China’s military has made several waves recently with ambitious technological advances and planned projects.
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems for submarines are being designed for China’s navy, a senior scientist on the project told the South China Morning Post.
- The new “brain” of the sub “could support commanding officers by assessing the battlefield environment, providing insight into how levels of saline in the ocean and water temperature might affect the accuracy of sonar systems,” and a variety of other tasks, the SCMP reports.
- For more on the significance of this news, see this Twitter thread by Elsa Kania, a scholar of security issues focused on Chinese defense innovation and emerging technologies.
China has launched the world’s first ship-mounted rail gun, a type of electromagnetic weapon that “has the potential to fire shells with enough force to destroy a warship and precision to shoot down a satellite,” the SCMP separately reports.
- The revelation came as photographs surfaced last week of a warship in Wuhan, Hubei Province, with the technology mounted, “indicating the People’s Liberation Army Navy is testing the electromagnetic weapon and has been able to make it more compact.”
- China may have beat the U.S. military to the punch with this technology, because while both countries have been testing it for some time, the compact device in Wuhan “appears to be the first mounted on a ship.”
In other military news:
- A missile-defense system that can intercept a “ballistic missile while it is flying in space before re-entering the atmosphere” was successfully tested, China’s defense ministry said in a brief statement, AP reports.
- “We must work on protecting technology as much as we have on researching and developing it,” a commentary in the People’s Liberation Army’s China National Defence News said on February 5, according to the SCMP.
- U.S.-China ties
China sends top envoy to U.S. as trade war looms and North Korea risks a bloody nose / SCMP
“Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi 杨洁篪 will be in the United States on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced late on Monday.”
- Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai snatched away, again (?)
China confirms arrest of bookseller Gui Minhai / Aljazeera
Sweden FM slams China as missing bookseller row escalates / ABC
- Beijing without the low-enders (?)
Beijing’s population falls for first time in 20 years / CNN
In January, the People’s Daily reported that both Beijing and Shanghai had recorded “fewer residents for the first time in 40 years.”
- Xinjiang and beyond?
What it’s like to live in a surveillance state / NYT (paywall)
By James A. Millward, a notable scholar of Central Asia and Xinjiang. Two Sinica Podcasts with Jim: Alarm bells in the ivory tower: The Cambridge University Press censorship fiasco and It’s all connected: Silk Roads old and new.
- Another day, another different signal from the Philippines to China
Philippines’ Duterte reneges on China deal, bans foreign research ships / Channel NewsAsia
See our report yesterday on a Filipino government spokesperson who portrayed his government as “helpless in the face of China’s continued construction” on one of the disputed South China Sea reefs.
- Censorship and self-rectification
Chinese social media platforms redress to impress the Party / Sixth Tone
- Self-censorship and Beijing influence in Europe and Australia
Controversial China ‘influence’ book to be published / BBC
London’s Royal Court theatre in row over shelving of Tibet play / Guardian
Authoritarian advance: Responding to China’s growing political influence in Europe / MERICS and GPPI
Here is a translation of a response from nationalistic rag Global Times.