attracting Japan, Australia, the Philippines and Vietnam into its camp to encircle China, but failed.

America’s Indo-China Quad is the real establishment of its democracy camp of cold war. As the Quad is military in nature so that SCMP China affairs columnist Cary Huang says in its article “US, Japan, India, Australia … is Quad the first step to an Asian Nato?” on SCMP today, “The aegis (the Quad) these democracies create has the potential to develop into an Asian Nato – and dramatically change the region’s security landscape in the decades ahead.”

Mr. Cary Huang sees that the Quad is a Cold War organization in nature so that he predicts that it “has the potential to develop into an Asian Nato”. He is right that compared with pivot to Asia directed at China but confronted by China-Russia alliance, the Indo-Pacific quad can really be regarded as the establishment of the democracy camp of the new Cold War though no cold war has been declared.

In my previous post I said that the US Quad will perhaps be countered by the quad of China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran as those four except Pakistan are the countries that the US has been trying hard to contain, but they only resist US containment and have no enmity towards the other three countries in US Quad. Pakistan, however, will not oppose US Quad if India is not a part of it.

Anyway, as there is balance of strength between the two quads, it will remain a cold war without fire. Peace will still prevail. Even if US quad is Asian NATO, it will be an organization for peace in a cold war just like the European NATO established for peace in Europe.

However, I would like to point out that Mr. Cary Huang is wrong in saying “The new strategy to confront China head on with a unified front underscored a growing regional competition between Beijing and Washington.” There is only US containment of China but not China’s competition with the US. China’s Belt and Road initiative is mainly conducted in Central Asia, Pakistan and Eastern and Central Europe without reduction of US influence there. Even the Belt and Road in Southeast and South Asia are not within US sphere of influence and are open to participation by other countries.

Moreover, Belt and Road is for peaceful win-win cooperation while US Quad is solely for military alliance. Competition between peaceful win-win cooperation and military alliance? Weird idea!

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be found at