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China tests long-range quantum communication line

A 2,000-kilometre secure quantum communication line has passed technical inspection and is operational.

The quantum communication line is able to transmit information that is impossible to intercept, the University of Science and Technology of China announced on 1 September. Quantum communication is ultra-secure because any attempt to eavesdrop alters the information transmitted, alerting users to the presence of the eavesdropper.

The line was first launched in November 2016 and spanned 712 kilometres. It has been extended to cover 2,000 kilometres and connects the cities of Beijing, Jinan, Hefei and Shanghai, according to the state-run newspaper People’s Daily.

“The success in building the line shows that China continues to lead the world in practical application and industrialisation of quantum technology,” the newspaper stated.

The Chinese government has invested heavily in quantum technologies and has succeeded in launching both the world’s first quantum communication line and the first quantum satellite, which will be used to extend the distances over which information can be transmitted securely.

Bai Chunli, the president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, speculated in April that his country would be the first to develop a quantum computer. China is locked in a tight race with governments and private companies in Europe and the United States to achieve this feat.