News in Chinese Media

Xinhua News Agency
Dalian to Host National Sweets, Alcoholic Drinks Fair

A national trade fair featuring sweets and alcoholic drinks has been scheduled for October 16-20 in this coastal city in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The trade fair, which is being sponsored by the China Sugar and Wine Group Company and the Dalian municipal government, will have more than 3,000 booths covering 55,000 sq. m., including 15,000 sq. m. indoors.

It will be the 61st fair of its kind held in China. There were an average of over 3,000 enterprises participating in each of the previous sessions in recent years, which brought in more than 10 billion yuan-worth of business each time.

Date: 06/24/99

Xinhua News Agency
Returned Tibetans Get Good Care at Home

Gongtang Ouzhu, a Tibetan who fled to India in 1958, still felt homesick until 1983, and decided to pay a visit to his home in the Chinese province of Gansu.

"I was nervous day and night and couldn't get to sleep because I was homesick," he recalls, even though he was the head of a group of Tibetans in India, where he owned factories and shops.

On his first visit back home, he was welcomed by the local government and his six brothers and sisters, who asked him to stay, but it wasn't until 1990 that he finally returned to China for good and now lives in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, where he is a member of the regional People's Congress Standing Committee.

There have been more than 50,000 other exiled Tibetans who have visited their homes and more than 2,000 who have settled in Tibet, and Gansu or in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces.

Tuomei Langjia used to be in charge of exiled Tibetans in Nepal but returned in 1985. "I was engaged in the Dalai Lama's 'Tibet Independence' activities for more than 20 years," he says, "but my experience showed that the efforts were fruitless and gradually I got tired of it." After he returned, the government helped his wife find a job and later sent his two sons to other parts of the mainland to study in special classes for Tibetan students.

Renqing, an 82-year-old Tibetan woman has a different story to tell. She went on a pilgrimage to India in the 1950s and had to beg. Much later, when she came back, she saw that the government had not abandoned her and she now lives in a House for the Elderly in Lhasa that was built specifically for returning Tibetans and the government gives her food, oil, meat, and pocket money every month and she is satisfied, she says.

Some Tibetans have come home for reasons other than homesickness. Guisang, who is now 75, opened a Tibetan pharmacy after returning to Tibet, where he provides employment for a large number of jobless youth.

"To this day, there are still some exiled Tibetans, especially some young people, who are not aware of the real situation in Tibet," says Danba Chelie, an elderly Tibetan who returned recently, adding that they can't know the truth unless they come back and see it with their own eyes.

Date: 06/24/99

Xinhua News Agency
China Sending 10th Scientific Expedition To Pacific

China sent its 10th scientific expedition recently to an area near Hawaii where it has exclusive prospecting rights and priority exploitation rights for seabed mineral resources.

The expedition has about 120 scientists who will look for mineral resources and study environmental conservation. A number of scientists from Russia, the United States, and Germany will join the expedition, which is scheduled to work there 130 days.

The previous 9 expeditions found nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese and many more elements in a 150,000-square-kilometer international area. China got the rights for half the area for exploration and development, with the other half being handed over to the United Nations. China's half is estimated to contain 423 million tons of mineral deposits.

The international seabed makes up 49 percent of the earth's surface and is rich in natural resources, especially mineral resources. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that every country can prospect and have priority in opening up natural resources in the international seabed if it obtains UN approval and returns half of the prospected area to the UN.

China is the fifth-largest investor in undersea mining, after France, Japan, Russia and India.

Date: 06/24/99

Xinhua News Agency
China Renovating Largest Mosque In North

The largest mosque in Hohhot in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is showing its grandeur again after a year of renovation.

The 2-million-yuan (240,000 U.S. dollars) project which was paid for by Muslim donations and the local government began on July 1, 1998. It included some expansion of the original arch and reception hall in an area exceeding 1,000 sq.m.

The mosque was built in 1693 during the Qing Dynasty and has had several repairs since then. The total area used to be as large as 4,000 sq.m. and had a gate, hall, washroom, and lecture room.

This large mosque is the oldest and best-kept mosque of its kind in the region and contains 30 volumes of the Koran and dozens of ancient steles.

Date: 06/24/99

Xinhua News Agency
World's Longest Canal to Be Extended to Sea

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the world's longest, will be extended to the East China Sea as a 1. 8-km-long waterway is dug in the near future in east China's Zhejiang Province.

The new waterway will act as a connection linking the existing Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and Hangzhou-Ningbo Canal with the Yongjiang River, which flows into the East China Sea in Ningbo, a major port city in Zhejiang.

Experts say the linking up of the two canals, the river and the sea will help the Grand Canal to resume its status as a major transport waterway.

The 1,789-km-long Grand Canal runs from Beijing, China's capital, to Hangzhou, provincial capital of Zhejiang. The digging of the canal originally started under the order of an emperor of the Sui Dynasty (581-618).

It had been an important transport artery connecting southern China with northern China, until recently when other means of transportation became popular.

Since 1992, a series of projects have been launched to widen and dredge the southern part of the Grand Canal in a massive effort to improve its navigational conditions.

The latest project is to build five ship locks along the canal before the year 2002. It will cost more than one billion yuan, including 53 million U.S. dollars in World Bank loans.

Date: 06/24/99

Xinhua News Agency
China's 1st Notables' Sperm Bank Opens

A sperm bank, which only accepts donors with academic degrees equal to associate professor and above, became operational early this month, causing heated controversy.

The bank, known as the "Notables' Sperm Bank", is sponsored by the Family Planning Technical Guidance Agency of this capital of Sichuan Province, in southwest China.

It has received lots of phone calls and applications for donations, mainly from intellectuals, says Huang Ping, manager of the sperm bank.

The donors must be aged under 60 years and be healthy, and there must be no congenital diseases in their families, she said, adding that the Notables' Bank pays more for donations than ordinary sperm banks do.

So far, all the applicants for donations have asked for anonymity, Huang said. To avoid possible incest, one donor can only donate sperm a maximum of five times, while one donor's sperm will be used by women who live in different regions, according to the bank manager.

Meanwhile, some local experts have opposed the idea of opening the sperm bank. Prof. Zhang Sizhong, a leading genetics researcher at Huaxi Medical University, says that from the viewpoint of genetics, the sperm of highly educated people may not be better than that of others.

Prof. Yu Pingzhe, who teaches philosophy at Sichuan University, questioned the ethics of the Notables' Sperm Bank, insisting that both foolish and clever people have the right to live.

Sperm banks are still something new in China, and hospitals find it very difficult to get suitable donations for infertile couples.

Date: 06/24/99

China Daily
China ready to fight typhoons

China is preparing for the upcoming typhoon season from July to August, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The intense effort is centred on reinforcing embankments and dykes and establishing dense windbreaks along coastal areas.

China is highly vulnerable to typhoons because of its geography, especially its 19,000-kilometre coastline, according to officials with the China Meteorological Administration.

They said the country is especially vulnerable to tropical cyclones spawned in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and in the South China Sea.

An average of seven to eight typhoons a year hit 11 coastal provinces and spawn tropical cyclones affecting as many as 25 provinces.

Official statistics indicate typhoons destroyed 4.67 million hectares of crops and heavily damaged more than 400,000 houses during 1990-97, with direct losses averaging 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) annually. But losses dropped last year when only three typhoons hit the country.

Typhoon preparations in coastal areas are a high priority in China. Preparations include the construction of 13,500 kilometres of sea walls and embankments and 5,965 kilometres of related structures, 1.23-time more than that of 1993. All are expected to meet the highest State standards.

Date: 06/25/99

China Daily
Agreements boost aviation sector

AVIATION Industries of China (AVIC) has recently signed several agreements with Airbus Industrie, agreeing to further the co-operation in design and manufacturing of civilian aircraft.

Under these agreements, AVIC will participate in the development programme of the newly launched A318, as well as in the manufacturing of A320 wings and parts for the Airbus aircraft at the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) and the Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group (XAC).

AVIC engineers will also participate in the design, the management of the development phase, and the certification process of the A318.

The A318 will carry 107 passengers in a standard two-class layout and will be the smallest member of the A320 family.

For the next 20 years, Airbus Industrie has forecast a demand of more than 1,300 aircraft in the A318 size category.

The agreements were signed at a ceremony at the just-concluded Le Bourget Airshow, in France.

Airbus said the agreement will build on the existing industrial partnership and embark on a long term and mutually profitable co-operation.

The manufacturing of the A320 wing by SAC and XAC will be done through a carefully paced programme. The first series of parts will be manufactured and assembled by SAC. The second delivery is planned for August 1999 and is to be handled by XAC.

Airbus Industrie announced it had clinched contracts for 146 aircraft valued at US$6.9 billion during the airshow. This includes 93 firm orders and 53 commitments.

The orders include the first firm order for the newly launched A318, from ILFC, an aircraft leasing financing company, which will buy 30 A318.

Analysts say the agreements indicates that Airbus has the advantage to introduce its A318 and the large A340 series into China, the world's potentially largest civil aviation market.

On another front, Boeing Co also launched the 717-200, specifically designed for the 100-seat passenger market, with low acquisition, operating and maintenance costs.

It is the only new airplane in its class currently in production.

The Boeing 717-200 also targets the regional aviation market in China.

Currently, the Chinese Government is encouraging domestic aircraft manufacturers to enhance their strength in the development and manufacturing of regional aircraft.

Date: 06/25/99
Author: Xue Cheng

Shanghai Daily
Genetic Research Progresses

CHINESE National Human Genome Centre (Shanghai), located at Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park, is making stable progress in its targeted basic research field.

"We are currently working on the genetic causes of non-genetic disease, and other multi-genetic o research," said Doctor Han Zeguang from the centre.

There are, altogether, over 5,000 strains of what are known as monogenetic causes already discovered, according to Dr. Han.

"The advantage of doing this kind of research in China is that it is rich in human genetic resources, due to its expansive population, families and disease samples," said Han.

Using such resources to the full, the centre recently conducted research into the genetic causes of congenital loss of teeth and deafness originating in the brain that is passed from one generation to the next as a dominant gene.

"We have already found the locus where the change of some functional genes will contribute to the congenital loss of teeth," said Han.

The centre will continue to locate the genes that are responsible for the diseases they are studying.

According to Han, there are "two prime benefits to be derived from future research and attendant discoveries."

In the first place, once located the culprit genes can be cloned and employed in medicinal cures for the disease.

Another controversial advantage would be that once a gene has been identified. Pregnant mothers can be tested and "if the fetus is found to be carrying the problem gene, the mother can decide whether or not to keep it," said Han.

As for multi-genetic diseases, the centre has taken sample genes from 79 families that have high incidence of hypertension through the generations, and also three group of people who are classified as living in isolated conditions, away from populous communities. By studying these people environmental factors can be largely disregarded and genetic causes can be focused on.

"Our research into genes started relatively late compared with the USA and Europe, so we now mainly focus on disease varieties for which the gene pool is particularly rich here in China," said Han.

In this respect, high numbers of cases of liver cancer in East China where the centre is located provide us with good opportunity for research into the disease.

"Qidong County of Jiangsu Province, for example, is an area that has very high incidence of hepatitis, which can develop into liver cancer," Han said.

The centre has made a breakthrough by establishing that the rate of gene loss at a particular locus in patients' bodies tends to be especially high. People lose genes from their bodies all the time, and from different locations on the body. But high numbers of these cancer patients seem to be losing genes at the same place on their bodies.

"The loss of those genes suggests the existence of a tumor suppressor gene which is responsible for the cause of the cancer," said Han.

Liver cancer patients should be able to benefit greatly if the centre manages to successfully clone the tumor suppressor gene at a later date.

Date: 06/24/99

Shanghai Daily
New Intensive Care Unit for Kids

A new pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) was established in the Shanghai Children's Medical Centre (SCMC) last week. The ICU, sponsored by Project Hope, SCMC and ALARIS Medical Systems (AMS), is currently being used for the intensive care of children with congenital heart diseases. At the ceremony, AMS donated nearly $1 million worth of medical equipment, including single, dual and four-channel infusion pumps, thermometers and infusion administration sets. "AMS is one of the top 10 donators for the hospital since the establishment of SCMC in June," said Dr Sheng Xiaoming, director of SCMC. "The donation will not only upgrade the hospital equipment, but also increase our diagnostic ability and treatment options," added Sheng. Infusion devices currently used nationwide will usually cause a build up of pressure inside the pump, according to experts present at the ceremony. "This can be very dangerous since any increase in pressure will increase the drug dosage automatically dispensed to a patient," they said. Usually, the dispensers are also non-volumetric devices that regulate drug dosage flow by drop count rather than by volumetric measurement. With the new volumetric infusion pumps, a consistent blood concentration level can be reached and maintained, according to experts. After the donation ceremony, Dr Richard D. Leff from Child Health Care of America gave a lecture on infusion therapy to more than 100 physicians from Shanghai and surrounding regions.

Date: 06/24/99