Swiss global financial group launches new fund to promote international exchanges between China and world in life sciences industry

The Swiss global financial group Cedrus Group announced the establishment of the QFLP Fund on Tuesday to focus on investing in mature, pre-IPO stage companies in the life sciences and agriculture sectors in China, and establishing joint ventures with foreign companies seeking to enter the Chinese market. 

Chairman of Cedrus Group, Rani Jarkas, said that the launch of the fund is a major milestone for the group, and proves that an international financial group like Cedrus is highly committed to China.

The fund will complete the group's ecosystem in life sciences and will enable the company to play an even more active role in the development of highly innovative biotech and pharmaceutic companies in China, by adding a focused capital pool supporting these initiatives, Jarkas noted. 

In addition, it will boost their capabilities to attract highly relevant foreign technology into China, through joint ventures or wholly owned foreign entities, which in turn, will create highly skilled jobs in healthcare and increase local government tax revenues, he said.

The move was announced at the Cedrus Life Sciences Investment Forum in Beijing on Tuesday. Fifty industrial experts were invited to the forum to discuss and offer advice to promote the development of the life science industry. Wei Jianguo, former vice minister of China's Ministry of Commerce, attended the forum and delivered a keynote speech. 

Xia Qinglin, secretary of the work committee of the Party Committee of the Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area and general director of the administrative commission of the area, introduced the area's favorable policies for bio-investment companies, the current scale and layout of biotechnology companies, and the agglomeration effect the area had created through cooperation with Cedrus. 

Relying on the Haihe Laboratory of Cell Ecosystem, the Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area enhanced efforts to improve the level of the local biomedical industry. 

The area issued "double nine policies" to further support the accelerated development of the biomedical industry, to help build the area into a world-class and domestically leading source of basic research and a gathering place for scientific and technological innovation. 

Currently, there are more than 204 city-level and above research and development institutions in the Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area. Among them, more than 30 are at the national level. These institutions have helped to attract talent and created a cluster effect for the area, Wang told the Global Times. 

"For a development region like ours, both our industry and technology must be internationalized. We must constantly connect with international resources to promote our companies to go global while also introducing international companies into our area. After all, technology can only develop through exchanges and mutual learning. This is not only to promote the development of enterprises but also to promote the development of various countries to better serve people's lives and health," Xia said. 

Xiong Juan, chairwoman of the Hainan Leyun Biotechnology Co, Ltd, also shared her opinions on the challenges and opportunities facing Chinese companies on the path of internationalization. 

"We are mainly in the scientific research transformation period in China. As a Chinese life sciences company, we not only want to promote our products in this market in China but also want to go out to Southeast Asia and also to Europe. But as our overseas resources and visibility overseas are limited, so we need an international platform like Cedrus to help combine external resources," Xiong said. 

Exclusive: Latest images show severe rust on Philippines’ illegally grounded warship at Ren'ai Jiao; ship may 'cause irreversible damage to marine life'

The hull and interior facilities of the illegally grounded Philippines' warship at Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef) are severely corroded, showed a set of images exclusively obtained by the Global Times from the China Coast Guard (CCG) recently.

Experts warned that the illegally grounded warship may cause irreversible and continuous damages to the marine life in the South China Sea.

Since 2023, the Philippines has acted in bad faith, and secretly supplied construction materials to the grounded warship through various means. The Philippines' repeated supplements fully exposed its intention to blatantly violate its promise to tow away the warship, and its attempt to illegally occupy China's Ren'ai Jiao with malicious intent.
The exclusive images obtained by the Global Times from the CCG show that the hull of the illegally grounded warship has damage and leaks, with a large amount of paint peeling off the hull, and many corroded rusts water directly flowing into the sea. The entire ship has almost become a pile of rusty scrap iron, with various personal items and garbage casually placed on the uncovered deck.

Filipino military personnel are fishing on the shallow reef of Ren'ai Jiao. One of the images shows a Filipino military personnel is standing on the grounded warship and is suspected of urinating into the lagoon of Ren'ai Jiao.

The illegally grounded warship looks actually to be no longer suitable for human habitation and living.
Several video clips captured earlier this year show that Filipino military personnel on the grounded warship not only dumped waste water directly into the sea, they also gathered on the foredeck to burn garbage. The actions of the Filipino military personnel have starkly contrasted with the pristine blue skies and clean waters near Ren'ai Jiao, showing their destruction of the marine environment.

Facing such a dilapidated warship, the Philippine authorities have repeatedly violated their promises. Instead of towing away the illegally grounded military vessel, they have attempted to carry out large-scale repairs and reinforcements on it. The transportation has been reinforced since last year.
An anonymous professional told the Global Times that since 2023, the Philippines has repeatedly illegally intruded into China's Ren'ai Jiao, and carried out illegal resupply activities for the warship. In addition to the malicious provocations, the reason behind this is that the warship is severely damaged, and the Philippines needs to resupply building materials to repair and reinforce it in order to maintain their illegal presence in China's Ren'ai Jiao.

"But every time, the intention to secretly resupply building materials is exposed by the CCG, who resolutely stops it," the professional said.

Yang Xiao, deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Strategy Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that due to the fact that the warship has been grounded for nearly 25 years, the spread of ship hull paint, the dissolution of hull metal rust, the discharge of fossil fuel combustion, and domestic waste onboard the ship have been discharged for a long time on the reefs and waters around the Ren 'ai Jiao.
These toxins continue to spread around the illegally grounded ship's grounding points, causing irreversible and continuous damage to the surrounding marine life. This not only causes the death of marine animals such as fish and shrimps, but also makes cumulative damages to marine aquatic plants. Furthermore, through the food chain, it poses significant adverse effects on the marine ecosystem of the South China Sea and humanity by extension, Yang said.

For ships constantly moving at sea, the paint and pollution of the ship could be continuously diluted by seawater. However, if it's moored or grounded at fixed points for a long time, pollution is difficult to be diluted by seawater due to a lack of water movement, resulting in a gradient of toxins centered on the warship, Yang noted.

"Among them, prominent pollutants include mercury oxide, organotin [TBT], and copper compounds. There is enough scientific research to show that these toxins can cause irreversible pathogenic pollution to marine life. More importantly, with the enrichment of the food chain, these pollutants may enter the human living circle," Yang said.

Yang further stated that the Philippine government, for the sinister purpose of stealing territory from other countries, deliberately ran a dilapidated military ship aground on the beautiful reefs of the South China Sea, and failed to fulfill its promise to remove it for 25 years.

Moreover, the Philippines is unable and unwilling to carry out environmental protection and pollution control on the warship, leading to a large amount of natural and man-made pollutants being directly discharged into the surrounding reefs and waters, which is extremely irresponsible and uncivilized, Yang said.

HK economy sustains growth as tourism, stocks rebound

The Hong Kong economy has seen five consecutive quarters of growth, primarily driven by a revival of inbound tourism alongside the continued recovery of the stock market, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Sunday, stressing that the good performance demonstrates the sustained growth momentum of Hong Kong.

The surge in Hong Kong's inbound tourism was a key factor driving the city's first-quarter economic growth. With an increasing number of visitors to the city, services output is steadily rising, as highlighted by the financial chief in his weekly blog.

Around 670,000 visitors from the Chinese mainland had visited the city between Wednesday and Saturday, the first four days of the May Day holidays, which ran from May 1 to 5, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung told a radio show on Sunday.

The tourism chief noted that spending by Chinese mainland visitors in Hong Kong is estimated to have exceeded HK$2 billion ($256 million) during the holidays, as arrival numbers aligned with original estimates despite the recent stormy weather.

Hong Kong's economy has maintained a favorable growth trajectory this year, with an accelerating trend overall. This can be attributed to a substantial adjustment of the economic structure following the COVID-19 pandemic, Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Sunday.

More notably, the sustained recovery of the mainland's economy has bolstered Hong Kong's growth and reinstated market confidence in its economic performance, Cong said.

As a front-runner in China's opening-up, Hong Kong is actively driving economic integration with the Greater Bay Area, which offers significant momentum and opportunities for its economic development.

Hong Kong's real GDP grew 2.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024, the fifth consecutive quarter of growth. After seasonal adjustment, the quarterly growth rate stood at 2.3 percent, according to data from the Census and Statistics Department.

As another indication of the stable recovery of the city's economy, Hong Kong stocks have climbed for nine straight trading sessions, with the Hang Seng Index surging by nearly 14 percent overall. The average daily trading volume exceeds HK$128 billion, signaling improved sentiment in the financial markets, Chan pointed out.

The recent rebound in the Hong Kong stock market is expected to have a positive impact on the economy in the second quarter. The central government's support for Hong Kong's economic development and financial market liquidity reflects its commitment to maintaining the city's status as an international financial center, Liang Haiming, chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute, a Hong Kong-based research institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.

This support has led to a steady rise in financial markets, creating a positive "wealth effect" on the economy and consumption in Hong Kong, sparking optimism in its growth for the following quarters, Liang said.

Hong Kong is stepping up efforts to accelerate economic development by "continuing to build on its traditional strengths while exploring new sources of growth," as the financial chief put it on April 28. 

The Financial Secretary announced at the end of February the withdrawal of all property cooling measures in Hong Kong's 2024-25 budget, eliminating the requirement for additional stamp duties in residential property transactions. With the easing of property market restrictions, related transactions have picked up momentum, and prices show signs of stabilization, according to Chan.

In line with global digitalization and green economic transformation, the budget also proposes various measures to assist small and medium-sized enterprises, including those in the catering and retail sectors, in their digital transformation to adapt to evolving tourist spending patterns, Chan added.

China, France agree to elevate economic, trade cooperation: MOFCOM

China and France have inked a number of cooperation agreements during the recent state visit by China's top leader to Paris. Moving ahead, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will work with its French counterpart to elevate bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a new stage, a spokesperson from the ministry said on Thursday.

During the visit, MOFCOM and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on promoting cooperation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), aiming to enhance the business environment for SME cooperation between the two countries, according to He Yadong, the spokesperson for MOFCOM.

Additionally, the sixth meeting of the China-France Entrepreneur Committee convened successfully in Paris, with over 200 entrepreneurs from both nations attending. Discussions centered on topics like industrial innovation for mutual trust and win-win cooperation, green economy and low-carbon transformation, and fostering new productivity for sustainable development.

Following the meeting, companies from both countries signed 15 cooperation agreements in such areas as finance, nuclear energy development, aviation, manufacturing, and new renewable energies, according to the MOFCOM spokesperson.

"Moving ahead, the Ministry of Commerce will work with relevant French departments to conscientiously implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, and elevate bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a new stage," He Yadong told a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday, noting rapid development in bilateral economic cooperation during the recent years.

In the 60 years since the two countries formally established diplomatic ties, bilateral trade has skyrocketed nearly 800-fold, hitting $78.9 billion in 2023.

China has become France's primary trading partner outside the EU, while France retains its crucial role as an important trading partner for China within the EU. Total two-way investment has exceeded $26 billion, placing China and France at the forefront of cooperation among EU nations, with over 2,000 French companies now operating in China.

In the context of intensified global economic uncertainty, the importance of strengthening China-France relations in trade, strategic cooperation, and cultural exchange is ever more pronounced, guided by principles of independence, mutual understanding, and mutual gain.

Over 100 Tsinghua alumni fall ill after dinner gathering; 'norovirus infection the cause'

Over 100 of Tsinghua alumni fell ill following an off-campus dinner gathering marking the university's anniversary, with the local disease prevention and control department attributing the cause to norovirus infection. 

A recent social media post titled "Letter to All Alumni and Current Faculty and Students" brought attention to the issue. The letter revealed that during Tsinghua University's 113th anniversary celebration from April 26 to 28, alumni from various locations attended the festivities and some dined at the Zui Ai Restaurant located outside the southeast gate of the campus. 

Over a hundred alumni fell ill with food poisoning , including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, and muscle soreness after dining at the restaurant. As of May 1, 102 individuals have reported experiencing these symptoms, the letter wrote.

The Haidian District Disease Prevention and Control Center in Beijing on Monday released an investigation report saying it has conducted comprehensive testing on samples collected from the restaurant staff, environment, and food. The results of the epidemiological investigations revealed that some samples tested positive for norovirus, leading to the conclusion that the incident was caused by acute gastroenteritis due to norovirus infection. 

The district disease control center has instructed the restaurant to cease operations, carrying out terminal disinfection, and providing health awareness guidance.

With summer being a high-risk period for gastrointestinal infectious diseases, the disease control center has advised catering enterprises to increase the frequency of daily environmental sanitation and disinfection, enhance staff education on preventing gastrointestinal infectious diseases, and improve health monitoring to ensure a safe dining environment for customers. 

Residents are urged to prioritize food hygiene, avoid consuming untreated water, practice frequent handwashing, use public chopsticks when dining out, and seek medical attention promptly if experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms.

How reincarnation system in Tibetan Buddhism is often misunderstood in the West?

"Cognitive Warfare" has become a new form of confrontation between states, and a new security threat. With new technological means, issues are planted and disinformation spread so as to change people's perceptions and thus alter their self-identity. Launching cognitive warfare against China is an important means through which Western anti-China forces attack and discredit the country. Under the manipulation of the US-led West, the "China threat theory" has continued to foment.

Certain politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China's image by propagating false claims in an attempt to incite and provoke anti-China reprisals among people in certain countries. These means all serve the evolution of the US' covert China containment strategy in a bid to maintain its hegemony.

The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to systematically reveal the intrigues of the US-led West's cognitive warfare targeting China, and expose its lies and vicious intentions, in an attempt to show international readers a true, multi-dimensional, and panoramic view of China.

Reincarnation system, a concept deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, has long fascinated the Western world. However, this profound belief has often been misunderstood and misrepresented by some Western politicians and media outlets. Besides, the Western portrayal of reincarnation system in Tibetan Buddhism often fixates on the Dalai Lama and the concept of reincarnation was often misused for political motives in the West, further distorting the truth.

This is the sixth installment in the series. In this installment, we invite Yang Yongchun, a chief expert in the Tibetan legal practice from relevant government agency, who holds doctorates in both Buddhist Studies and Law, to delve into this concept and give detailed explanation as to why so many people in the West are misled.
I have been engaged in legal practice on affairs related to the Xizang Autonomous Region for a long time, and have noticed a viewpoint held by many Westerns during negotiations and exchanges with Western political entity representatives at the international level. They believe that the Chinese government, at all levels, should not "dominate" or "interfere in" the reincarnation of important sect leaders in Tibetan Buddhism. Their reasoning is that this is a religious autonomous act based on religious doctrine and tradition.

Due to the complexity of Buddhist doctrines, linguistic barriers, unique Tibetan Buddhism rituals, and the general political inclination of the modern international society toward religious matters, this viewpoint has gained popularity in the West. This issue is related to whether the Chinese government's involvement in the reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist sect leaders respects Buddhist doctrine and adheres to religious ethics. In simple terms, the viewpoint questions whether the secular laws of the worldly realm can be applied to the designated successors of Tibetan Buddhist sect leaders.

It is evident that the key to understanding this issue lies in understanding how religions approach reincarnation, as well as how the fundamental teachings of Tibetan Buddhism determine reincarnation and people who are reincarnated. Only by doing so can we determine whether the individuals recognized by the reincarnation system in the doctrines and rituals of Tibetan Buddhism are ordinary people in the secular world or mysterious entities that are difficult to substantiate legally. This determines the ethical foundation of Chinese legal regulation regarding the lineage of reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism, which has lasted for over 680 years.
Solid legal foundation

Looking at the various doctrines of Buddhism, the concept of reincarnation is described as a transformation of social status from the original South Asian caste society, to the expression of individuals' cultivation and realization of truth. There are no particularly mysterious records regarding this.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the inheritance of the Dharma lineage mainly takes the form of family lineage inheritance, master-disciple inheritance of precepts, and the inheritance of the position of temple abbot. The reincarnation inheritance is just one of the common inheritance methods. The Chinese central governments or local governments therefore regulate religious inheritance affairs based on the rule of law and public welfare. This is done in deference to Buddhist doctrines and in full compliance with religious ethics. It is also a management system based on Chinese law, and is not an intervention in any identity or matter with any mysterious implications. This is also the institutional purpose of Chinese laws concerning reincarnation inheritance.

Today, some rhetoric in the West claiming the so-called "Chinese government's intervention in the reincarnation inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism" is based on a fundamental assumption that the Chinese government has no basis or authority to intervene in the reincarnation inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism.

In fact, the Central Government of China's participation in the affairs of the reincarnation inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in the reincarnation of influential living Buddhas, is based on the "imperial commendation" of the Chinese Central Government.

There is no denying that the issue of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is of great concern to Western political entities. Their logic is that the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of various sects within Tibetan Buddhism, and after the passing of the previous leader, the religious community needs to decide on the future leader and what qualities they should possess. Western political entities view this as a matter of religious autonomy, similar to the process of selecting a Pope in the Catholic Church. However, this interpretation has led to many misunderstandings.

Due to the complexities of religious doctrine, multiple languages, historical knowledge, and legal interpretations, it is quite difficult to clarify these issues. In fact, the process of the reincarnation or succession of high-ranking living Buddhas in China is fundamentally different from the selection of a Pope in the Catholic Church.

As opposed to how the title of the Pope is indeed defined by the Catholic Church itself, the titles of the majority of high-ranking living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism are not similarly prescribed. This is because, aside from the Dalai Lama, most high-ranking living Buddhas of the reincarnation lineage use titles conferred by the Central Government of China. These titles are understood in traditional Chinese law as "imperial commendations," that is, "honorary titles" granted by the Central Government of China to the leaders of religious sects.

Second, imperial commendation must be legally recognized by the Central Government of China. Taking the title "Dalai Lama" as an example, before the Third Dalai Lama, the great living Buddhas of this reincarnation lineage were actually named after their Dharma names, namely the "Gendun" series of living Buddhas.

The Dharma name of the Third Gendun living Buddha, Sonam Gyatso, was given a hybrid title in Sanskrit, Mongolian, and Tibetan through his exchanges with Altan Khan, the Shunyi King of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in present-day Qinghai, Northwest China. This title was not approved by the central government of China at that time, so the reincarnation lineage was still known by its Dharma name, which was the "Gyatso reincarnation lineage." The Fourth living Buddha in this lineage was Yonten Gyatso.

It was not until February 1653, when the Fifth Gyatso Lama (also referred to in official Chinese documents as "Fuhai Lama") was returning to Xizang after presenting himself before the emperor in Beijing and arriving in Taikha in today's North China's Inner Mongolia, that the central government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), following the rituals of the Ming Dynasty, granted the Lama the imperial commendation in the Han language, the official language of the country, along with a golden book and seal in Han, Manchu, and Tibetan as symbols of the commendation.

Thereafter, the central government of China began to use the legal abbreviations "Dalai Lama" in official documents.

Clearly, before the Central Government of China granted the imperial commendation, the Gyatso reincarnation lineage of living Buddhas had never had the commendation of "Dalai Lama," nor the translated titles present in English today. References to the "Dalai Lama" in the legislation or legal documents of some countries are even more baseless.

The case of the Dalai Lama illustrates that the Chinese government possesses ownership of imperial commendation, and starting from the significance of the commendation as an object, it inevitably leads to the formation of rights and powers in terms of the "possession of the object" and "use of the object."

From a legal practice perspective, the ownership of imperial commendation has been held by the Central Government of China on behalf of the state at different times, and is granted to the inheritors of Tibetan Buddhism for use. Any reincarnation lineage that accepts the imperial commendation necessarily has the duty to maintain historical customs and stability. Historical central governments of China have maintained their legal involvement in the Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation tradition by relying on imperial commendation.

If Western political individuals examine the historical and legal facts of the successive Chinese central governments' lawful participation in the reincarnation traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in a truly responsible way, it is evident that "participation according to law and historical precedents" has been a consistent approach by the Chinese central governments. If, under the guise of human rights, one distorts or attacks the centuries-long legal and institutional facts of a country, they will not gain the understanding and respect of rational people who have good intentions for the world.

Britain: British Council showcases education cooperation at CACIE 2023

From October 26 to 28, the British Council participated in the 24th China Annual Conference for International Education and Expo (CACIE 2023) as a CACIE Honorary Partner, and hosted two sub-forums on higher education: "From Study to Work: Global Talent Mobility and Development" and "English Teaching and Assessment to Enhance International Understanding Education in Secondary Schools." 

The former focused on the current trends and challenges of talent cultivation and mobility in the context of international education, while the latter addressed the hot topic of international understanding education in the K12 sector. 

"Through the two forums, we shared our insights on the mobility and development of Chinese students abroad, and introduced our comprehensive assessment solutions and ecosystem value chain from study to work, represented by the British Council's IELTS test. We were also honored to invite our partners, top universities and enterprises from home and abroad, to share their best practices and explore how to better support the lifelong growth and development of international education in China," said You Zhuoran, director of examinations at the British Council China. 

China, five Mekong River countries launch ‘Lancang-Mekong Week’, agreeing to deepen cooperation: FM

China has announced plans to deepen engagement with the Mekong River countries through a series of activities to celebrate the "Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Week" scheduled from Monday to Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry revealed on Monday.

The events, aimed at commemorating the 8th anniversary of the LMC's inception, is expected to involve more than 20 ministries and provincial and municipal governments from China. They will work with the five countries along the Mekong River to host more than 80 events, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said on Monday.

The activities include discussions and field visits focused on water resource cooperation, round-table dialogue on green and low-carbon policies, exhibitions showcasing achievements in aquatic biodiversity conservation and fisheries cooperation, as well as seminars on wetland conservation management, Lin added.

The LMC is a regional cooperation mechanism co-constructed by China and the five countries along the Lancang-Mekong River -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The mechanism aims to build a community of shared future in the region, Lin explained.

Supported by Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, the involved countries have implemented projects to benefit local residents by ensuring food, vegetable, and fruit supply. Emerging collaborations in digital economy, new energy and aerospace, alongside the acceleration of the Lancang-Mekong Innovation Corridor, are expanding, with cooperation in the fields of cultural tourism and media continuing to deepen, Lin said.

The spokesperson reaffirmed China's commitment in ensuring downstream flow from the Lancang River, sharing hydrological information throughout the year. The country strongly supports Mekong River countries in coping with floods and droughts. Countries of the LMC have made joint efforts in combating transnational crimes, including online gambling and telecom fraud, to help maintain peace in the region.

At the 4th LMC Leaders' Meeting and the 8th LMC Foreign Ministers' Meeting last year, significant areas of consensus were reached among the six countries on deepening cooperation in connectivity, green development, and non-traditional security issues, said the spokesperson, and the adoption of the Five-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation has charted the course for further collaboration. 

Amid the changing world, building a united, stable, and prosperous Lancang-Mekong zone remains a shared aspiration of LMC countries. China pledges to adhere to its diplomatic principles of mutual benefit and inclusiveness, aiming to deepen the construction of a community of shared future for Lancang-Mekong countries, Lin said.

AI, robotics, quantum computing in focus as China strives to develop new quality productive forces

Developing new quality productive forces has become a major theme in China's policymaking since it was first put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2023. It is also listed as a priority for this year's economic tasks outlined in the Government Work Report delivered to the ongoing two sessions in Beijing.

"China will strive to modernize the industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace this year," noted the report, which placed sci-tech innovation high on the government's agenda.

The national lawmakers and political advisers have expressed full confidence on the prospects of China's sci-tech advance and economic development, saying that the rapid development of strategic emerging industries such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and new green energies will shore up sustainable momentum to support the high-quality development of Chinese economy.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, on Tuesday stressed developing new quality productive forces in China in accordance with local conditions during the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), the Xinhua News Agency reported.

President Xi called for focusing on high-quality development as the top priority, urging efforts to step up innovation, foster emerging industries, adopt forward-thinking plans for developing future-oriented industries and improve the modernized industrial system.

New growth drivers

The term - new quality productive forces - emerges from continuous breakthroughs in science and technology, which will drive the development of strategic emerging industries that may bring disruptive technological advances in the era of intelligent information.

Developing new quality productive forces is a decisive step in the economy's high-quality development course, Guo Guoping, an NPC deputy and a vice director of the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times.

"The concept offers guidance for our country to take advantage of the historical opportunity of a new round of technological upgrade and aims to develop strategic emerging industries and future industries," Guo said, noting it is of great importance for China to implement innovation-driven development strategy, seize the high ground in global industrial competition and build up China's manufacturing edge.

Currently, the development of new quality productive forces in China is picking up pace.

Official data showed that China's output of new-energy vehicles reached 9.44 million in 2023, up 30.3 percent on a yearly basis, while the output of solar panels rose by 54 percent to reach 540 million kilowatts. Last year, the country's production of service robots reached 7.83 million sets, up 23.3 percent year-on-year.

The development of new quality productive forces has great potential in China, as its huge market place ensures full testing, application and evolution of new technologies and new business models, Xu Jiuping, a professor of Sichuan University and a member of the National Committee of the 14th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), told the Global Times.

Xu advocated that enterprises, with the support of national innovation policies, make full use of the market demand to help China's manufacturing sector overcome shortcoming and boost the development of new quality productive forces in China.

AI Plus initiative

In recent years, the economic growth in the world was mainly driven by new technologies, which would give birth to new industries and then form new productivity. In order to promote the development of new quality productive forces in China, analysts said the country should firmly adhere to deepening scientific research and technological innovation.

China is now beefing up support for building new manufacturing lines that are integrated with advanced tech breakthroughs such as AI, quantum computing and new and green energies. China ranked 12th place in the 2023 Global Innovation Index, and became the country with the largest number of top 100 sci-tech innovation clusters in the world for the first time, according to the latest ranking by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

It's projected that global AI competition will become a systemic contest in 2024, which will also be a crucial year for China and the US to compete in the in-depth application of generative AI breakthroughs said Liu Qingfeng, chairman of Chinese artificial intelligence company iFlytek who is also a deputy to the NPC.

Liu suggested that China should accelerate technological advances in key sectors including neural science, brain-like intelligence innovation, and quantum computing so as to achieve an overtaking on the curve.

Yang Jie, chairman of China Mobile and also a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC, suggested that the country boosts an AI Plus initiative in the national level by strengthening top-level design and clarifying development goals and key tasks, in order to fully give play to the huge potential of AI in achieving leapfrog development of technologies, industrial upgrade and productivity.

Comprised of AI and the manufacturing sector, smart manufacturing is an important part of forming new quality productive forces. However, China's smart manufacturing faces three major problems: Supply capability need to be strengthened, application needs to be promoted, and a standard system needs to be established, said Zhong Zheng, an NPC deputy and vice president of Midea Group.

She suggested that the country support leading companies in various industries to take the lead in developing industrial solutions so as to help more companies set up world-leading smart factories.

While putting focus on emerging and future industries, Chinese analysts said the country should aggregate high-level innovation talent to foster the whole chain of innovation. In addition to independently nurturing high-level talent, the country should also deepen reforms in talent introduction channels and set up a new mechanism to attract talent from all over the globe.

Chinese, US researchers jointly develop new type of stable semiconductor graphene with 10 times higher performance than silicon

Researchers from China and the US have jointly created a new type of stable semiconductor graphene, which displays performance 10 times higher than silicon and 20 times larger than that of the other two-dimensional semiconductors. The achievement marks "a leap from silicon chips to carbon chips," Ma Lei, leader of the research from the Tianjin International Center for Nanoparticles and Nanosystems (TICNN) at Tianjin University, who led the research, told the Global Times.

The achievement, jointly made by Ma's team and researchers from School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, was published online on the website of the journal "Nature" on January 3, 2024.

With silicon-based chips gradually approaching the physical limit of two nanometers, there is a surge in global demand for chips based on high-quality semiconductor materials. Two-dimensional materials, due to their excellent electronic transport properties and potential for high integration, have become a new frontier that scientists and semiconductor companies around the world are eager to invest in. 

Graphene, as the first discovered two-dimensional material that can exist stably at room temperature, has been the focus of scientists' efforts since its discovery in 2004 to design a new type of chip that consumes less energy and operates faster than existing semiconductors. However, the unique Dirac Cones of graphene leads to its "zero bandgap" characteristic, which has been the biggest obstacle to its application in the semiconductor field. 

By precisely controlling the epitaxial growth process of graphene, Ma's team introduced a bandgap into graphene, creating a new type of stable semiconductor graphene, which exhibits electron mobility far exceeding that of silicon materials. It displays performance 10 times higher than silicon and 20 times larger than that of the other two-dimensional semiconductors.

"We mainly applied a special growth environment and growth conditions to modulate graphene itself using SiC crystals, achieving the opening of a bandgap in graphene. This transforms the originally gapless graphene into a material with a bandgap," Ma said. He noted that what the team created "is a true single-crystal graphene semiconductor."

The development of this semiconductor not only paves the way for high-performance electronic devices surpassing traditional silicon-based technologies but also injects new impetus into the entire semiconductor industry. As the limits predicted by Moore's Law draw closer, the emergence of semiconductor graphene heralds a fundamental shift in the field of electronics. Its breakthrough properties meet the growing demand for higher computing speeds and miniaturized integrated electronic devices, read a report on the Tianjin University's website.  

Once delivered into large scale production, the single-crystal semiconductor graphene will lay an important foundation for the transition from the silicon era to the carbon era. However, whether graphene semiconductors can lead to a breakthrough in the chip industry still needs time to test, Ma noted.

When asked how far the achievement is from industrialization, Ma said he currently cannot predict. "When it can be put into large-scale industrial applications depends on the process from millimeter-scale single crystals to inch-scale single crystals." 

In a related report on January 4 by, Ma was quoted as saying that "I estimate that it will take another 10 to 15 years before graphene semiconductors can truly be fully implemented." 

Ma said that now he and his team are working hard to grow larger-sized graphene semiconductor single crystals.

In order to continue to promote the development of semiconductors, countries and regions all over the world are actively seeking new materials and paradigms in addition to two-dimensional materials. In November 2023, Huawei and Harbin Institute of Technology jointly applied for a "hybrid bonding method for three-dimensional integrated chips based on silicon and diamond." In September 2023, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported that the Japanese startup company OOKUMA plans to commercialize diamond semiconductors, and will start production as early as the fiscal year 2026. 

With the intensification of competition, the US has been increasing its export control measures on chips to China, unreasonably suppressing Chinese semiconductor companies, and attempting to "strangle" China in the semiconductor chip field. 

In this context, the achievement by Chinese and American teams has attracted special attention. According to Ma, the intensification of China-US semiconductor competition has indeed had an impact on the cooperation between the scientific teams of the two countries, such as information exchange and sample exchange. However, overall, the cooperation between the two teams has been fruitful. 

"Healthy competition is an important factor in promoting development, while malicious competition hinders the development of technology. I hope that cooperation is the mainstream and competition is a stimulant. With cooperation as the mainstream, appropriate competition will make scientific development better and better," Ma noted.