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President highlights role of science
By He Sheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-02 23:28

China should focus scientific research on key areas to ensure breakthroughs, said president Hu Jintao Wednesday during the opening of the country's largest scientific gathering.

Calling for better achievements from the nation's scientists, Hu said the ongoing scientific revolution could transform the world and lead to a better life for the Chinese people.

More than 1,000 top Chinese scientists and engineers gathered in Beijing for the biannual general meetings of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineers (CAE).

The conferences run until Sunday.

The two academies are regarded as the top academic bodies in their respective fields. Both play influential roles in the development of Chinese science and technology.

The meetings give academicians a chance to exchange their ideas and help draft the country's science strategy.

Hu delivered a congratulatory note at the opening ceremony in the Great Hall of the People.

He praised 1,200 academicians of the two academies for their contribution to the nation over the years, likening them to the science and technology think tanks for the central government.

He focused on the urgency of reforming scientific research in China to meet new challenges.

The CAS has played the key role in revamping China's scientific research during the last five years with a project involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Knowledge-based Innovation Project, is aimed at attracting the best researchers from around the world to lift China's research capacity to a world-class level.

Still in its infancy, the project has borne fruit in certain major areas like biology and nano technology research. Both areas have been chosen by the CAS as the most promising to bear world-class research results. The papers Chinese scientists have published in the two areas in the last couple of years have been highly impressive.

China was the only developing country to take part in the Human Genome Project completed last year.

Chinese biologists have also independently deciphered the genetic sequences of rice, the staple food of more than half of the world's population.

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