China expands world’s deepest ‘dark matter’ lab

(Xinhua) 11:03, August 03, 2014

BEIJING – China has begun expanding the world’s deepest underground lab in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, where scientists have been conducting experiments on mysterious “dark matter”.

The second-phase construction of the Jinping Underground Laboratory, located at 2,400 meters under the surface of Jinping Hydropower Station, was launched on Friday by Tsinghua University and Yalong River Hydropower Development Company, the university told Xinhua on Saturday.

The construction, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, will increase the lab’s space to 120,000 cubic meters, allowing more experiments to be carried out simultaneously, the university said. Continue reading “China expands world’s deepest ‘dark matter’ lab”

Professor: Breaking up big bank monopoly highlight of China’s financial reform

(People’s Daily Online) 20:31, March 22, 2014

Chinese Bank of China

Beijing, March 22 (People’s Daily Online) — To break up big bank monopoly will be the highlight of China’s financial reform in 2014, professor Li Daokui told People’s Daily Online in Beijing, March 22, 2014.

Li Daokui, a professor with School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University, has attended the “China Development Forum 2014” at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Continue reading “Professor: Breaking up big bank monopoly highlight of China’s financial reform”

Central government cyberspies step up surveillance of ethnic groups with new language-tracking technology

Sophisticated new system allows tracking of messages in language of all mainland’s ethnic groups

Mainland authorities have boosted their cyberspying capability by developing technology that can track communications in the languages of ethnic groups.

The sophisticated new system will allow the monitoring of voice calls, text sent via the internet and even communications embedded in images or graphics to alert them to possible social unrest.

The system is aimed at local authorities in areas such as Xinjiang  and Tibet , where security officials do not know the local language. But rights groups warn that the technology could lead to the further suppression of minorities.

Ding Xiaoqing , a professor at Tsinghua University’s Centre for Intelligent Image and Document Information Processing, and the leader of the team behind the new application, said most government officials in ethnic regions are Han Chinese who cannot read or speak the local language.


Continue reading “Central government cyberspies step up surveillance of ethnic groups with new language-tracking technology”

Big Brother blinded: Security fears in China as smog disrupts surveillance cameras

Teams of scientists assigned to find a solution as heavy pollution makes national surveillance network useless, raising fear of terror attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 2:36am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 10:47am

Stephen Chen

  • china_smog.jpg


As well as health issues, heavy smog in cities such as Jilin is creating serious security concerns for authorities. Photo: China Foto Press

To the central government, the smog that blankets the country is not just a health hazard, it’s a threat to national security.

Last month visibility in Harbin dropped to below three metres because of heavy smog. On days like these, no surveillance camera can see through the thick layers of particles, say scientists and engineers.

To the authorities, this is a serious national security concern. Beijing has invested heavily to build up a nationwide surveillance network that lets police watch every major street and corner in main cities.

But with smoggy days becoming more frequent, the effectiveness of the system has been greatly compromised. Some fear terrorists may choose a smoggy day to launch attacks.

Kong Zilong, a senior project engineer with Shenzhen Yichengan Technology and an expert in video surveillance technology, said the security devices that could function in heavy smogs had yet to be invented.

Existing technology, such as infrared imaging, can help cameras see through fog or smoke at a certain level, but the smog on the mainland these days is a different story. The particles are so many and so solid, they block light almost as effectively as a brick wall.

“According to our experience, as the visibility drops below three metres, even the best camera cannot see beyond a dozen metres,” he said.

His company sells products from some of the world’s leading security camera makers, such as Raymax from Japan, Bewator from Britain, FLIR from the United States and VisSim from Norway.

The government has come to realise the seriousness of the issue and commissioned scientists to come up with a solution.

The National Natural Science Foundation of China funded two teams, one civilian and one military, to study the issue and has told the scientists involved to find solutions within four years.

Professor Yang Aiping, an expert in digital imaging with the School of Electronic Information Engineering of Tianjin University and leader of the civilian team, said she was facing tremendous pressure because of the enormous technological challenges.

“Most studies in other countries are to do with fog. In China, most people think that fog and smog can be dealt by the same method. Our preliminary research shows that the smog particles are quite different from the small water droplets of fog in terms of optical properties,” she said.

“We need to heavily revise, if not completely rewrite, algorithms in some mathematical models. We also need to do lots of computer simulation and extensive field tests.”

The military team is led by professor Bi Duyan of the Air Force Engineering University of the People’s Liberation Army in Xian , Shaanxi province. Bi could not be reached for comment on the research.

Professor Zhang Li, an image processing expert with the department of electronic engineering of Tsinghua University, said the researchers might have to think out of the box.

“On the smoggiest days, we may need to use radar to ensure security in some sensitive areas,” he said.

Microwaves or electromagnetic waves could travel through smog easily and bounce back if they hit an object. With the help of good software, sharp and clear images could be produced. But a radar camera would also generate radiation that harms people’s health.

“It has to be a contingency device,” Zhang said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Security threat as smog blinds cameras.

The ‘leftover’ women: China defines official age for females being left on the shelf as 27

  • Millions of women say they have been thrown  on the scrap heap
  • Chinese government worries that unmarried  men could cause social havoc

By  Peter Simpson

PUBLISHED: 09:04 EST, 21  February 2013 |  UPDATED: 09:13 EST, 21 February 2013

The derogatory name has caused an outcry among millions of ambitious young and educated females who claim they have been thrown on the scrap heap
The derogatory name has caused an outcry among millions  of ambitious young and educated females who claim they have been thrown on the  scrap heap (file photo)

China has upset its young female population  by labelling those who fail to marry by the time they are 30 as ‘left over  woman’.

The Communist government ordered its feminist  All-China Women’s Federation to use the derogatory term in several stinging  articles about the growing number of educated, professional, urban and single  females aged 27-30 who have ‘failed’ to find a husband and are now  deemed  ‘undesirable’.

‘Pretty girls do not need a lot of education  to marry into a rich and powerful family. But girls with an average or ugly  appearance will find it difficult,’ reads one article titled ‘Leftover Women Do  Not Deserve Our Sympathy’.

The derogatory name has been picked up by the  state media and stuck, causing an outcry among millions of ambitious young and  educated females who claim they have been thrown on the scrap heap – and who  bemoan the low quality of suitors.

The conservative country is going under rapid  changes with more women shunning tradition to wed and raise a family  early.

But the government wants to shame them into  marrying young to counter the growing and serious gender imbalance among the of  1.3 billion population.

Selective abortions because of the one-child  policy means far more males are born then females – 118 boys to 100 girls.

The government is also worried hordes of  unmarried men roaming the country could spark social havoc.

Leta Hong-Fincher, an American academic  studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said: ‘Since  2007, the state media has aggressively disseminated the left over term in  surveys, and news reports, and columns, and cartoons and pictures, basically  stigmatising educated women over the age of 27 or 30 who are still  single.’

Since the one child policy was introduced in  1979, there are now about 20 million more men under 30 than women under  30.

And census figures show that around one in  five women aged 25-29 is unmarried.

The proportion of unmarried males that age is  over a third higher – but  Chinese men tend to ‘marry down’ both in terms of age  and educational  attainment.

More Chinese women are shunning the tradition of marrying young and having children. But the government wants to shame them into marrying young to counter the population's growing gender imbalance (file photo)More Chinese women are shunning the tradition of  marrying young and having children. But the government wants to shame them into  marrying young to counter the population’s growing gender imbalance (file  photo)


Nine out of 10 men in China think women  should get married before 27

Sixty per cent say the ideal time is  25-27

One per cent believe the best age for a woman  to get married is 31-35

‘There is an opinion that A-quality guys will  find B-quality women, B-quality guys will find C-quality women, and C-quality  men will find D-quality women,’ Huang Yuanyuan, a confident and single  29-year-old who works in a Beijing radio station, told the BBC.

‘The people left are A-quality women and  D-quality men,’ she said.

But the Chinese Bridget Joneses are fighting  back, demanding the government ban the ‘left over women term.

The All-China Federation of Women has  recently dropped the label and now refers to ‘old’ unmarried women – but the  left over expression remains widely used elsewhere.

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Poison the well: Chinese city fails to report huge toxic leak, cuts off water to 1 million ” Residents were not notified of the spill for days “

Published: 6 January, 2013, 18:31 Edited: 6 January, 2013, 18:31

Authorities have cut off the water supply of over 1 million people in a northern Chinese city due to an industrial leak. Residents were not notified of the spill for days, despite the public health threat it posed.

­Handan, located in Hebei province, has seen its primary water supply cut off since Saturday afternoon. The move followed an accident in nearby Shanxi Province in which industrial chemicals spilled into the Zhanghe River, Xinhua news agency quoted local officials as saying.

A loose drainage valve at an industrial plant in the city of Lucheng resulted in nine tons of the chemical Aniline spilling into the river. An additional 30 tons of the chemical were contained in a disused reservoir.

Aniline, which is used as a precursor in the manufacture of pigments, herbicides and polyurethane, can be toxic to humans.

The leak was first spotted by employees at the Tianji Coal Chemical Industry plant during a routine check on December 31, Xinhua quoted a company spokesperson as saying.

Screenshot from AP video
Screenshot from AP video

Scores of dead fish were reported in the river as early as Friday evening, though there have been no reports of human causalities.

While the city of Handan has cut off its water supply from the tainted reservoir located on the river, and switched to another underground water source, residents may have been exposed to the tainted water for around five days.

It is not known why the contamination alerts were delayed for such an extended period of time. News of the incident has led local residents to buy up bottled water from local supermarkets en masse.

“Since the pollutants won’t decompose easily, it will likely take weeks to solve the problems caused by the spill,” Zhang Xiaojian, a professor at the environmental school of Tsinghua University, told Xinhua.

Wide-scale economic growth in China has led to a number of large factories being built along rivers. Poor environmental controls at these factories and relatively lenient punishments for accidents has led to a rash of similar incidents in recent years.

In January 2011, the water supply for the city of Liuzhou was cut off after industrial waste spilled into the Longjiang River in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

And in 2010, the Songhua River in northeast China’s Jilin Province was polluted after floodwaters swept warehouses owned by two chemical manufactures, spilling contaminants into the river.

Screenshot from AP video
Screenshot from AP video

Screenshot from AP video
Screenshot from AP video