Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Science and China's Modernization (By Wen Jiabao)

    The history of modernization is in essence a history of scientific and technical progress. Scientific discovery and technological inventions have brought about new civilizations, modern industries, and the rise and fall of nations. China is now engaged in a modernization drive unprecedented in the history of humankind.

    Over the past half century, China has made great achievements in basic science and technological innovation. It now ranks among the top nations in the annual number of papers published internationally and patent applications filed. China has also made achievements in such areas as manned spaceflight, high-performance computers, super-large-scale integrated circuits, and third-generation telecommunications technology. High-tech industry has experienced rapid growth, accounting for over 15 percent of the manufacturing industry.

    Francis Bacon, the 16th-century English philosopher, referred to science as a means to improve mankind's lot. Today, the hybrid rice variety developed by Chinese scientists has been adopted for planting in over 3 million hectares and has become a "golden key" to meeting China's own food needs and boosting world cereal production. Scientific and technological development in the realm of health has also increased average life expectancy in China to that of developed countries.

    To encourage further innovation, the Chinese government has formulated a Mid- to Long-Term Plan for Development of Science and Technology (2006-2020), which highlights research in the basic sciences and frontier technologies, with priority given to energy, water resources, and environmental protection. We strive to develop independent intellectual property rights in areas of information technology and new materials, while strengthening the application of biotechnology to agriculture, industry, population and health.     

    The future of China's science and technology depends fundamentally on how we attract, train, and use young scientific talents today. Thus, at the core of our science and technology policy is attracting a diverse range of talents, especially young people, into science and providing them with an environment that brings out the best of their creative ideas.

    In the field of science and technology, we will intensify institutional reform, restructure scientific research, rationally allocate public resources, and enhance innovation capability. We advocate free academic debate under a lively academic atmosphere, where curiosity-driven exploration is encouraged and failure tolerated.

    Science has no boundaries. China's endeavors in science and technology need to be more integrated with those of the world, and the world needs a China that is vibrant and able to deliver more in science and technology. Just as collisions generate sparks, exchange and communication enrich imagination and creativity. Many Chinese scientists have stepped into the international academic arena, where they and their foreign colleagues learn from each other and jointly contribute to the worldwide development of science and technology.

    To encourage the learning and application of science among the general public, we need to embrace a scientific culture by promoting scientific rationality while cherishing Chinese cultural heritage. Enlightened by science, the rich and profound Chinese culture is bound to shine more gloriously.

    I firmly believe that science is the ultimate revolution. At a time when the current global financial turmoil is dealing a heavy blow to the world economy, it has become all the more important to rely on scientific and technological progress to promote growth in the real economy.

    Economic and social development must rely on science and technology, and science and technology must serve economic and social development. We will rely on science and technology to promote economic restructuring, transform development patterns, safeguard food and energy security, and address global climate change. We are confident that China will reap a rich harvest in science and technology and that this will have positive and far-reaching effects on human civilization and the well-being of humankind.





    在过去的半个世纪里,中国在基础研究和技术创新方面取得了伟大的成就。现在,中国在国际 上的论文发表和专利申请数量已经名列世界前茅。中国在载人航天、高性能计算机、大规模集成电路以及第三代通讯技术等领域也取得了很大的成就。占制造业 15%强的高新技术产业正在蓬勃发展。

    16世纪的英国哲学家弗朗西斯?培根将科学誉为改善人类命运的手段。今天,300多万公 顷的农田种上了中国科学家研制的杂交水稻,杂交水稻已经成为满足中国本国粮食需求和促进世界谷物产量的"金钥匙"。科学与技术在医药健康领域的发展也将中 国的人均寿命提高到了发达国家的水平。

    为了进一步促进创新,中国政府制定了《国家中长期科学和技术发展规划纲要(2006— 2020年)》,强调基础科学领域和前沿技术的研究,特别是在能源、水资源以及环境保护等方面。我们努力在信息技术以及新材料等领域发展自主知识产权,并 强调将生物技术应用于农业、工业、人口和健康。





    我坚信,科学是最高意义上的革命。当今世界经济正面临全球金融危机的巨大冲击,依靠科技 进步促进现实经济发展就显得尤其重要。经济与社会的发展必须依赖于科技,而科技也必须服务于经济与社会发展。我们将依靠科技进步促进经济结构调整,改革发 展模式,确保食品与能源安全,并应对全球气候变化问题。我们坚信,中国将在科技领域取得丰硕的成果,这将对全人类的文明和福祉产生积极而深远的影响。

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