Science

Renowned virologist Guan Yi. (Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine official website)

A Chinese virologist's changing fortunes for speaking up against zero-Covid

China's renowned virologist Guan Yi has reappeared in public as the newly appointed chief of the Shanghai Virus Research Institute, after being denounced for his alarmist views of the pandemic at the start of its outbreak and speaking against the zero-Covid measures. But now, will his return mark an end to the harsh restrictions that have left the Chinese economy in a dire state?
Onlookers watch the launch of a rocket transporting China’s second module for its Tiangong space station from the Wenchang spaceport in southern China on 24 July 2022. (CNS/AFP)

Rocket scientists in China's party leadership: Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

The rapid rise of “the cosmos club” has paralleled China's rising aspiration to take on a prominent role in the international “space club”. Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, takes a closer look at the career paths and institutional associations of emerging rocket scientists in China’s national and provincial leadership.
A Chinese chip investment fund is at the centre of an expanding anti-graft crackdown on the semiconductor industry. (iStock)

Five things to know about China’s scandal-struck chip industry ‘Big Fund’

An anti-graft crackdown targeting the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund is rattling the entire semiconductor industry. What is the "Big Fund" and how does it work? What are its most recognised and controversial projects and how did it play a role as a fund of funds? And what’s the role of Sino IC Leasing Co. in all this?
A farmer seeds rice with a seeding machine in a field in Wuyi, in Zhejiang province, China, on 12 April 2022. (AFP)

Does China have a food security problem?

After its major reforms in late 2013, China adopted a dual approach to safeguard its food security. But it has faced several challenges along the way. To cope with the situation, Beijing is diving deep into agricultural science and technology, exploring future foods, mining the potential of “blue territories” and getting local governments and citizens on board. But the proof of the pudding will very much be in tackling extreme weather and other external events.
Liu Yang is China's first female astronaut in space, and a prominent member of the Shenzhou-14 crew. (CNS)

China’s Shenzhou-14 crewed mission: Mother of two an astronaut in space

China’s Shenzhou-14 spacecraft launched on 5 June, with the three astronauts on board taking on a six-month stint in space. Among them, the greatest focus has been on Liu Yang, China’s first woman in space and a vice-president of the All-China Women's Federation. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan tells us more about this prominent astronaut.
Jonathan Spence (1936-2021), master storyteller of Chinese history. (WeChat/玉茗堂前)

Jonathan Spence: A Western historian's search for modern China

Professor Jonathan Spence (1936-2021) was a prolific historian who deepened Western readers’ understanding of China’s history and culture through his artful mastery of narrative history grounded in rigorous research. From the inner world of Emperor Kangxi to Jesuit missionaries' voyage to China, to the plight of Chinese intellectuals and literati and the arduous mission of reform and opening up, Spence’s unique writing style brought to life the complex historical figures and events of China. Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai, one of his earliest students, and translation academic Jackie Yan pay tribute to Spence and his contribution to the study of Chinese history through this preface to a collection of Spence's translated works published by the Guangxi Normal University Press.
Charles Lieber leaves federal court after he and two Chinese nationals were charged with lying about their alleged links to the Chinese government, in Boston, Massachusetts, US, 30 January 2020. (Katherine Taylor/Reuters)

US must not be naive about intentions of China’s Thousand Talents Plan

The recent conviction of former Harvard department head Charles Lieber has cast the spotlight once again on China’s Thousand Talents Plan to attract global scientific talent to contribute their expertise to China. The American scientific community is pushing back against some of the US government’s harsh reprisals, but Hu Hao says strong action is warranted as the threat of authoritarian regimes seeking to gain technical knowledge to threaten democratic and liberal values is real.
A man takes a photo of a screen broadcasting Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering his New Year speech, at a restaurant in Beijing, China, on 31 December 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Is Chinese socialism superior?

Although the Chinese Communist Party believes in the great future of socialism, the basic contradictions of socialism that caused the demise of the Soviet Union are yet to be fully resolved in China, says Lance Gore. As a matter of fact, President Xi Jinping’s mantra of “returning to the party’s original mission” is inadvertently resurrecting some of the same problems that bedevilled classic communism.
A staff member walks near a poster with an illustration of China's space station, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 14 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

In a US-China war, will the first blow be struck in space?

Recent Chinese animosity against Elon Musk and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites attests to the understanding that information systems will be key in future warfare. If there comes a day when SpaceX’s envisioned 42,000 Starlink satellites are deployed and positioned, it would technically be feasible to put up a “space blockade” against the enemy. Evidently, both China and the US see the strategic implications and are stepping up the space race.