Touted as China's first successful proprietary Digital Signal Processor (DSP), the Hanxin No.1, was publicly unveiled in February 2003. It is now thought to be a fake that has possibly bilked the government 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) in research subsidies.
The news shocked Chinese head Hu Jintao, who ordered a thorough investigation into the chip's legitimacy. Although authorities haven't announced the results of the investigation, they have confirmed that the DSP is a fake. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities intend to dismiss the leader of the project, Chin Jin, the chief of Microelectronics at Jiaotong University.
According to Mingpao Daily , the DSP incident enraged the central government because it undermined Beijing's claim of creating an "innovative country." Many leaders of the CCP, including Premier Wen Jiabao, personally traveled to Jiaotong University to explore the situation.
The investigation team was organized on January 28 according to a report in the 21st Century Economic Report , a subsidiary of Southern Metropolitan Daily News Group. The team, composed of experts at the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Information Industry, has confirmed that the DSP is a fake.
The researchers'claim that the DSP was designed and made at the university center and was patented, is not true. In addition, the center deceived the government when applying for scientific research funds. The team is also investigating whether the related departments and experts responsible for examining, approving, and inspecting the DSP were bribed or were guilty of other misconduct.
According to reports, because of the negative effect of this episode, authorities have listed it as a sensitive subject. Thus, the central government and State Council will get the investigation results, and then make a decision on the matter.
As of March 13, Jiaotong University had not responded to reporters' inquiries. The leader of the national "863 Project" team denied any involvement in the fiasco. He said that if the DSP is a fake, the person in charge should be held responsible. This incident will not affect the "863 Project."
Efforts to produce the DSP chip may have been part of the larger "863 Project," which was approved by Deng Xiao Ping in March 1986. The "863 Project" is an extensive nanotechnology based biological engineering program that has application to biological warfare efforts among other applications.
The Hanxin No.1 Incident
Hanxin No.1 has always been regarded as the pride of the integrated circuit (IC) industry in China. The Hanxin No.1 is a 16-bit processor important to the IC industry because it has not been previously manufactured in China. Only a few developed countries have DSP technology.
When the first Hanxin No.1 microchip was formally announced on February 26, 2003, the gathering was unprecedented. The chief of the press office of the Shanghai Municipal Government personally conducted the ceremony. The leader of the Bureau of Information Industry, the vice mayor of Shanghai City, and the people in charge of the Shanghai Science Committee and Education Committee arrived to take a look at the chip.
However, an anonymous accuser published an article on a BBS at Tsinghua University on January 17, 2006, entitled "The Inside Story of Hanxin No.1," which exposed how Chen Jin faked the chip. According to the report, in order to deceive the National Science and Technology Fund, Chen created the so-called "Hanxin Time" and "Hanxin Series." He bought ten 56800 chips from Moto/Freescale in the United States, removed the trademarks of Moto with sandpaper, marked it "Hanxin No.1" and added the logo of Hanxin to the polished surface of the chip.
After the fake DSP was made, Chen, through his many relationships, obtained fake certifications, such as "Designed in China" from Shanghai Jiaotong University, "Produced in China" from Shanghai Zhongxin International, "Certified in China" from Shanghai Weiyu Science and Technology, and "Tested in China" from Shanghai Integrated Circuit Design Research Center.
Although the Hanxin Science and Technology Company of the Shanghai Jiaotong University immediately declared that the "Inside story of Hanxin No.1" was not true, Internet users remained suspicious. In an Internet poll, 58.6% believed "Hanxin No.1" was a fake, while only 3.6% believed it was legitimate.
Internet users likened Chen Jin to Hwang Woo-suk (the leading Korean scientist who made fake reports about his stem-cell research results). After announcing that he would provide evidence to defend himself, Chen Jin disappeared. Hanxin Science and Technology has also remained silent.
In the March 6 edition of China Youth Report , Xu Guanhua, of the Ministry of Science and Technology, stated that the investigation report should be released soon.