SCIO press conference on implementing the innovation-driven development strategy to build China into a leading country in science and technology

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Mr. Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology 

Mr. Wu Zhaohui, vice minister of science and technology 

Mr. Zhang Guangjun, vice minister of science and technology 

Mr. Xie Min, director general of the Department of Policy, Regulation and Innovation System of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)

Mr. Chen Jiachang, director general of the Department of High and New Technology of the MOST


Mr. Chen Wenjun, director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO


Feb. 24, 2023

Chen Wenjun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Today, the State Council Information Office (SCIO) is holding the fourth press conference in the series "Embarking on the New Journey — A Government Perspective." We have invited Mr. Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology, to brief you on implementing the innovation-driven development strategy to build China into a leading country in science and technology. We also have with us two vice ministers and two directors general of science and technology: Mr. Wu Zhaohui, vice minister; Mr. Zhang Guangjun, vice minister; Mr. Xie Min, director general of the Department of Policy, Regulation and Innovation System of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST); and Mr. Chen Jiachang, director general of the Department of High and New Technology of the MOST.

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

Wang Zhigang:

Hello ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media. First of all, I would like to thank all friends from the media for your long-term attention, care, support and help regarding scientific and technological innovation. I'm also very pleased to meet you ahead of the upcoming national two sessions and to brief you on the new measures and progress of the national science and technology community in studying and implementing the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, and speeding up efforts to achieve self-reliance and strength in science and technology .

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has put sci-tech innovation at the center of the country's overall development and pushed for historic achievements and changes in China's sci-tech cause. From independent innovation to self-reliance and self-strengthening, from following others and participating to leading and pioneering, and from breakthroughs in key fields to systematic capacity improvement, the past decade has witnessed leapfrog development of China's sci-tech cause, the fastest improvement in China's sci-tech innovation ability, and the most prominent role played by science and technology as a primary productive force. China's ranking in the Global Innovation Index rose from 34th in 2012 to 11th in 2022, joining the ranks of the world's innovators and ushering in a new stage of building self-reliance and strength in science and technology and building China into a leading country in science and technology. The report to the 20th CPC National Congress states that innovation will remain at the heart of China's modernization drive and that education, science, technology and human resources are the foundational and strategic pillars for building a modern socialist country in all respects . A special chapter has been assigned in the report for relevant arrangements. This is a major strategic decision made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core with a look toward the overall trend, the current situation and the long run.

The nationwide science and technology community has thoroughly studied and implemented the guiding principles, decisions and arrangements of the 20th CPC National Congress, overcome difficulties and worked hard. All sectors have worked together to tackle problems, and the country's eastern, central and western regions have cooperated to innovate. Integrated development has been secured within science and technology, industries and financing, and coordinated progress has been made in deepening reform and innovative development. All these have formed a mighty force in the whole nation to pioneer innovation with one heart and one mind. The position of sci-tech innovation in the overall cause of the Party and the country has never been given such prominence and it has played an unprecedented role. Empowerment through science and technology has become a prominent symbol of high-quality development and sci-tech innovation has become an important engine for the modernization drive.

China's sci-tech strength has markedly improved and its influence in the global innovation landscape has significantly increased. China's research and development (R&D) spending nationwide increased from 1 trillion yuan in 2012 to 3.09 trillion yuan in 2022, with R&D spending intensity rising from 1.91% to 2.55%. Investment in basic research rose from 49.9 billion yuan in 2012 to around 195.1 billion yuan in 2022, accounting for 6.3% of the country's total R&D spending, up from 4.8%. The total number of R&D personnel increased from 3.25 million person-years in 2012 to an estimated more than 6 million person-years in 2022, maintaining the first place globally for many years. China's academic papers accounted for 41.7% of the world's hot papers that perform in the top 0.1% of all papers based on citations, and accounted for 27.3% of highly cited papers. China is not only an important participant in international frontier innovation, but also a significant contributor to solving global problems.

Empowerment though science and technology across the board has provided more high-level groundwork for high-quality development. We have insisted that goal orientation and free exploration must go together, made a number of original achievements with international influence in basic research fields such as quantum information and brain science, and played a leading role in innovation in several important areas. We have paid equal attention to shoring up weak links and consolidating strengths, and made breakthroughs in core technologies of key industries including high-performance equipment, intelligent robots and laser manufacturing. We have actively invested in new areas and accelerated scenario application of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain and 5G. We have focused on the two key issues of seeds and arable land to strongly support and guarantee national food security. Regarding people's health and safety, sci-tech innovation has provided more precise and comprehensive support for disease prevention and control, public health and response to population aging. Sci-tech innovation has played a prominent role in penetrating, spreading and transforming. It has deeply integrated with every aspect of economic and social development and the lives of the people, greatly improved the quality and enduring driving force of China's development, and created a broader new vision and brought new, better expectations for the Chinese path to modernization.

Critical reform tasks have been conducted and overall effectiveness of the national innovation system has been significantly improved. The implementation of the three-year plan for structural scientific and technological reform has been accelerated and various breakthroughs have been made in key areas. We have boosted China's strength in strategic science and technology , and accelerated the establishment of a system of national laboratories with Chinese characteristics. High-level research universities and research institutes have played a key role in carrying out major national sci-tech tasks. The principal role of enterprises in sci-tech innovation has been further enhanced. High-tech enterprises increased from 39,000 in 2012 to 400,000 in 2022, contributing 68% of total R&D input of enterprises nationwide, and 762 are among the world's top 2,500 in terms of R&D input. We have coordinated the development of international and regional centers for sci-tech innovation. Zhongguancun has led a new round of trials in granting additional deductions for basic R&D costs and paying for sci-tech advances after trials. A total of 23 national innovation demonstration zones and 177 national high-tech zones have become the pacesetters in promoting high-quality development. Legal policies and cultural environment conducive to sci-tech innovation have been further improved, and the whole of society is more enthusiastic about supporting, investing in, participating in and facilitating innovation than ever before.

We have expanded opening-up and cooperation and actively fostered an innovation ecosystem conducive to international sci-tech exchanges and collaboration. Openness and cooperation are not only essential to the development of science and technology, but also necessary to meet global challenges. Following the international sci-tech cooperation philosophy of openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and shared benefits, we have collaborated scientifically and technologically with over 160 countries and regions, and participated in over 200 international organizations and multilateral institutions. China has carried out extensive international cooperative research in such key areas as climate change, clean energy and COVID-19 prevention and control, and conducted joint funding with more than 60 countries, regions and international organizations. The Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan has yielded good results, and a number of joint laboratories have been built. China has made efforts to lead and organize major international science programs and projects, and actively participated in major international science projects such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor and the Square Kilometre Array . We have built more platforms for international sci-tech exchanges and cooperation in key areas to provide a broad stage for international talent to work in China and make China a fertile ground for global innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 2022, thanks to the joint efforts of the whole scientific and technological community, we scored one success after another in scientific and technological innovation. The Tianhe, Wentian, and Mengtian modules have been sent to space as part of China's orbital space station. The Kuafu-1 solar probe, the Qinghai-Tibet scientific expedition, micro-nano satellites, quantum communication, and proton therapy also emerged as key breakthroughs. For the first time, society's spending on research and development exceeded 3 trillion yuan. In addition, the research and development investment intensity exceeded 2.5% for the first time. The proportion of investment in basic research surpassed 6% for the fourth year in a row. Breakthroughs were achieved in several key and core technologies. New steps were taken to increase national strategic scientific and technological strength. Meanwhile, scientific and technological resources ensured the high-quality sports events organization and athletic competitions in the Beijing Winter Olympics. In addition, scientific research breakthroughs contributed significantly to a major and decisive victory in epidemic prevention and control across the country.

This year marks the first year of studying and implementing the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress. To break new ground, the scientific and technological sector needs to be a pioneer in reshaping new advantages in development, be an engine in fostering a new development paradigm, and play a key role in China's modernization drive. At present and in the coming years, we will fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress and the major decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee. We will set our sights on four important strategic areas, namely embracing global cutting-edge technology, driving economic growth, meeting the country's critical needs, and improving people's health, and take stock of the state-of-the-art and evolving science and technology trends worldwide to seize major opportunities afforded by the new scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. We will move to upgrade home-grown technologies based on the Chinese characteristics of scientific and technological innovation and proceed from the features of scientific and technological development in the new era to ensure national development and strategic security.

We firmly believe that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the scientific and technological community will strengthen its confidence in innovation. We will work hard to overcome difficulties, scale new scientific and technological highs, earnestly implement strategic plans put forward at the 20th CPC National Congress, and step up efforts to achieve high-level self-reliance in science and technology. We will get our endeavor to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start and make irreplaceable, significant scientific and technological contributions to the modernization drive.

Now, my colleagues and I are ready to share our views on your questions. Thank you.

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