US concerned with China-Europe advanced quantum research

A major concern raised about technology may be about as much its limiting governments’ ability to spy as enabling it.

The frontline of today’s world war is on technology even more than trade. The United States-China trade war is not about trade but about the US making every move to remain the greatest, and only, power in the world in all key areas… in trade, finance, law, media, academia, currency, etc. When Japan rose to be a possible No. 1 in the world economy and technology, the US Plaza Accord forced Japan to revalue its currency to more than double, and to share its prime technologies openly with the US, which led to an economic stagnation that has lasted more than 30 years. Today, we describe one of the areas for the US being concerned with China’s developing prowess for technology, in quantum physics, and why it matters to the superpowers.

Subatomic particles have velocity, momentum, interact with each other and other
materials, and emit electrical impulses and light. They can move so fast they defy some aspects of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, including that nothing can exceed the speed of light. Hence, subatomic particles like photons could be made to get entangled so that the traits of one are spontaneously reflected on the other. By implication, whatever information one subatomic particle bears is spontaneously transmitted to the other.

In 2016, physicists led by Professor Pan Jianwei at the University of Science and Technology in Shanghai succeeded to demonstrate that quantum particles can move faster than light, and transmit traits and whatever information they bear to its paired particle simultaneously.

This is one of the most spectacular breakthroughs in quantum physics: the successful completion of Quantum Experiment in Space Scale (Quess) carried out by a team of 34 physicists headed by the professor at the Shanghai university. They launched the satellite named “Micius” into space with Long March rocket booster Li 2D in August 2016. Micius transmitted data simultaneously from sender to receiver at lightning speed that cannot be intercepted or “read” by a third party. Any attempt to intercept or eavesdrop is quickly detected and halted. Transmission of data, information and codes overtakes the speed of light (299,792,458 meters per second) so that what is sent and received occur simultaneously.

This phenomenon was called by Albert Einstein as “spooky action at a distance” when it was first proposed in 1935.

Satellite Micius orbits 500 kilometers above the earth, is sun-synchronous and its command station communicates to three ground stations from Beijing to Shiquanhe Observatory in Ali, Tibet, to Xinglong Observatory in Urumqi in Xinjiang (2,500 kilometers) and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, Austria, 7,500 kilometers away. The three CAT-2 science satellite of the Polytechnique University of Catalonia, Spain, monitors transmission in Europe.

Clearly, Quess is not an exclusive scientific undertaking of China. It is an international and cooperative endeavor as emphasized by Professor Pan during an interview with Xinhua News ( accessed Aug. 18, 2016). It is designed to facilitate quantum optics experimentation over long distances and allow the development of a network of quantum encryption and quantum teleportation. (Wikipedia “Quantum Experiment at Space Scale,” accessed Feb. 12, 2019)   Quess has profound implications on information technology, cryptography, encryption, weather predictions, simulations and will have repercussions on all databases of governments, business corporations,  banks, weapons systems and in almost all aspects of our daily lives.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of the achievement of the professor’s team awarded them the Newcomb Cleveland Prize on Feb. 14, 2019 in Washington, D.C. For some reason, however, Professor Pan could not obtain a US visa and was unable to attend the awarding ceremony. (Edward Wong “China Launches Quantum Satellite on bid to Pioneer Secure Communication,” New York Times, Aug. 16, 2016.)

The leading German corporation on optics and optoelectronics, Zeiss Corp., in recognition of Pan Jianwei’s achievement granted him the Zeiss Research Award on April 26, 2020 for proving that it is possible to transmit information faster than the speed of light, contrary to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity that stated nothing can exceed the speed of light… (Physicists Have Found a New Method For Generating Quantum Entangled Photons)

Why is there readiness by Austria and Spain to collaborate with China in spite of the fact that the US discourages collaboration with China and imposes embargo on the export of advanced high-technology to China? Could it have something to do with the 2013 revelations of Edward Snowden? Snowden was formerly employed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to help organize and manage its cache of data and information and facilitate smooth flow of communication among its telecommunication network. He was appalled by the extent the US government (together with telecommunication corporations and some governments) can access (spy) into the communication equipment and devices of every single US citizen. For these and other disclosures that have proven true, the US is trying to arrest him from around the world, as they did Wikileaks’ Assange for disclosing atrocities and secrets of the US, but also of other countries, physically abducting the latter from the UK and holding him in isolated detention with very little news.

The US government monitors and records whatever data and information are stored in PCs, cell phones, iPads, telephone lines of private individuals. This is a clear systematic violation  of freedom of speech and individual privacy guaranteed by the US Constitution, and preached to the world by the US government, even a reason used by it for invasions and subversions of nations. Moreover, the US listens to the telecommunication devices not only of its “enemies” but also of its allies like the prime ministers of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, etc. Assange’s revelations also exposed US military plans directed against China, Russia and many other countries, most not even being rivals of or threats to the US. Austria and Spain decided to defy US sanctions and work with China. They have developed telecommunications networks that can elude US interception.

The defiance is just one of many areas that the US is unhappy about. The US’ concern about the rising technical prowess of China converting into greater economic clout and leadership is actually an evolution of an historical process, where existing powers try to stop rising one, sometimes leading to war… The US raising speculations that China might use technology to spy is an objective technical possibility,  however, unproven to be anywhere on the scale or intervention of the US, documented to be already spying, even intervening everywhere in the world. Some have raised the perspective that the main concern of the US in a major way is that new technologies are likely to limit the ways in which it can spy.  These concerns are real on every political side of the world, among the powers among nations in every century. The Philippines should, like smaller nations throughout history, play its positions intelligently and continue to study the past and future trends, acquire more capabilities for its own people.  The competition is not just one of technology or economy, but also one of a national population’s discipline and creativity.

Professor Aurora Roxas-Lim is a faculty member of the Ateneo de Manila University and the Kalayaan College and author of Southeast Asian Art and Culture: Ideas, Forms and Societies, among other works on globalization, world history and Asian society. She was the former dean of the Asian Center, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

New Worlds by IDSI (Integrated Development Studies Institute) aims to present frameworks based on a balance of economic theory, historical realities, ground success in real business and communities and attempt for common good, culture and spirituality. We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks.

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