News ChinaAsia – Pacific Protecting journalistsOnline freedomsProtecting sources Freedom of expressionInternet December 9, 2017 RSF opposes spread of China’s Internet surveillance model The concept was reaffirmed again this week at China’s annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, whose participants included Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pinchai.China is “willing to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships,” President Xi Jinping said in a message to the conference.What Beijing wants is for the world’s governments to follow its example and impose a strictly controlled and monitored Internet in their own countries. RSF calls for no concessions to China’s repeated demands for a clampdown on cyberspace, a space intended to be free and borderless.“Using sovereignty as a pretext, China is trying to legitimize the online control and surveillance of its citizens although, until now, the Internet was a way of escaping censorship,” said Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia desk. “If a majority of states adopted this vision of the Internet, it would mean the end of the free flow of information worldwide.”Held annually for the past four years in Wuzhen, the World Internet Conference was dreamed up by the Chinese government with the aim of exporting its censorship model and, at the same time, reminding the world’s Internet giants that it is the Communist Party and not the market that determines how things are done in China.Although the bosses of Apple and Google took the trouble to go all the way to Wuzhen, President Xi signalled who is boss in China by not attending himself and having his message read out by party propaganda chief Huang Kunming.Repressive and protectionist modelChina has 751 million Internet users – more than any other country and a fifth of the world’s total Internet user population. According to a report published to coincide with the conference, the digital sector now constitutes a third of the Chinese economy, the highest proportion in the world after the United States.Thanks to a protectionist and strictly regulated model, China has spawned firms such as Baidu, Tecent, Alibaba and smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi that are extremely powerful in the domestic market.Although banned in China, Google and Facebook are actively wooing the regime in the hope of one day being granted access to its fabulous internal market. Apple recently caused an international outcry by ridding its Chinese store of secure communications apps that journalists need to protect their sources and by withdrawing VPNs, which can be used to circumvent the “Great Firewall.”RSF condemned these concessions to the Chinese government, as did David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion.Ever since becoming president, Xi Jinping has proved to be a determined enemy of freedom of information, fine-tuning a sophisticated Internet surveillance system that employs more than 2 million people.The world’s biggest prison for journalists and civil rights activists, China is ranked almost at the bottom, 176th out of 180 countries, in the RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the international community and the world’s Internet giants to resist China’s use of the concept of national “cyberspace sovereignty” as a pretext for exporting its Internet surveillance model. Help by sharing this information Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes ChinaAsia – Pacific Protecting journalistsOnline freedomsProtecting sources Freedom of expressionInternet April 27, 2021 Find out more News Follow the news on China Organisation March 12, 2021 Find out more China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Receive email alerts RSF_en News China’s Cyber Censorship Figures News to go further June 2, 2021 Find out more PHOTO AFP
Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have used vascular precursor cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate, in an animal model, functional blood vessels that lasted as long as nine months.In their report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition , the investigators describe using iPSCs — reprogrammed adult cells that have many of the characteristics of embryonic stem cells — both from healthy adults and from individuals with type 1 diabetes to generate blood vessels on the outer surface of the brain or under the skin of mice.“The discovery of ways to bring mature cells back to a ‘stemlike’ state that can differentiate into many different types of tissue has brought enormous potential to the field of cell-based regenerative medicine, but the challenge of deriving functional cells from these iPSCs still remains,” says Rakesh Jain, Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology) at Harvard Medical School (HMS), director of the Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology at MGH, and co-senior author of the study. “Our team has developed an efficient method to generate vascular precursor cells from human iPSCs and used them to create networks of engineered blood vessels in living mice.”The ability to regenerate or repair blood vessels could make a crucial difference in the treatment of cardiovascular disease — which continues to be the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. — and other conditions resulting from blood vessel damage, such as the vascular complications of diabetes. In addition, providing a vascular supply to newly generated tissue remains one of the greatest barriers facing efforts to build solid organs through tissue engineering.Several previous studies have generated from iPSCs the types of cells required to build blood vessels — endothelial cells that line vessels and connective tissue cells that provide structural support — but those cells could not form long-lasting vessels once introduced into animal models. “The biggest challenge we faced during the early phase of this project was establishing a reliable protocol to generate endothelial cell lines that produced great quantities of precursor cells that could generate strong, durable blood vessels,” says co-senior author Dai Fukumura, also of the Steele Laboratory and an associate professor of radiation oncology at HMS.The MGH team adapted a method originally used to derive endothelial cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). That method uses a single protein marker to identify vascular progenitors; in this study, the researchers sorted out iPSC-derived cells that expressed not only that protein but also two other protein markers of vascular potential. They then expanded that population using a culture system that team members had previously developed to differentiate endothelial cells from hESCs, and they confirmed that only iPSC-derived cells expressing all three markers generated endothelial cells with the full potential of forming blood vessels.To test the capacity of those cells to generate functional blood vessels, they implanted onto the surface of the brains of mice a combination of the iPSC-derived endothelial precursor cells expressing the three markers and the mesenchymal precursors that generate essential structural cells. Within two weeks, the implanted cells had formed networks of blood-perfused vessels that appeared to function as well as adjacent natural vessels and continued to function for as long as 280 days in the living animals. Implantation of the combined precursor populations under the skin of mice also resulted in functional blood vessels but required implantation of five times more cells, and the vessels were short-lived, an observation consistent with the team’s previous studies of vessel generation in these two locations.Because patients with type 1diabetes (T1D), which can damage blood vessels, could benefit from the ability to make new blood vessels, the researchers wanted to determine whether iPSCs derived from the cells of T1D patients could help generate functional blood vessels. As with cells from healthy individuals, precursors derived from T1D-iPSCs were able to generate functional, long-lasting blood vessels. However, the researchers note, different lines of the T1D-iPSCs — including different lines derived from the same patient — showed differences in cell-generating potential, indicating the need to better understand the underlying mechanisms.“The potential applications of iPSC-generated blood vessels are broad — from repairing damaged vessels supplying the heart or brain to preventing the need to amputate limbs because of the vascular complication of diabetes,” says co-lead author Rekha Samuel, formerly of the Steele Laboratory and now at Christian Medical College, in Vellore, India. “But first we need to deal with such challenges as the variability of iPSC lines and the long-term safety issues involved in the use of these cells, which are being addressed by researchers around the world. We also need better ways of engineering the specific type of endothelial cell needed for specific organs and functions.”Additional co-lead authors of the PNAS Early Edition report are Shan Liao and Trupti Vaedam, of the Steele Laboratory; and Laurence Daheron of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). Additional co-authors are Walid S. Kamoun, Ana Batista, Xiaoxing Han, Patrick Au, and Dan Duda, all of the Steele Laboratory; Christa Buecker and Richard Schäfer, of HSCI; and HMS Gerald and Darlene Jordan Professor of Medicine David Scadden of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine. Support for the study includes grants from the National Institutes of Health and HSCI.