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Xi honors outstanding scientists

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-11 02:19
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President Xi Jinping presents awards to Huang Xuhua (right), the chief designer of China's first-generation nuclear submarines, and Zeng Qingcun, a notable meteorologist, during the National Science and Technology Award Conference in Beijing on Friday.

Nuclear submarine pioneer, leading meteorologist receive top science award

President Xi Jinping presented China's top science award on Friday to Huang Xuhua, the chief designer of China's first-generation nuclear submarines, and Zeng Qingcun, a famous meteorologist.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, granted award medals and certificates to them at an annual ceremony held in Beijing to honor distinguished scientists, engineers and research achievements.

After receiving the medals and certificates, to show respects, the two scientists were invited to accompany the Party and State leaders on the rostrum.

Huang, 94, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the award was not for himself as an individual but for those who have been dedicated to researching China's nuclear submarines and who have contributed to progress in national defense.

"My colleagues and I have devoted our lives to the country. We have not wasted our lives, and we have no regrets over that," he said in a speech at the ceremony.

For over three decades, Huang's work designing China's first-generation nuclear submarine remained top secret. In December 1970, China launched Long March I, becoming the fifth nation to have a nuclear submarine.

In 1988, Huang took the vessel to its maximum depth to test it, a task so dangerous that many crew members wrote farewell letters to their families to be delivered in the event of their death.

Huang was also one of the eight recipients of the Medal of the Republic last year for his outstanding contributions to the nation. Other exemplary individuals who received the medal included agriculturalist Yuan Longping and Nobel laureate Tu Youyou.

Zeng, 85, is a renowned atmospheric physicist who helped modernize the world's weather forecast systems and meteorological satellite remote sensing technologies. He is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In 2016, Zeng won the International Meteorological Organization Prize for his contributions to satellite meteorological remote-sensing theory, numerical weather prediction theory, meteorological disaster prevention and the earth system model.

Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech at the ceremony during which he congratulated the scientists on their awards, greeted those who devoted themselves to the country's scientific research and expressed gratitude toward foreign experts who supported China's scientific work.

Noting that China will achieve its first centenary goal to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year, Li said that the whole country should be guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and further implement the strategy of innovation-driven development.

Li pledged to take such measures as increasing fiscal support, encouraging enterprises' investment and improving the research fund coverage system to bring more rewards to those who stay focused on research for decades.

Li required the relevant departments to implement tax reduction policies for scientific companies, respect and protect intellectual property rights and increase the companies' will and capability to innovate.

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