2008-07-12 12:03:39 GMT 2008-07-12 20:03:39 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
BEIJING, July 12 (Xinhua) -- China launched its third scientific expedition to the North Pole on Friday, with a group of110 scientists and logistics staff participating in the 75-day journey on the icebreaker Snow Dragon.
The following is a brief history of the nation's Arctic expedition work:
In 1925, China signed the Svalbard Treaty which stipulates that citizens of all signatories are entitled to free access to the Svalbard Islands within the Arctic Circle.
In 1950, Gao Shiliu, a Chinese student at the University of Toronto, went to the Arctic region to do scientific research. In the following year, he reached the magnetic pole and became the first Chinese known to have made it to the Arctic region.
In 1958, Li Nan, a Xinhua correspondent, went to the Arctic to interview a group of former Soviet scientists there and was able to reach the North Pole.
In the 1980s, China organized a series of research activities in the pole, and more and more Chinese researchers entered the region.
In 1996, China joined a non-government international Arctic scientific committee proposed by the countries surrounding the Arctic, including the United States, the former Soviet Union, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Canada, Sweden and Finland.
In 1995, with non-government financial backing, the Chinese Association of Science and Technology set up an Arctic expedition team with the participation of scientists and journalists.
The 25-member team, which left for the Arctic at the end of March and reached the North Pole in May, studied oceanographic, ice, snow, atmospheric, and environmental phenomena with remote sensing devices.
In 1999, China initiated its first state-sponsored scientific expedition in the Arctic. Snow Dragon, with a 124-member team on board, went on a voyage of 14,180 nautical miles from July to September.
During the 71-day journey, Chinese scientists collected information on Arctic maritime ecology and atmospheric, geologic and fishing conditions.
In July 2003, the Chinese government launched its second scientific expedition in the Arctic.
Snow Dragon, carrying a 109-member team, reached latitude 80 north during the 74-day voyage of 12,600 nautical miles, in which scientists, with the help of an underwater robot and other high-tech equipment, probed the inter-reactions of the Arctic region and global climate and analyzed the Arctic's influences on Chinese weather.
On July 28, 2004, China's first scientific research station in the Arctic area, the Yellow River Station, was put into operation on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen.