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Advancement in Public Health and Safety Services
A wider research base and facilities to allow swifter scientific advances in public health and safety will become cornerstones of China's scientific drive, a Ministry of Science and Technology source revealed yesterday.

The ongoing SARS disaster has accentuated the problems in the State's existing scientific system, highlighting the nation's limited research database, its outdated laboratory facilities and the equipment used within them, according to ministry Secretary-General Shi Dinghuan.

Some scientists from the Key Science and Technology Group under the National Task Force for SARS Prevention and Control, who are involved in studying the flu-like virus, have complained that investment in public health in China is insufficient.

"Conditions for clinical trials have long been relatively poor, posing difficulties for doctors to experiment on new drugs and treatment methods," said Zhu Yuanyu, a professor with Beijing Union Medical College Hospital.

Drawing lessons from the SARS attack, Shi said comprehensive health and medical studies are absolutely necessary in future national plans, to keep sustainable economic development and people's health in harmony.

To set a course for China's scientific drive over the next two decades, the ministry will invite experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Education to contribute strategic and scientific information.

By logging on to its www.most.gov.cn website, members of the public will soon be able to search ministry documents related to the long-term scientific plan and voice their opinions, guaranteeing a democratic decision-making process, Shi said.

In another development, the ministries of education, and science and technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the National Funding Committee for Natural Sciences have jointly circulated the Stipulation for Improving Evaluation on Technological Findings.

It aims to ensure down-to-earth academic studies and avoid profit or fame-driven work, as well as boastful remarks such as "world-advanced" or "domestic leader."

(China Daily June 6, 2003)

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