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Innovation in China


A report from Science and Technology Daily:

“At present, our country is prosperous, the people’s lives are improving and the social economy is developing. The demand for scientific and technological innovation has never been so strong, and the understanding of scientific and technological innovation has never been so consistent from the CPC Central Committee to the general public, from scientists to engineers and technicians to ordinary citizens,” Wu Weiren, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering said with an emotion that could not be concealed during a scientific meeting.

The meeting was held on May 28, 2021, conflating the general assemblies of the members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the national congress of the China Association for Science and Technology at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addressed the meeting.

President Xi emphasized to fully promote the building of a sci-tech strengthening China with a high level of self-reliance and self-strengthening in science and technology, which needs to strengthen the tackling of original and pioneering sci-tech problems and resolutely win the tough battles in core technologies in key fields. President Xi also pointed out that the innovative potential of various talents should be stimulated in order to build a global center of talent. He suggested that a sci-tech powerhouse must attract, retain, and make good use of high-end talents worldwide. In order to achieve higher levels of self-reliance and strength in science and technology, high-level innovative talents are needed to provide support.

Seeking breakthroughs in original innovation

Strengthening original innovation based on their own fields to achieve sci-tech self-reliance and self-strengthening is the heartfelt wish of academicians and experts.

“President Xi Jinping has said many times that key technologies cannot be bought, nor can they be exchanged with the market. Other countries suppress China when we were not able to develop the key technologies. However, they will contain the development of these technologies that China possesses. That has never changed,” said Lu Xicheng, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Qiao Jie, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and President of Peking University Third Hospital, said President Xi’s speech was quite inspiring and instructive.

“Being a powerful tool to contain COVID-19, science and technology play a crucial role in every stage of the fight against the pandemic, such as the treatment of critical diseases, vaccine development, drug research, stem cell exploration and so on,” Qiao added.

Li Jiabiao, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering,  stressed that President Xi Jinping once again profoundly highlighted the core position of basic scientific research in the whole innovation chain. The core of so-called original innovation is to conduct the source innovation.

“The C919 model is currently undergoing flight tests across the country. In the short term, we still have to rely on imports regarding large aircraft and some of the key equipment. We will bring President Xi Jinping’s instruction home to motivate continued efforts to overcome difficulties. More importantly, we will build an self-dependent and controllable industrial and supply chain in order to win the battle of key and core technologies, and achieve the goal that China’s large passenger aircraft soar in the sky,” said Wu Guanghui, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief designer of C919.

Wu also pointed out that science has no borders. However, scientists should have the motherland in their minds and seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.

Self-dependent innovation and the cultivation of innovative talents

“The cultivation of talents is closely related to the achievement of sci-tech self-reliance and self-strengthening at higher levels. Sci-tech innovation ultimately relies on talents, thus we must cultivate talents on our own if we were to achieve a high-level self-reliance and self-strengthening in science and technology.” said Wang Chi, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Director of National Space Science Center, CAS.

He pointed out that the Chinese education system focuses on the input of knowledge whereas the American education system emphasizes on the cultivation of capabilities. Therefore, he noted that “we need to accelerate the pace of reform to the education system if we were to cultivate innovative sci-tech talents for real”. However, he also suggested that ” the ‘self-dependent’ cultivation of talents should not be done behind closed doors but with a global perspective as high-level talents are international for sure”.

You Zheng, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Vice President of Tsinghua University, shared his memories of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tsinghua University on April 19. “He praised China’s higher education and pointed out that we need to have confidence in our education system and we can cultivate grandmaster-level talents,” said You, “as the first resource, education and talents are complementary to science and technology, the first drive of development.”

May 30 is the fifth National Science and Technology Workers’ Day. President Xi greeted science and technology workers all over China on the meeting. He hoped that the academicians could be models for all other workers in terms of keeping the nation in heart while serving the people, pursuing the truth in spite of difficulties, sticking to academic ethics and regulations and promoting others, especially juniors willingly.

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Economist at Knightsbridge holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Crypto, Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.