China's top ten science and
technology achievementsin 1999

 1. China’s first experimental manned spaceship made a successful maiden flight.

 At 6: 30 on November 20, 1999, China’s first experimental manned spaceship, the “Shenzhou,” was launched at the newly-built space launching site in the China Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center. This was China’s first manned spaceship flight test, marking a new major breakthrough in China’s manned space technology. The experimental spaceship and the new-type rocket launched this time were independently developed by China.

 2. Great progress was made in the study of hydrogen storage nanometer carbon tubes.

 The advanced carbon materials research group, led by Cheng Huiming of the Metals Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, launched China’s first experimental research project into the characteristics of hydrogen storage using one-dimensional nanometer carbon material, and produced a large amount of nanometer carbon fiber storing a greater quantity of hydrogen. At the beginning of 1999, the group did research into the preparation of the single-wall nanometer carbon tube and hydrogen storage. The group cooperated with China’s National Key Laboratory for Rapid Solidification of Non-balanced Alloys and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the United States, and, by means of the unusual plasma hydrogen electric arc, semi-continuously produced a large quantity of high-purity single-wall nanometer carbon tubes, the diameters of which averaged 1.85 nanometers. This type of single-wall nanometer carbon tube with its broad diameter can store a great deal of hydrogen at room temperature after proper treatment.

 3. Chinese scientists found “all-time low ozone” high above the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

 Using data from satellite sensing and a field survey, Chinese scientists have procured a surprise finding that high above the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau exists “all-time low ozone” in summer. Experts hold that this is another major scientific discovery since the ozone cavity over the South Pole was discovered in 1985, and that it has drawn wide attention from science and technology circles worldwide.

 4. Oldest-known vertebrate fossils found in China.

 The fossilized Kunming fish and Haikou fish, found by Prof. Shu Degan, head of the Research Institute of Early Life of Northwest University, and his collegues, and the fossilized Haikou insect, discovered by a research group led by Chen Junyuan, a research fellow of the Nanjing Institute of Geological Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, are the oldest vertebrates in the world discovered so far. They can be traced back 530 million years, according to textual research. These fossils were discovered in the stratum of the early Cambrian Period, which dates back 530 million years, in Haikou District, Kunming City, Yunnan Province. The discovery of these fossils not only reveals a complete picture of the emergence of life in the Cambrian Period, it also provides reliable evidence for the origin of vertebrates and their important organs. These discoveries will help to rewrite the history of the origin of vertebrates.

 5. Chronoclines of the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties inferred.

 Chinese scholars have concluded that the demarcation lines between the Xia and Shang dynasties and between the Shang and Zhou dynasties range from 1600 B.C. to 1500 B.C., and from 1050 B.C. to 1020 B.C., respectively.

 6. China made great achievements in its first scientific investigation of the North Pole

 China made its first scientific investigation of the North Pole from July to September, 1999. For the first time, the Chinese government directly organized this large-scale comprehensive scientific investigation of the North Pole, and for the first time China’s scientific research ship made a voyage to the Arctic Ocean.

 This investigation into the North Pole is another breakthrough in China’s polar investigations, which have been continuing for the past 15 years. It makes China one of the few countries to have made investigations of both the North and South poles. A series of significant achievements were made during this investigation.

 7. China bred the first transgene calf.

 The Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics successfully bred China’s first test-tube transgene calf by means of its newly invented technology which had already produced a transgene sheep. The institute’s specialists simultaneously discovered a new method of greatly raising the gene expression level, so that the proteins of pharmaceuticals contained in the milk of transgene animals could increase by more than 30 times. The test-tube transgene calf, named “Taotao,” was born on February 19, 1999, weighing 38 kg. According to an examination, it carries in its body the genes of human protein transplanted by scientific research personnel of the institute.

 8. China successfully launched its first earth resources satellite.

 At 11:16 on October 14, 1999, China successfully launched into the expected orbit the “Resource No. 1” earth resources remote sensing satellite jointly developed by China and Brazil, along with a small Brazilian auxiliary scientific applications satellite.

 After it is put into use, the “Resource No. 1” satellite will transmit remote-sensing image information about visible light, and multispectral, short-wavelength and thermal infrared waves to China, Brazil and other countries and regions capable of receiving the information.

 9. China’s scientists successfully cloned giant panda embryos.

 The Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Fuzhou Giant Panda Research Center jointly cloned a batch of early panda embryos for the first time in the world by means of transplanting panda cells into an enucleated rabbit ovum. This is a manifestation of the fact that China has once again ranked itself among the world’s foremost nations in giant panda research.

 10. China’s research into and development of human blood substitutes has reached the internationally advanced level.

 According to the “March 1986 Program” of the Chinese government, research into and development of human blood substitutes was selected as a major project in the nation’s biological endeavors. The Beijing Kaizheng Bioengineering Development Company did research into blood substitutes by using animal hemoglobin as stroma, opened up a technical route with independent intellectual property rights, successfully transformed animal hemoglobin into a safe and effective human blood substitute, and secured three key technical patents. Research in this field has reached the advanced level among similar international research efforts. Efforts are being made to apply the findings to commercial and industrial use.

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Last updated: 2000-07-13.