Press conference on pursuing the innovation-driven development strategy to build a country strong in science and technology | June 11, 2022


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Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology

Hou Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Li Xiaohong, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)

Zhang Yuzhuo, vice president of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and chief executive secretary of the Secretariat of CAST

Li Jinghai, president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)


Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)


June 6, 2022

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee. This is the sixth press conference under the theme of "China in the past decade." Today, we have invited Mr. Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology; Mr. Hou Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); Mr. Li Xiaohong, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE); Mr. Zhang Yuzhuo, vice president of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and chief executive secretary of the Secretariat of CAST; and Mr. Li Jinghai, president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), to brief you on China's innovation-driven development strategy to build a country strong in science and technology, and to take your questions.

Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Wang for his introduction.

Wang Zhigang:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. First of all, I would like to thank all friends from the media for your long-term interest, understanding and support for the cause of scientific and technological innovation. I am very glad to meet with you today along with my colleagues from the scientific field and to share with you the developments in sci-tech innovation in the past decade. We are very happy to discuss issues of interest with you.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has taken innovation as the primary driving force for development and put it at the heart of the overall development of the Party and the country. With Chinese characteristics and the overall trend of global development in mind, the CPC Central Committee has created plans and arrangements for sci-tech innovation in the new era based on the features of the current situation. Our goal is to build China into a country of innovators and a country strong in science and technology; our position is to take independent sci-tech capabilities as a strategic support for national development; our strategy is to continuously and fully drive development through innovation; and our path is to firmly follow independent innovation with Chinese characteristics. The blueprint for China's sci-tech undertaking has been drawn, and the cause of sci-tech innovation is being steadily advanced.

Over the past decade, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, with the concerted nationwide efforts of the scientific and technical field and its personnel, China's sci-tech cause has experienced major historic, holistic and structural changes, turning the country into a nation of innovators and helping it blaze a development path transitioning from strong talent and sci-tech capabilities to strong industries, economy and state. China's total investment in research and development (R&D) increased from 1.03 trillion yuan in 2012 to 2.79 trillion yuan in 2021, and its proportion of R&D spending increased from 1.91% to 2.44% of GDP. China rose to 12th on the World Intellectual Property Organization's Global Innovation Index in 2021, up from 34th in 2012. China's position and role in the global innovation landscape have undergone new changes. China is not only an important participant in cutting-edge international innovation, but also a significant contributor to the resolution of global issues.

Over the past decade, local regions, departments and sci-tech personnel across the country have thoroughly implemented the strategic arrangements of the CPC Central Committee; central and local governments have coordinated their efforts; the eastern, central and western regions have cooperated on innovation; and sci-tech, industries and the financial sector have achieved integrated development. Coordinated efforts have been made to support growth, deepen reform and expand opening-up, gathering the force of the whole country together to press ahead with innovation. 

We have formed a new strategic structure for sci-tech innovation that supports development and ensures security based on four aspects we are faced with. Facing the international frontier of science and technology, we have remained goal-oriented and upheld free exploration at the same time, and made a number of original achievements with international influence in such fields as quantum information, stem cells and brain science. Facing the main battlefield of the economy, we have applied high-quality science and technology to drive industries toward the medium- and high-end, and ensured the safety and stability of industrial and supply chains. The application of emerging technologies such as supercomputing, artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain has accelerated, which has created a boom in the digital economy and other new industries and business forms. Facing major national needs, we have moved faster to make breakthroughs in key, core technologies, and reinforced weak links and strengthened capabilities in priority areas of strategic importance. We have supported the smooth implementation of major projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Sichuan-Tibet Railway. Deep-sea oil and gas as well as coal have been utilized cleanly and efficiently, and new nuclear power technologies have provided strong guarantees for national energy security. Facing people's lives and health, high-level forces have been organized nationwide to make scientific research breakthroughs in pandemic emergency response, and a set of sci-tech innovations have been achieved in vaccines, drugs, testing reagents and other areas, which has strongly supported the pandemic prevention and control work. Innovative drugs, domestic high-end medical equipment, and advanced diagnosis and treatment technologies have allowed people to benefit from more high-quality innovations.

We have remained committed to promoting innovation through reform and fully stimulated the enthusiasm and creativity of innovators and researchers in all areas. People hold the key to sci-tech innovation. Reforms to the sci-tech system over the past decade have made their way into people's lives, and the systems and mechanisms for cultivating, utilizing, evaluating, galvanizing and introducing talent have been improved. Reforms to sci-tech plans and research funding management have relieved the burden on scientific researchers, the development of research integrity has created a good environment for innovation, and the capacities of innovators have been enhanced. The construction of a national laboratory system with Chinese characteristics has been accelerated, the capabilities of high-level research universities and scientific research institutes have been consistently boosted, a group of internationally competitive sci-tech enterprises have been thriving, and the national innovation system has become more efficient and smoother. 

We have remained steadfast in opening wider and developed a new pattern of all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging international sci-tech cooperation. Openness and collaboration are intrinsic to development underpinned by science and technology, and indispensable for addressing global challenges. Over the past 10 years, we have pursued a strategy of open, inclusive and mutually beneficial international sci-tech cooperation, and have made constant progress regarding collaborations in the field with 161 countries and regions. Innovation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been accelerated. Our joint research with other countries in fields including climate change, food security, and people's lives and health have yielded fruitful results. In the future, China will open its science and technology sector even wider. We are ready to exchange and cooperate with sci-tech counterparts from more countries and to make greater contributions to global sci-tech progress and sustainable development.

At the same time, we are keenly aware that there are still many weaknesses and shortages in China's sci-tech innovation in terms of originality, high-end personnel, and key, core technologies. We need to seize important development opportunities while dealing with a series of risks and challenges. We believe that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the nationwide sci-tech community will further strengthen its confidence in innovation, strive to overcome difficulties, scale new heights and speed up the promotion of high-level independent science and technology. We will make new strides and achieve new accomplishments on the new journey toward building a country strong in science and technology, and pave the way for a successful 20th CPC National Congress with concrete actions.

Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Wang, for the introduction. Now the floor is open to questions. Please identify your media outlet before raising questions.

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