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China Reform Monitor - No. 1286

Chinese media slams DPRK;
China testing powerful quantum computer technology

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
June 7, 2017

May 2:

The Myanmar government has rejected China's offer to mediate a diplomatic dispute with Bangladesh over the exodus of tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh during a violent crackdown in western Myanmar's Rakhine state that began last October,
Mizzima reports. The stateless Rohingya have been living in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar near the border with Myanmar while the two capitals decide which country is responsible for them. Many in Myanmar believe the Rohingya are illegal refugees from Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis."

May 3:

Over the last decade, China has invested more than $100 billion in a nationwide campaign to plant trees,
the New York Times reports. "Planting trees now will benefit our future generations, and we should roll up our sleeves to plant more trees year after year, generation after generation," President Xi Jinping said in March at a tree-planting ceremony. UN data show that between 2000 and 2010, China gained 167,568 sq. miles of forest. However, a new study based on high-resolution photographs found the country had gained only about 12,741 sq. miles of forest. "China's forests are not as green as we think," Xu Jianchu, the study's co-author and a professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany. The government should pay close attention to the areas selected for new forests, and avoid planting trees in semi-arid regions and deserts. "It's time to look at both the economic efficiency and the ecological returns," Xu said.

May 4:

Shi Kehui, director of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC) General Office, has been appointed to the Guangdong Provincial CPC Committee Standing Committee as Secretary of Guangdong Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission,
Ming Pao reports. Shi formerly served as secretary for CDIC Deputy Secretary Zhao Hongzhou, one of President Xi Jinping's aids, while in Zhejiang. Guangdong Provincial Propaganda Department head Shen Haixiong, a member of the Committee, is also considered Xi's confidant. Guangdong executive vice governor Lin Shaochun is now the only Guangdong-born committee representative. There is widespread speculation that Guangdong party secretary Hu Chunhua will be either promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee or to the State Council and be replaced by Guizhou party secretary Chen Min'er or Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui.

May 5:

China's official Global Times responded to unprecedented criticism of China by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), calling it a "hyper-aggressive" move motivated by "nationalist passion" and "irrational logic." KCNA blamed Chinese state media, think tanks, and foreign policy experts for escalating tensions after North Korean missile tests. "China should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK's patience. China had better ponder over the grave consequences entailed in its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of DPRK-China relations," it warned.

Pyongyang lashed out at directly People's Daily and the Global Times for having "raised lame -excuses for the base acts of dancing to the tune of the U.S.," a reference to China's support for tougher sanctions after the summit between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. "I've never seen such a direct attack on China by North Korea's state media and it shows relations have plunged to a historical low," said Cui Zhiying at Tongji University. The Global Times said Beijing "should also make Pyongyang aware that it will react in unprecedented fashion if Pyongyang conducts another ¬nuclear test." The Global Times has published at least 11 editorials criticizing North Korea's nuclear program since a failed ballistic missile test on April 16. While Beijing is considering a major policy shift on Pyongyang, including tougher sanctions such as an oil embargo, there remains a "big gap" between what Washington expects and what Beijing is actually willing to do regarding the DPRK, said Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University.

May 9:

Physicists in Hefei, Anhui have built a quantum device that could hold the key to breaking the digital encryption technologies that safeguard banks, governments, and militaries,
SCMP reports
. In the experiment, laser and microwave beams were fired at particles trapped inside a diamond's "nitrogen-vacancy center," a tiny space ideal for subatomic interaction. The particles came up with the solution in two microseconds, half the time it takes for lightning to strike. Speed is the key to code-cracking and quantum computers could dramatically cut the time needed to break an encryption. Existing technologies would need massive computing power and thousands of years to break the encryption that, in theory, a quantum computer could break instantaneously. The breakthrough, albeit still in its infancy, is scalable in theory if the system can ensure the precise control of particles and better synthetic diamonds. Current quantum devices must be kept in liquid helium at extremely low temperatures or heavily shielded rooms. The diamond provides protection from outside environment such as heat and electromagnetic interference. "Our device just sits out in the open in the laboratory. It works in room temperature," said the paper's first author, Professor Xu Kebiao.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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