Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang stressed in a press conference held by the CPC Central Committee:
S&T self-reliance and self-strengthening promote high-level international cooperation
“Hold the core status of innovation in China's overall modernization drive and adopt S&T self-reliance and self-strengthening as the strategic pillar of national development...”
For the past few days, the new ideas about science and technology (S&T) from The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee (CPCCC) have lightened up quite a few S&T people. Why innovation is emphasized in the current stage? What measures is China to take in order to realize S&T self-reliance and self-strengthening and to promote S&T innovation?
On October 30th, the CPCCC held a press conference regarding the ideas proposed in The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPCCC, Wang Zhigang, General Secretary of the Party Group of Ministry of Science and Technology and Minister of Science and Technology, gave his answer, "scientific and technological innovation has always played an important role in national development and human progress, and its role is becoming increasingly prominent and ever more important."
“China has entered a new phase of development, which needs a new idea and a new pattern of development to be established,”,said Wang. The CPC Central Committee's proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 were adopted at the fifth plenary session. The proposals suggest to hold the core status of innovation in China's overall modernization drive, regard self-reliance and self-strengthening in science and technology (S&T) as the pillars of national development strategy and place it at the top of all planning tasks with specific arrangements.
It is not only the first time that the CPC has done so in the history of formulating a five-year plan, but also a strategic layout made by the CPCCC with Xi Jinping as the core based on the current trend of development of the world and outlook for the future.
According to Wang, it is worth noting that the CPCCC has made the strategic policies and arrangements concerning S&T innovation continuously and kept up with the times, since the 18th CPCCC proposed the strategy of innovation driving development, the 19th CPCCC proposed that innovation is the first power to lead development and The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPCCC proposed to accelerate the construction of a S&T-strengthened country.
"The important positioning and arrangements regarding scientific and technological innovation put forward at the fifth plenary session are based on the long-term theoretical innovation and practical development and the idea of seeking truth from facts insisted by the CPC. They have fully grasped the trend of global S&T development, and adhered to the path of independent innovation with Chinese characteristics. They also fit the characteristics and tasks of S&T innovation in the country in the new era," Wang commented.
He also noted that those important positioning and arrangements need to fully play S&T innovation’s role as the key variable in the once-in-a-hundred-year change and as the pillar and leading part of the great rejuvenation strategy.
Faced with the new changes happened both within and outside the country, China needs sci-tech innovation solutions more than ever in implementing the new development philosophy, promoting quality development and building a new development pattern, he said.
China's scientific and technological strength is now moving from seeking accumulation in quantitative terms to taking great leaps forward in quality, from individual breakthroughs to achieving systematic progress, laying a solid foundation for economic growth and improvement of people's livelihood and national security.
Wang pointed that looking ahead, we need to enhance our confidence in innovation and seize the great opportunity of a new round of S&T revolution and industrial transformation. Facing the front line of world S&T, the main battlefield of economy, the great need of our country and the health and life of our people, we need to stick to the functioning of “double engine”, namely S&T innovation and institution innovation, and build national strategic S&T strength to improve the ability of institutionalized tackling of S&T challenges and emergency.
In addition, we need to plan for the tackling of basic research and key technologies and establish a systematic, comprehensive and efficient national S&T innovation system in order to stimulate the enthusiasm and creativity of people in S&T sector and innovation entities.
China will move faster on the new path of innovative development featuring excellent talents, cutting-edge technologies, outstanding industries and a strong economy and nation, and strive to become one of the leading innovation-oriented countries and a scientific and technological power in the world, Wang explained.
“The self-reliance and self-strengthening in S&T are also in line with the self-reliance and independent innovation that we have always attached great importance to, which do not contradict openness and cooperation; instead, they form a dialectical unity," Wang stressed.
Open for cooperation is what the self-innovation path with Chinese characteristics is supposed to lead to whereas self-reliance and self-strengthening are the premise and basis for it to be realized in a mutually equal and respected manner.
“The innovation that China seeks is open innovation. China's S&T innovation has never been, and will never be, conducted behind closed doors," Wang said. For more than 40 years, openness, cooperation, exchanges and mutual learning have been playing important roles in promoting China's scientific and technological innovation. We have always emphasized that we should make scientific and technological innovation plans with a global perspective and actively integrate ourselves into the global innovation network.
At present, China cannot pursue innovation and development in isolation from the world, and the world needs China for global scientific and technological progress. China needs to improve its ability of independent innovation and run its own affairs well, while hoping to learn more advanced experiences from the rest of the world and contribute more Chinese wisdom to tackle global challenges, he stressed.
"Looking ahead, China will make greater strides in S&T opening-up and cooperation. We are ready to carry out dialogue and exchanges with other countries in regard to S&T policies, development plans, research ethics, and fields of common concern in S&T as well as innovation." In addition, China will seek common ground while reserving differences in opening up and cooperation and strive to reach more consensus on international science and technology governance.
At the same time, China will focus on global issues such as climate change, energy and resources, and public health, and set up a scientific research fund to support joint research with countries across the world.
In addition, great efforts will be made to further improve the legal and policy environment for S&T innovation in China, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, provide equal opportunities and convenient conditions for overseas talents to work and start businesses in China, and make the country a favorable destination for global innovators and entrepreneurs.