Chinese scientists Sunday commemorated the 40th anniversary of the country's first test of a hydrogen bomb, and called for greater self-confidence and self-reliance in the development of new high-technologies.
China's first hydrogen bomb was tested in the desert of west China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region on June 17, 1967.
The successful test startled the world as it took only two years and eight months for China to develop the hydrogen bomb after it tested its first atomic bomb in October, 1964, said Li Yingxiang, former head of the general office of the Ministry of Nuclear Industry.
Seventy-year-old Wang Jingheng, former head of China's first nuclear weapons research and production base in northwest Qinghai Province, recalled their tough conditions at the base more than 40 years ago.
More than 10,000 people worked at the base and natural disasters in other parts of the country in the early 1960s made it difficult to get enough food for his crew, Wang said.
"We lived in cave dwellings, ate qingke barley (a highland barley grown in Tibet and Qinghai), and our only vegetable was cabbage. When there was not enough food, we had to search for edible wild herbs to feed ourselves," Wang added.
Li urged today's Chinese leaders and scientists to have the same confidence as those working on the bomb did four decades ago.
"Remembering the history of developing the first hydrogen bomb is of great significance to today's scientific research," said Li.
"While Chinese researchers have much better conditions and work in an international environment, the spirit of self-reliance and arduous struggle, should be carried on," Li said, adding that "China must develop its own high-tech with our own intellectual property right."
Kang Rixin, general manager of China National Nuclear Corporation, said: "Learning from the experience of developing China's first atomic and hydrgen bombs, we should mainly rely on ourselves for the development and innovation of key nuclear technologies."
Compared with developed countries, China's nuclear power generating industry is still small scale and at a relatively low level, Kang said.
"We should shoulder the historic responsibility to develop the basic and key technologies of the nuclear power industry," Kang added.
(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2007)