China, no doubt, has etched its name in the annals of world history in all human endeavours, particularly through its technological advancement. This developmental stride, has in itself, held the whole world spell bound. From manufacturing to space technology, China has gone ahead to establish itself and became a point of reference in different spheres of human endeavour.
President Xi Jinping Inspects the Seed Laboratory in Hainan Province
Only recently, Chinese President Xi Jinpin, inspected the Seed Laboratory in Hainan Province.
President Xi, according to reports, was at the seed laboratory to learn about seed industry innovation in Sanya, South China’s Hainan province, April 10, 2022.
During the visit, President Xi stressed the crucial role of “Chinese seeds” in ensuring the country’s food security.
China’s food security, Xi emphasised, can only be safeguarded when seed resources are firmly held in the hands of Chinese people.
According to Xi, “To ensure that China’s seed resources are self-supporting and under better control, self-reliance must be achieved in seed technology.”
Xi further highlighted the strategic significance of the related work and advicated for carrying forward, the spirit of scientists and researchers of the older generations, including Yuan Longping.
Xi also called for sustained efforts in developing the country’s seed industry, saying that to fill the rice bowls of the Chinese people and ensure the country’s grain security, China must hold seeds fast in its own hands.
He called for efforts to pursue agricultural technological breakthroughs to achieve self-dependence in the seed sector, which is a heavy task with strategic significance.
President Xi has raised this issue on multiple occasions, shedding light on where China’s seed industry is heading.
China has basically achieved seed self-sufficiency for two of its staple grains – rice and wheat. However, in terms of corn, another staple in China, the country remains partially dependent on imported seeds as the country’s corn breeding capabilities still lag behind international standards.
In February, China released the number one central document, which set technological breakthroughs in seeds as a priority. This is the second consecutive year that the central government has put such high emphasis on supporting seed development, including biotech seeds.
With global food prices skyrocketing, the protracted Russia-Ukraine conflict is causing serious risks for global food security. The importance of agricultural safety in China is being elevated to an unprecedented level, with seed security in particular, known as agricultural “chips,” also topping the priorities. The looming global food crisis will not engulf China or pose a threat to its seed security, as about 95 percent of staple food grain reaped in the country such as rice and barley are cultivated with self-developed seeds, and major breakthroughs are also being achieved in “bottleneck” seed sectors such as corn, soybean, broiler chicken and breeding pigs, helping to further reduce reliance on foreign imports amid rising geopolitical risks. The battle for China’s seed self-sufficiency has long been a key mission. Every year, from September until May, more than 8,000 Chinese agricultural scientists and workers from 700 institutions gather at Nanfan Technology City in Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province.
China’s Hybrid Rice Technology
In June, 2020, about 600kg of third-generation hybrid rice seeds were sorted at a speed of 20kg/h, with the help of a prototype developed by Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The prototype, a fluorescence identification and sorting device, can boost the speed and accuracy of seed sorting, a help for agricultural scientists at China National Hybrid Rice R&D Centre (CNHRRDC), where third-generation hybrid rice is being developed.
Prof. Yuan Longping, known as the father of hybrid rice, is a strong supporter of the seed identification and sorting device, a project jointly conducted by CIOMP and CNHRRDC.
Third-generation of hybrid rice is the latest achievement of YUAN and his team. Crop yield of this rice breed exceeded 1,000kg per mu (about 0.07 hectares).
Unlike the previous two generations of hybrid rice which requires large amount of water and fertilisers, as well as demanding growing conditions and technological support, the third-generation hybrid rice can be easily cultivated by ordinary farmers.
Breeding of third-generation hybrid rice uses genetic engineered male sterile rice as a genetic tool to overcome the weakness of difficult combination of three-line hybrid rice and unstable fertility of two-line hybrid rice.
The genes added to the genetically engineered rice contain fluorescence which serves as identification markers for sorting, as all seeds contain transgenic components should be filtered out.
“This is where CIOMP came in. CNHRRDC and CIOMP signed an agreement on November 26, 2019 in Changsha. CIOMP will develop an instrument with 100 percent fluorescence seeds identification and sorting rate, according to the agreement. The device is an improvement on existing products which are unsatisfactory on both efficiency and accuracy. About 600-kg high quality rice seeds with 100 percent fluorescence identification were sorted in 10 days (May 17-26) with the prototype device, developed and built in just six months, to ensure the sorting and planting of the third-generation hybrid rice seeds this year. The prototype device would give a big boost to the development of third-generation hybrid rice,” Yuan said.
China’s Hybrid Rice Technology to Assist the World
From 2018 to April 2019, China’s agricultural assistance team in Senegal provided free training to 175 students from the University of Dakar to develop high-level talents for Senegal’s agricultural development. Represented by hybrid rice technology, the scope and scale of China’s foreign agricultural assistance has expanded, improving the level of agriculture in the recipient countries and helping alleviate food shortage, thereby contributing to the elimination of extreme poverty.
Shenzhou 13 Manned Spacecraft and Aerospace Science and Technology of China
Shenzhou 13 Manned Spacecraft
On April 16, 2022, the Shenzhou-13 crew safely returned to earth after their epic six-month orbital trip, which nearly doubled the previous record of China’s longest single-flight space mission of 92 days set by the Shenzhou-12, some eight hours after the manned spacecraft’s detachment from the Tianhe core module.
China launched the Shenzhou-13 mission on October 16, 2021, sending the three astronauts for a historic six-month stay in space – the longest-ever duration in the country’s manned space program.
During their trip, the trio has completed a slew of tasks, including two extravehicular activities, two livestreamed science lectures and more than 20 scientific experiments.
The Shenzhou-13 mission is the second manned mission for the assembly of China’s space station, following last year’s Shenzhou-12 mission that lasted three months from June 17 to September 17.
Apart from the long-term stay in space, the mission has set many records and firsts in the country’s manned space history. The Shenzhou spacecraft developer, China Academy of Spacecraft Technology (CAST), disclosed in a statement sent to the Global Times that the Shenzhou-13 mission also explored emergency mission mechanisms for the first time, with the Shenzhou-14 manned spacecraft and Long March-2F Y14 rocket in standby position right after the launch of the Shenzhou-13 and Long March-2F Y13. This enabled a potential space rescue of the Shenzhou-13 taikonauts in case of any malfunction preventing the spacecraft from returning to Earth.
Compared to the return trip of the Shenzhou-12 mission which took approximately 28 hours, the Shenzhou-13 carried out a rapid return maneuver which took just eight hours.
The CAST explained that the Shenzhou-13 orbit plan was streamlined to five orbits compared to the 18 of the Shenzhou-12 mission, and it was designed to further enhance return efficiency, shorten the ground monitoring and make it more comfortable for the returning astronauts.
The 18 laps for Shenzhou-12 included some fly-around experiment tasks, and the traditional plan was 11 and a half laps, deputy chief designer Shao Limin told the Global Times. The Shenzhou-13 crew’s unprecedented six-month stay in orbit was taken into consideration and the plan was to make their journey home more comfortable, Shao noted.
With the completion of the Shenzhou-13 mission, the “technology verification phase” of the space station project will be completed. According to China’s plan, there will be two more crewed missions to build the space station, with more unmanned missions to send cargo ships and additional modules for installation.
Aerospace Science and Technology of China
China National Space Administration (CNSA) is the government agency of China that is responsible for civil space administration and international space cooperation, including organizing or leading foreign exchanges and cooperation in the aerospace field. An administrative agency under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, its headquarters are located in Haidian, Beijing.
Founded in 1993, CNSA has pioneered a number of achievements in space for China despite its relatively short history, including becoming the first space agency to land on the far side of the Moon with Chang’e 4, bringing material back from the Moon with Chang’e 5, and being the second agency who successfully landed a rover on Mars with Tianwen-1.
As the governing body of civil space activities, China National Space Administration does not execute any space program. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation executes China’s state space programs instead. The China Manned Space Program is operated by China Manned Space Agency, instead of the CNSA.
Origins and Customs of Qingming Festival of China
Qingming Festival, also called Tomb Sweeping Day or, literally, ‘Pure Brightness’ Festival in English, is a traditional Chinese festival and an important day for most people (including the Han Chinese and some of China’s 55 other ethnic minorities) to go and sweep tombs and commemorate their ancestors.
On this day, tomb sweeping is one of the most important and popular activities to show respect to ancestors. It usually falls on April 4 or 5. In 2022, the Qingming Festival falls on April 5.
The public holiday in China is from April 3 to April 5, 2022. On May 20, 2006, the festival was listed as one of the first national intangible cultural heritage events.
What is the Meaning of Qingming?
Chinese: Qngmíng Jié / ching-ming jyeah/ ‘Pure Bright Festival’
Originally, Qingming didn’t relate to tomb sweeping or showing respect to ancestors. It is the second of the 24 solar terms on the traditional Chinese solar calendar.
President Xi Jinping Speak on Ukraine Crisis
Chinese President Xi Jinping, has called on countries not to come to the point of meeting on the battlefield. This was part of Xi’s conversation on the evening of March 18, 2022, while having a video call with US President Joe Biden at the request of the latter.
Xi, while speaking on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, said conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest, adding g that peace and security are what the international community should treasure the most.
President Xi noted the new major developments in the international landscape since their first virtual meeting last November.
Xi said: “The prevailing trend of peace and development is facing serious challenges. The world is neither tranquil nor stable. The Ukraine crisis is not something we want to see. The events again show that countries should not come to the point of meeting on the battlefield. Conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest, and peace and security are what the international community should treasure the most. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and the world’s two leading economies, we must not only guide the China-US relations forward along the right track, but also shoulder our share of international responsibilities and work for world peace and tranquillity.”
President Xi also met ia video link with President Charles Michel of the European Council and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission in Beijing on the evening of April 1, 2022.
The two sides exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine. he EU leaders shared their views and propositions on the Ukraine crisis.
President Xi emphasized that China finds it deeply regrettable that the situation in Ukraine has come to where it is today. He also said China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear-cut, while further saying that China always stands on the side of peace and draws its conclusion independently based on the merits of each matter.
China, Xi stated, calls for pholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations, acts in accordance with he purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and advocates the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
President Xi shared his views n how to settle the Ukraine crisis under the current circumstances
First in his suggestion was the promotion of peace talks. China, Xi said, supports the EU’s efforts toward a political settlement of the Ukraine issue, and has been encouraging peace talks in its own way.
“Peace talks are the only viable way to prevent an escalation of tensions. The international community should keep creating favourable conditions and environment for the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and make room for political settlement, rather than add fuel to the fire and heighten tensions,” Xi said.
The second point made by Xi was the prevention of humanitarian crisis n a bigger scale.
He said China has put forward a six-point initiative on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, provided multiple batches of emergency humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, and sent upplies to European countries receiving large numbers of efugees.
“China will tay in touch with the EU to prevent bigger umanitarian crisis,” Xi added.
Thirdly, Xi called for fostering asting peace in Europe and the Eurasian continent.
“The root cause of the Ukraine crisis is the regional security tensions in Europe that have built up ver the years. A undamental solution is to accommodate the legitimate security concerns of all relevant parties. In this day and age, global and regional security frameworks hould no longer be built with a Cold War mentality. China supports Europe, especially the EU, in playing a primary ole, and supports Europe, Russia, the US and NATO in holding dialogue to face up to the tensions that have built up over the years and find solutions, so as to build a balanced, effective and sustainable security framework in Europe,” Xi added. The last point made by Xi on resolving the Russia-Ukraine crisis was on preventing he regional conflict from magnifying.
“The Ukraine crisis must be handled properly. One should not take the wrong medicine, or ocus on just one aspect of the issue without regard to the rest, or hold the entire world ostage, still less ake ordinary people around the world suffer as a result. he more critical the situation, the greater the need to stay level-headed. The current global economic configuration is the result of longstanding efforts by all countries. It is an integral whole. Parties should cherish this outcome, and ust not let the global economic system be disrupted t will, still less allow attempts to politicize r eaponize the world economy s a tool to serve one’s own agenda, as such attempts will rigger erious rises in global finance, trade, energy, technology, food, industrial and supply chains, among others. Many are worried that the current situation may wipe out the fruits of international economic cooperation gained through decades of fforts. Should he situation continue to worsen, it may take years, if not ecades, o get things back on track. China and the EU need to commit themselves o keeping he situation nder control, preventing spill over of the crisis, nd, most importantly, keeping he system, rules and foundation of the world economy stable, in order to bolster public onfidence. The two sides may carry out coordination and cooperation in this regard,” Xi suggested.