Archive for ‘Peking University’

04/06/2019

World’s largest technical professional society bans Huawei staff from peer review of research

  • IEEE’s ban has ignited a backlash from its Chinese members, resulting in calls to boycott the organisation
Staff at Huawei Technologies have been banned by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers from taking part in the peer review of research papers, including serving as editors for journals, after the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker was added to a US trade blacklist. Photo: AP
Staff at Huawei Technologies have been banned by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers from taking part in the peer review of research papers, including serving as editors for journals, after the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker was added to a US trade blacklist. Photo: AP
The US government’s efforts to reduce the influence of Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, has extended beyond business to cover scientific research.
That development emerged as the New York-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) moved to ban Huawei employees from the peer review of research papers, including serving as editors for its journals, after the Chinese hi-tech champion was added to a US trade blacklist.
The decision by IEEE, the world’s biggest technical professional organisation, was leaked online across Chinese social media on Wednesday, igniting a backlash from some of the country’s leading scientists who described the move as “anti-science” and “violating academic freedom”.

Zhang Haixia, a professor with the Institute of Microelectronics at Peking University, announced on her WeChat account on Wednesday that she was quitting IEEE because the decision to comply with the trade blacklist went “far beyond the basic line of science and technology” and challenged her professional integrity.

US is waging a tech war against this district in Shenzhen
“As a professor, I do not accept this,” Zhang wrote online in a public letter addressed to IEEE president-elect Toshio Fukuda.
Her resignation letter was viewed more than 40,000 times since it was posted online. The most popular comments on its thread included calls for Chinese scientists to boycott IEEE.

In a statement on May 30, the IEEE said it must comply with its legal obligations under the laws of the US and other jurisdictions and that compliance with regulations “protects the IEEE, our volunteers, and our members”.

It said Huawei employees are only barred from the peer reviewing process and that they can continue to participate in individual membership, corporate membership, enjoy voting rights and take part in a variety of other activities, including the submission of technical papers for publication.

Huawei said it had no comment about the peer review ban.

The issue between Huawei and IEEE has come amid a raging tech war between the world’s two biggest economies, which recently escalated when the US government placed Huawei and its affiliates under the US Entity List on May 16. That bars the Chinese group from buying hardware, software and services from American hi-tech suppliers without US approval.

A succession of major American technology companies, from Google and Microsoft to Intel and Qualcomm, have suspended their dealings with Huawei to comply with the US trade ban.

Growing disquiet in China as US steps up war on tech champions

US President Donald Trump has also signed an executive order barring US companies from using telecoms equipment made by companies that pose a threat to national security.

The trade blacklist, which is maintained by the Bureau of Industry and Security under the US Department of Commerce, identifies organisations and individuals believed to be involved, or pose a significant risk of becoming involved, in activities contrary to America’s national security or foreign policy interests.

A non-profit organisation founded in January 1963, IEEE had more than 422,000 members in more than 160 countries as of December 31 last year. More than 50 per cent of its members, who are rooted in electrical and computer sciences, engineering and related disciplines, are from outside the US.

Technology is true target of US attack on China, says diplomat

It also publishes around 200 transactions, journals and magazines, and sponsors more than 1,900 conferences in 103 countries.

There is no official data on how many IEEE members are based in mainland China. Public information online, however, showed that at least 80 Huawei employees are members of the organisation.

China’s biggest chip maker to delist from NYSE as US targets tech

In a statement released on May 16, IEEE said that as a corporation organised in New York, it must comply with its legal obligation under US laws. It said the US government’s export restriction covers not only physical goods and software but also technical information.

In the leaked IEEE email, the organisation warned its members of “severe legal implications” if they continue to use Huawei staff as reviewers or editors for the peer review process of its journals.

“IEEE is registered in the US, but we should suggest experts at all levels of IEEE to move its headquarters to places such as Switzerland,” said Zhou Zhihua, a leading computer science professor at Nanjing University and an IEEE fellow, in a post on microblogging site Sina Weibo. “More importantly, let’s show more support to China-produced English-language journals.”

Source: SCMP

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26/05/2019

China Focus: Rare all-white panda spotted in China

CHINA-SICHUAN-ALL-WHITE PANDA (CN)

Infrared camera image taken on April 20, 2019 shows an all-white giant panda in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. A rare all-white panda has been captured on cameras in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the reserve management authorities said on Saturday. (Xinhua)

CHENGDU, May 25 (Xinhua) — A rare all-white panda has been captured on camera in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the reserve management authorities said on Saturday.

The panda was captured in mid-April by an infrared camera about 2,000 meters above sea level in the wild, the authorities said.

The panda has no spots on its body and its eyes look red. It was crossing the forest at the time.

“Judging from pictures, the panda is an albino, one to two years old,” said Li Sheng, a researcher with Peking University and a specialist in bears, who studied the pictures.

The panda is a rare all-white individual in wild pandas, which showed that the albinism genes exist in the wild population of giant pandas in Wolong, he said.

“The panda looked strong and its steps were steady, a sign that the genetic mutation may not have quite impeded its life,” Li said, adding that the gender of the panda cannot be decided based on current data.

Albinism exists in different vertebrate species. The albino mutation inhibits melanin synthesis in animal’s body. Albino usually does not affect animal’s physical makeup and functions. It could make them easier to be discovered and more sensitive to direct sunlight, Li said.

The albino mutation is a recessive gene. Only when the parent pandas both carry such gene, can the baby show the albino traits.

If this white panda would mate with a normal panda, their first generation babies will still be black and white. But their babies, carrying the albino gene, will possibly give birth to all-white pandas if their partners also carry such genes, Li said.

In order to better protect the ecosystems, the Wolong nature reserve has been using infrared cameras to monitor the distribution and activities of wild animals in its seven demonstration areas.

Previously, some rare brown giant pandas were found in China’s Qinling Mountains. The cause of the brown fur color was also considered as genetic mutation by some researchers.

Source: Xinhua

07/03/2019

China ‘exaggerated’ GDP data by 2 percentage points for at least nine years, new study says

  • Mainland has overestimated its nominal and real growth rates by about 2 full percentage points on average between 2008 to 2016
  • Calculations suggest that the current nominal size of the economy is about 18 per cent lower than the official level of US$13.4 trillion at the end of 2018

13 Feb 2019

The paper, “A Forensic Examination of China’s National Account”, was submitted to the “Brookings Papers on Economic Activity”, a journal published by the US-based Brookings Institute. Photo: EPA
The paper, “A Forensic Examination of China’s National Account”, was submitted to the “Brookings Papers on Economic Activity”, a journal published by the US-based Brookings Institute. Photo: EPA
China has overestimated its nominal and real growth rates by about 2 full percentage points on average between 2008 to 2016, with the miscalculation increasing each year, according to a new study published on Thursday.
The results indicate that the actual size of China’s economy at the end of 2018 was well below the government’s official estimate.
It also raises questions not only about the quality of economic data from the world’s second largest economy, but also the willingness of the government to take the steps necessary to accurately report information.
Using the study’s findings and applying them to government figures starting with the level of nominal gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2007 and the growth rate for 2008, calculations by the South China Morning Post show that the current nominal size of the Chinese economy is about 18 per cent lower than the official level of 90 trillion yuan (US$13.4 trillion) at the end of 2018.
The calculation assumes that the government’s official 2017 and 2018 nominal growth rates are overestimated by 2 percentage points, as suggested by the study.

Overestimates of growth in 2007 and previous years would further reduce the current size of the Chinese economy.

SCMP calculations show the adjusted nominal GDP level in China is about US$11.5 trillion using current exchange rates, still more than twice the size of Japan’s economy at US$5.16 trillion, but well below the economy of the United States at US$20 trillion.

The paper, “A Forensic Examination of China’s National Account”, was submitted to the “Brookings Papers on Economic Activity”, a journal published by the US-based think tank Brookings Institute twice a year on macroeconomic issues that are influencing the public policy debate. It will be formally presented in Washington on Thursday.
“Our estimates suggest that the extent by which local governments exaggerate local GDP accelerated after 2008, but the magnitude of the adjustment by the NBS did not change in tandem,” the authors said.

The study focuses primarily on nominal, non-inflation adjusted growth.

The paper comes at a sensitive time for Chinese policymakers, who are battling a slowing economy due to their campaign to reduce debt and risky lending as well as the effect of the trade war with the United States. The inflation-adjusted growth rate of 6.6 per cent last year was the slowest since 1990.

On Tuesday, the government announced that it had lowered its growth target for 2019 to a range of 6 to 6.5 per cent, down from “about 6.5 per cent” last year due to the multiple headwinds the economy is facing. The government also announced new tax cuts and additional government spending to help stabilise growth.
The paper’s four authors – Chen Wei, Chen Xilu and Michael Song from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Chang-Tai Hsieh from the University of Chicago – used a mix of economic indicators that are less likely to have been manipulated by authorities to prove that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have not done enough to correct the errors in the data collected from provincial governments over the past decade.

Our estimates suggest that the extent by which local governments exaggerate local GDP accelerated after 2008, but the magnitude of the adjustment by the NBS did not change in tandem.Report authors

It has long been believed that local Chinese officials inflate figures reflecting their economic performance, which is closely tied to their opportunity for promotion. Since 2003, the NBS has produced a national gross domestic product (GDP) figure that is lower than aggregate provincial data after examining other data such as the census and land sales.

Local statistics bureaus generally overstate industrial output as a portion of overall production as well as the size of investment within overall expenditures, the two different approaches to calculating GDP, according to the paper. The methods of data collection are often the cause, for example, calculations of investment spending have been based purely on government reports on specific projects rather than on the financial statements of the investing firms involved.

One method that the authors used to probe the accuracy of the NBS’s adjustments was comparing the growth of official GDP with the growth of revenue from value-added tax (VAT), which taxes the value added to a product at each stage of production.

Local governments have fewer incentives to manipulate VAT revenue, since a large portion of it is eventually transferred to the central government, therefore overstating VAT would only increase fiscal revenue losses.

Premier Li Keqiang confirmed China had lowered its growth target for 2019 to a range of 6 to 6.5 per cent at the National People’s Congress on Tuesday. Photo:
Premier Li Keqiang confirmed China had lowered its growth target for 2019 to a range of 6 to 6.5 per cent at the National People’s Congress on Tuesday. Photo:

Although the NBS adjusts downwards local statistics, it does not report the adjusted local statistics, perhaps out of a desire to not confront powerful local leaders.Report authors

“Although the NBS adjusts downwards local statistics, it does not report the adjusted local statistics, perhaps out of a desire to not confront powerful local leaders,” the authors said.

Since September, the NBS has named and shamed local governments on its website for manipulating data, but it remains to be seen if local governments fall in line.

In a post in January, the NBS said it had passed 14 cases of data falsification on to local governments before February 2018 but that it had not been updated even though local officials are required by law to punish those responsible for manipulating data within six months after receiving a notice of a violation.

The NBS’s ability to fix China’s GDP data problem is bound by its limited political power, the authors indicated.

“There are three problems with China’s GDP. One is that it doesn’t necessarily measure the right thing. Two is statistical bias in the way data is collected. Three is really a macro policy problem by the government which should write down all the bad debt,” said Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University.

“The NBS is only trying to fix the second problem.”

Source: SCMP

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