Three very different stories this week. The first deals with comments and doubts from the USA about China’s new quantum computing technology. As in most other fields, scientific competition abounds.
China-US Quantum Technology Game: China’s “Milestone Breakthrough” is questioned
The Quantum Computer Prototype developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences was announced on December 4. It was called China’s “milestone breakthrough”. However, some experts have recently questioned its performance and network security.
The media reported that it only takes 200 seconds to solve the mathematical algorithm Gaussian Bose sampling, while the world’s fastest supercomputer so far takes 600 million years. A similar computer, “Platanus” of Google in the United States, is 10 billion times faster than its predecessor.
However, according to the Voice of America website, which has long opposed China, Professor John Martinis, a professor at the University of California, who led the “Platanus” computer research and development team, expressed doubts about this statement. He said:
Now other people are seriously thinking about this. We don’t know whether this statement is really correct. This is a typical scientific problem. You must analyze this computer very carefully to see if this conclusion is true.
Martinis also said that Google’s computers do not allow any error to occur. This is strong evidence that the complexity of the USA computers is correct. On the Chinese computers, even if there are errors, it seems that signals can still appear.
Martinis said that at present, many colleagues in the quantum computer industry are further discussing China’s Quantum computer saying that the latest demonstration of quantum superiority is still inconclusive. He said that another obvious disadvantage of this computer is that it is not a “programmable” computer.
In addition, American theoretical computer expert, Scott Aaronson pointed out that quantum computers can be used to crack the current network encryption system.
Current network security is guaranteed by encryption technology based on computational complexity, but the current system will fall short if quantum computers that can easily calculate huge amounts of data.
Peter Shor, a mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, also said that it is only a matter of time before quantum computers threaten network encryption.
Against the background of the Sino-US technology game, the experts’ statements have aroused the attention of the outside world. In the field of quantum technology, US President Donald Trump emphasized the need to accelerate the development and application of quantum technology to ensure that the leading position of quantum technology in the United States.
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, emphasized:
In today’s world, technological innovation is a key variable. In recent years, quantum technology has developed by leaps and bounds and has become the frontier of a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation. High-quality development and safeguarding national security play a very important role.
Our second story covers a common topic in many countries – the difference between regions. However, here the writer makes some interesting observations about the social conditions that lead to higher productivity and growth.
The rise of the South is unstoppable. Can northern China escape the fate of rapid decline?
All data show that northern China is declining rapidly. The top ten provinces in terms of industrial added value in 2019 are Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, Henan, Fujian, Hubei, Sichuan, Hunan and Hebei. There are only three provinces in the north. Shandong, the largest province in the north with the most developed economy, is almost overtaken by Zhejiang in the south. Shandong’s economic downturn is the best symbol of the decline of the northern economy.
When the National Bureau of Statistics of China first calculated the GDP of each province in 2019 (previously, the provinces did their own statistics), the economic decline in the north had already appeared.
Contrary to the shrinking GDP of the northern provinces, the GDP of many southern provinces has increased substantially. For example, Fujian’s GDP rose by 18% in 2019, and Zhejiang’s GDP also rose by 11%. In 2019, Anhui’s GDP growth rate exceeded 20%, and Yunnan’s growth rate was even close to 30%. In short, after the adjustment of statistical methods in 2019, the economic gap between China’s north and south has widened rapidly.
This shows that the decline of the North and Northeast is serious.
In terms of growth rate, the South overwhelmed the North. The 10 provinces with the fastest growth in industrial added value since 2010 are Tibet, Guizhou, Fujian, Hubei, Anhui, Shaanxi, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Ningxia and Jiangsu. The southern provinces are the majority, accounting for eight, and the top five provinces are all located in the south. Only Shaanxi in the north keeps up with the trend of development.
Observing China’s economic changes, it is not difficult to find that today’s China is experiencing a new round of economic shift to the south. The rise of the southern economy and the decline of the northern economy seem to be the future trend of China’s economic development. In the foreseeable future, the economic gap between China’s North and South will inevitably grow. It will be difficult for the North to reverse this trend and achieve a strong rise.
There are three main reasons. First, from the geographical conditions in the south are better than the north. The south is warmer and wetter than the north, and it is more suitable for people to produce and live. The population of southern China is much larger than that of northern China, and there are more human resources for economic creation. Coupled with the fact that southern China is closer to world markets and convenient shipping and transportation, it naturally attracts more overseas investment. The North has no advantage in these areas, and it is indeed difficult to compete with the South.
The second is that the southern ideology is more open and advanced than the northern one. This is fundamental. In the past, when analyzing the reasons for the decline of the Northeast, everyone often mentioned that there are many state-owned enterprises in the Northeast; the bureaucracy is serious; the ideas from the government to the private sector are conservative; market awareness is insufficient. In the south, the private economy is developed, the government is open and pragmatic, from the official to the private sector, open-minded, flexible, good at capturing market opportunities, and capable of innovative development.
The third is a very practical. The base of China’s technological innovation and development today is Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and the entire South. This will inevitably dominate the development pattern of China in the next few decades. With the shortage of human resources, the cities that are most able to attract the influx of foreign population are Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. These cities have many unicorn enterprises, which represent the future of China’s innovation and development. The northern cities have almost no sense of technological innovation and development.
The ideological battleground between China and the West continues to attract attention inside China. “Human rights” have become a major platform for diplomatic challenges and competition. The writer of this article shows how the issue is no longer one-sided. This can benefit the world.
When China raises the banner of “human rights”, the right to speak in the West is challenged
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, posted a personal Twitter picture on November 30, 2020 to condemn Australia’s abuses in Afghanistan. This debate has now cooled down. However, from a long-term perspective, the debate between China and the West is raging. A new wave of public opinion like this one may reappear at any time.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng stated that “under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, the diplomatic front should accurately recognize changes, respond scientifically, and actively seek changes”, and then said that “for the unscrupulous suppression and containment of anti-China hostile forces in the world, the diplomatic record cannot be swallowed. Launch a tit-for-tat struggle.”
The content of Zhao Lijian’s personal Twitter is mostly related to China’s current affairs and diplomacy. His post on November 30 was a well-prepared and targeted attack after China’s foreign policy adjustment. China has long faced a “siege” around the topic of “human rights” by Western political circles and the media. But now China has changed its passive role og the past. Zhao Lijian’s tweet is the first time that China’s diplomacy has raised the banner of “human rights” and launched a counterattack against the West.
What Zhao Lijian, Le Yucheng, and Zhang Jun said all showed a tough attitude emerging in Chinese diplomacy. They refer to the issue of foreign troops stationed in Western countries such as Australia and the United States. The killing of civilians and captives by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan is often repeated by foreign troops stationed by the United States and other countries. For example, in July 2010, WikiLeaks website disclosed that more than 90,000 confidential documents of the US military exposed the indiscriminate killing of civilians by the US military in Afghanistan. Rape, theft, and robbery by the US military in Japan, South Korea and other countries are even more common.
More precisely, they are the “human rights” issues of the people in the country where the United States and other countries have stationed foreign troops.
After China’s reform and opening up, great changes have taken place. The “human rights” situation has greatly improved, and China has become increasingly impatient to bear the accusations that Western political circles and the media never tire of.
Xi Jinping stated recently that “the Chinese people are willing to work with the people of other countries” to “promote the formation of a more just, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance” and “to build a theoretical system of human rights with Chinese characteristics and global significance. International remarks that attack or discredit our human rights situation must be utterances, refute false statements, and resolutely safeguard my core interests.”
Before the China-Australia dispute, the Chinese leadership had already called for it and formed a systematic theory of “human rights”. And Zhao Lijian’s voice on the topic of “human rights” in Australia is precisely a move that fits the direction of China’s political and diplomatic adjustment under this background.
In Western media reports on China, “human rights” is one of the most frequent words. Because only the West has the right to speak in international public opinion, it has created a collective impression of China’s “human rights” situation and a long-term concern for China’s “human rights” issues.
However, in China’s view, the Western media’s attention to the topic of “human rights” in China is somewhat hypocritical. The state of “human rights” in the West is not perfect. And the Western media, as Hua Chunying said, “turn a blind eye to human rights violations in the West, and remain silent and selectively blind.”
Judging from the results, after Zhao Lijian published the controversial cartoon, it quickly attracted the attention of Western political circles and the media, indicating that China’s voice on Western “human rights issues” has indeed achieved significant results.
Perhaps countries other than the West have long lacked the right to speak. This is an important reason why “human rights issues” in the West have not been exposed and corrected for a long time. This kind of mutual supervision between China and the West has certain positive significance for the improvement of the human rights situation of both sides.