Science

People walk through Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 12 December 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

China-US R&D decoupling detrimental for both countries

Given the US’s firm stance on safeguarding national security, in particular against China, the research and development sector is among the few that have been deeply impacted. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Hai Kexian speaks with academics to find out the severity of this decoupling in research collaboration.
A Volkswagen AG automobile charges at a Belib' public electric vehicle charging station in Paris, France, on 14 February 2024. (Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg)

How German automakers maintain their edge over Chinese EV brands

German academic Helena Wisbert analyses how strong European consumer appetites are for electric cars, in particular as new entrants from China and the US seek to get a slice of the pie. She asks: have competitors, who have equipped their vehicles with numerous digital features, AI-supported voice control and a variety of third-party applications, misunderstood the German market?
A motorcyclist passes an advertisement for electric vehicle at the Car Valley area in Wuhan, China, on 24 October 2023. (Bloomberg)

EV battery race: Has China won?

Lianhe Zaobao journalist Liu Sha notes that while China currently seems to be ahead of the competition in terms of electric vehicles and batteries, questions of cost, quality and sustainability have to be taken into account in considering how China can maintain its lead in the battery industry.
Chinese military personnel salute as China's national flag is hoisted during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 23 September 2023. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Japanese academic: Some concerns with China’s military AI advancements

A possible concern on the military use of AI in China, where the party controls the People’s Liberation Army, is that political rationality may take precedence over military rationality. This could heighten the risks of accidental escalation or a lack of assurance of control and safety when using such technology. Japanese academic Masaaki Yatsuzuka delves into the issue.
Chen I-shu, Aries. (Photo provided by Chiang Hsun)

Taiwanese art historian: The madness of Aries

Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun reflects on the prominent Arians from history and those he had encountered. Perhaps there is a wildness in them passed on from generation to generation that brings together poetry, instincts, and even the power of madness.
The EX Future and Science Museum in Dalian.

Can northeast China revitalise its economy with robotic AI and green energy?

Dalian in China’s Liaoning province is not the first place one would think of in relation to the tech industry, but northeast China — despite the gap in its development compared to other parts of China — hopes to ride the wave of tech development, such as in the area of robotics.
China is placing greater emphasis on S&T and R&D. This picture taken on 22 September 2023 shows an employee from Chinese AR startup Rokid demonstrating an AR helmet at the company's office at the 2022 Asian Games host city Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province. (AFP)

Can a new governance model boost China's chance for innovation-driven growth?

To overcome limitations in chokepoint technologies and improve its investment in basic research, China has rolled out a series of governance changes to the science and technology (S&T) ecosystem. Researcher Qian Jiwei examines the changes which could potentially result in a centralised leadership and decentralised fund allocation mechanism. Will it work?  
Former Japanese politician Yasuhiro Sonoda publicly drank half a cup of radioactive water that he claimed had been treated in October 2011. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

Chinese academic: Can we die from drinking Fukushima treated wastewater?

With the uproar around the Fukushima treated wastewater at a peak, Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan takes a look at historical and scientific facts that help us understand the risks and effects of drinking treated nuclear-contaminated water. Is the fear justified?
A protester holds signs during a rally against the discharging of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean, in front of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on 25 August 2023. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Japanese academic: China's strong views about Fukushima water will affect Japan-China relations

Propaganda campaigns against Japan may leave China turning a deaf ear to Japan’s explanations about the discharge of Fukushima treated water, says Japanese academic Shin Kawashima. This can only have dire consequences for Japan-China relations.