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China aims for broad tech progress

China Daily | Updated: 2016-08-09 07:26

China is pursuing multidimensional advantages by developing technologies for deep space, the deep ocean, deep earth and the deep-blue cyber sector.

That's according to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) for science, technology and innovation, which was released on Monday by the State Council, China's Cabinet.

Looking ahead to 2030, the plan includes space station services, deep-ocean installations and Mars exploration.

More specific proposals are focused on the exploration of the moon in 2018 and Mars in 2020, as well as new technologies to probe deep-ocean minerals and observe Earth's polar regions. The plan aims to sustainably develop ocean resources and maintain ecological balance, as well as improve predictions on both natural trends and disasters.

"The plan illustrates the strategic aims of the nation," said Xu Jing, director of the Department of Innovation and Development at the Ministry of Science and Technology. "It addresses cutting-edge leading trends."

Xue Lan, dean of School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University, has high hopes for China's role in the age of innovation.

"We have improved much in terms of national science capability in recent years," Xue said. "This is the first time China has been presented with a chance to lead an industrial revolution, and we have to grasp that chance."

He said citations of published work by Chinese researchers-a criterion reflecting quality rather than simply quantity-have increased in recent years. According to the master plan, China would rise to second place worldwide by 2020, from a projected fourth in 2015.

Other projects concentrate on fields that are less visible by the public, such as quantum communication and brain science.

"Sometimes the lesser-known ones make great differences too," Xu said.

He said that the nation's ability to study and combat infectious diseases had risen following an emphasis on the field in the previous master plan. China has developed vaccines for swine flu, for example, as well as quick diagnostic approaches to curb Ebola soon after an outbreak.

The blueprint also promotes applied science as it focuses more on the national economy, he said.

"Some of the breakthroughs are not in the technology, but in the commercial patterns that come with it," Xue said.

Liang Shuang contributed to this story.

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