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Nation Awards Its Preeminent Scientists

Two Chinese scientists yesterday received the nation's top award for their contributions to science and technology from President Jiang Zemin.

Their work of the past few years was rewarded with a prize of 5 million yuan (US$602,000) each, which they received at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Physicist Huang Kun was rewarded for his work on solid-state physics at the Semiconductor Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Wang Xuan of the Founder Technology Institute of Peking University won for his achievements in computer science.

They were honored with the State Pre-eminent Science and Technology Award. President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders met a cross-section of the scientific community before the awards ceremony.

On behalf of the central government, Premier Zhu congratulated the prizewinners, saying: "Rewarding scientists is a grand event in scientific sectors."

Wang and Huang, both academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have made great contributions to technological innovation and economic growth, said Zhu.

Since 1975, Wang has carried out research into a Chinese-language laser-typesetting system and electronics publishing system. The Chinese-language laser-typesetting technology has been a remarkable advance in the development of China's newspaper and publishing industries.

Zhu said the central government will continue to treasure scientific development.

"The central government has increased investment into scientific development in the past few years," said Zhu.

"We will continue to create a favorable climate for upgrading technology, training professionals and attracting overseas and domestic scholars (to boost economic development)," said Zhu.

The country has improved such areas as awards for scientists, patent protection, and the distribution of investment among research institutes. The effort has been a tremendous inspiration for scientists, he added.

China set up the State Pre-eminent Science and Technology Award in 1999.

The award honors no more than two scientists each year. Each winner gets 5 million yuan (US$602,000) and a certificate presented by the president.

At yesterday's ceremony, 2,067 other scientists were also honored with the State Award for Natural Sciences, the State Award for Technological Invention and the State Award for Scientific and Technological Progress.

(China Daily February 2, 2002)

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