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Top Economic Planner Stresses Role of Science, Education


China will accelerate development through science, technology and education and implementation of the sustainable development strategy while energetically developing all social undertakings, Zeng Peiyan, minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission, said Wednesday.

Zeng made the remark in his Report on the Implementation of the 2001 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the Draft 2002 Plan for National Economic and Social Development, to the second plenary meeting of the Fifth Session of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC).

Great efforts will be put into promoting scientific and technological progress and innovations. More investment will be made in the development of science and technology. "We will strengthen basic, applied and strategically important high-tech research, improve our ability to make technological innovations and successfully develop the state scientific and technological innovation system," he said.

Close attention must be paid to carrying out major projects to develop key technologies such as large-scale integrated circuits, software, functional genomes and biochips and applying them to production. The process of applying scientific and technological advances to production will be accelerated and development of a system of technical standards will be promoted.

"We will develop our own intellectual property rights for key technologies and strengthen the protection and management of intellectual property. A mechanism for risk investment will be set up and developed, so will a system for stimulating technological innovations. We will develop philosophy and other social sciences, " Zeng said.

The science and technology management system will be restructured to form a system combining departments, localities, enterprises and institutions of higher learning. Working and living conditions will be improved to attract highly qualified professionals from abroad and encourage overseas Chinese students to return home and develop their careers in China.

In developing education, China will take into consideration future changes, continuing to strengthen basic education, make compulsory education universally available and improve the overall quality of students. A new system for the management of compulsory education in rural areas with "the county at the center" will be basically set up and funds for compulsory education will be guaranteed. Education will be restructured to increase enrollment of students in regular senior secondary schools and accelerate development of the various types of personnel to meet the demands of economic and social development.

Plans have been made to enroll 2.75 million undergraduate students and 196,000 graduate students in regular institutions of higher learning in 2002. The second phase of the compulsory education project for poverty-stricken areas will be carefully implemented and the second phase of the "211" Project for higher education will be launched. Infrastructure development to cope with the increased number of students in regular senior secondary schools and renovation of primary and secondary school buildings in poor shape will be accelerated.

A policy of aiding students from poor families will be implemented and will be revised as needed. Projects to introduce information technology in institutions of higher learning in the western region will be carefully carried out to promote the integration of information technology in education, the top planner said.

Efforts to improve the ecological environment and environmental protection measures will be strengthened. Measures to prevent and control water pollution in the Three Gorges Reservoir area of the Yangtze River, in the region along the eastern route of the project to divert water from the south to the north and in the Bohai Sea will be strengthened. Efforts to prevent and control pollution in the Huai, Hai and Liao rivers and Tai, Chao and Dianchi lakes will continue. Plans to prevent and control water pollution in the Yellow River and the Songhua River and preparatory work for the projects will be completed as soon as possible.

Vigorous measures will be taken to control pollution caused by sulfur dioxide and acid rain and pollution in mining areas and restore the ecological environment in affected areas. Development of a comprehensive monitoring system for the ecology, the environment, resources and disasters will be strengthened.

Efforts will be concentrated on cleaning up the source of pollution and promoting cleaner production. Close attention will be paid to recycling of waste materials to reduce consumption of resources. The Law on the Prevention and Control of Desertification will be implemented carefully.

"We will continue major projects to comprehensively improve the ecological environment with emphasis on growing trees and grass and on water and soil conservation. We will increase investment in projects to reduce and control the source of sand in the areas surrounding Beijing and Tianjin," Zeng Peiyan said.

Projects to protect natural forest resources will continue. Programs for prevention and control of desertification will be worked out as soon as possible. Restoration and development of natural pastures will be accelerated. Efforts to develop shelter forests in key areas and natural reserves will be strengthened.

Greater efforts will be made to develop spiritual civilization and promote all-round development of undertakings in culture, health, sports, radio, film, TV, the press and publishing. The Program for Establishing Civic Morality will be carefully instituted along with vigorous efforts to develop activities for the participation of the masses to build spiritual civilization.

"We will continue to keep the birth rate low and improve the quality of newborns," Zeng said, adding that more public cultural facilities will be built for ordinary people. Construction of the Grand National Theater and renovation of the China Art Gallery will be accelerated and preparatory work for construction of the National Museum and the National Digital Library will be carried out with care.

"We will make greater efforts to protect cultural relics and support the building of major museums at provincial level," the official said. The special programs for developing rural health care infrastructure and for building traditional Chinese medicine hospitals and specialized hospitals will be implemented in a serious effort to improve conditions in medical services and health care. The system for monitoring the people's physical well- being will be improved. Taking advantage of Beijing's successful bid to hold the Olympic Games, we will promote nationwide fitness activities.

(People's Daily March 6, 2002)

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