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China concentrates on sci-tech innovation

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-18 17:15


In the 13th Five-Year Plan, the evolution of the universe was given pride of place on the scientific research list. It was followed by material structure, the origins of life, and neurology.

"Fundamental questions, like this, have the power to influence solutions to some of the most prominent problems faced by society and the world at large," said Han Song, a Chinese sci-fi writer.

With economic pressures forecast to continue, China is committed to fostering new development momentum through innovation.

China has been striving to upgrade its industrial structure and shift its economy to a growth model that draws strength from innovation as its competitive advantages in low labor and raw material costs are eroded.

Zhang Xinmin, a researcher with the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said China is starting to value basic science.

Zhang, who studies primordial gravitational waves in Ngari, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, said research is the origin of innovation. Without it, innovation on a large scale is unachievable.

Studying the evolution of the universe seems unrelated to more pressing issues, such as lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty by 2020.

However, Hugo Award-winning author Liu Cixin said many advances rely on science and technology.

Wu Ji, director of the CAS National Space Science Center, said that since China's first satellite was launched into space nearly 50 years ago, a number of communications, remote sensing and navigation satellites have followed.

"If China wants to be a strong global nation, it should not only care about immediate interests, but also contribute to humankind. Only that can win China the real international respect," Wu said.

China will produce another five or six scientific satellites by 2020, which will aid research into black holes, dark matter, quantum physics and the space environment.

"If you want to innovate, you must have knowledge of the sciences. Space science is inseparable from China's innovation-driven development," said Wu.

A Chinese probe is expected to land on Mars in 2021.

"Exploring the red planet and deep space will mean that China can establish itself as a scientific and technological leader. The knock-on effect is that inventions and independent intellectual property rights will surge, and, as a result, China's core competence will increase, pushing development in other industries," said Jia Yang, deputy chief designer of China's Mars rover.

"Although China still lags behind scientifically-advanced countries in some areas, we have made great strides in basic science and space science. As long as we are diligent, in the near future we will achieve great success," said Chang Jin, vice director of the CAS Purple Mountain Observatory.

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