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Science and Technology

  Basic Statistics on Scientific and Technological Activities
  Expenditures on Scientific Research
  Number of Scientific and Technical Personnel in State-owned Enterprises and Institutions at the Year-end
  Professionals and Technicians in State-owned Enterprises and Institutions by Industry
  Three Types of Patent Applications Examined
  Three Types of Patent Applications Authorized


New breakthrough was made in science and technology. In 2003, the expenditure on research and development (R&D) activities for the whole country was 152.01 billion yuan, up 18.1 percent over 2002, accounting for 1.3 percent of the national GDP. Of this total, 8.6 billion yuan was used for basic researches.

China had more than 28.34 million professionals and technicians working in state-owned enterprises and institutions at the end of 2003. The country implemented 1,573 projects under the National Key Technologies R&D Program and 4,479 projects under the Hi-tech Research and Development Program (863 Program). A total of 274 demonstration projects were launched for the application of hi-tech research outcomes, and another 15 major research projects for technical equipment were initiated on a rotating basis.

The year 2003 also saw the establishment of nine national engineering research centers, the initiation of 46 projects on updating key national laboratories and the designation of 302 national technical centers established in enterprises (companies).

A total of 29,870 scientific research results were achieved at and above provincial or ministerial level, including 2,029 achievements in basic research, 26,425 achievements in applied research, and 1,416 achievements in soft science research. Some 308,000 patent applications were received from domestic and overseas applicants, while 182,000 patents were authorized, up 22.1 percent and 37.6 percent, respectively. A total of 268,000 contracts on the transfer of technology were signed, involving a transaction value of 108.27 billion yuan, up by 22.5 percent.

China's first manned space flight was a success. On the morning of October 16, 2003, the first Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, aboard the domestically built Shenzhou 5 spacecraft, returned safely to earth and landed in the central region of Inner Mongolia. China becomes the third nation after Russia and the United States to possess the capability of putting an astronaut into space.

China's manned space project, which was approved in 1992, includes seven systems, namely, the astronaut, spacecraft scientific application, manned spacecraft, carrier rocket, launch site, monitoring and controlling, and landing site systems. In the country's space history, the project has so far been the largest in scale, the most complicated in terms of its systems and technologically the most sophisticated. China now has 14 astronauts.

In the past 11 years, four unmanned test flights were successfully conducted respectively in November 1999, January 2001, March and December 2002. Until the first manned flight, the Chinese Government had allocated a total of more than 18 billion yuan to the project. The fund was mainly used for scientific research, manufacturing of equipment and instruments, and the construction of essential facilities for research and tests. As a result, a system complete with all necessary departments of research, production and testing related to manned space flight was established.

The maiden manned space flight is the first step in China's space program. In accordance with the development plan approved by the Chinese Government, the manned space project will be carried out in three steps. The first step is to launch unmanned and manned spacecraft for sending an astronaut safely into the low-earth orbit, conduct appropriate earth observation and scientific experiments, ensure a safe return of the astronaut, and set up a fundamentally complete engineering system of the manned space project. The second step involves space walking and a rendezvous docking of spacecrafts, developing and launching a space-lab and solving the problem relating to the application of the space-lab that can be manned for a short time. The third step is to develop a space station according to demand and solve the problem relating to the application of a manned space station.

Science-related networks continued developing. There were altogether 15,676 institutions in China responsible for the inspection of manufactured products in 2003, including 245 national inspection centers. In addition, there were 113 institutions involved in the certification of product quality and systems, which accumulatively certified products from 46,000 enterprises, and 3,815 authorized measurement inspection institutions that enforced compulsory inspections on 26.91 million measuring instruments. A total of 1,653 national standards were formulated or revised, including 734 new standards. The country had 250 meteorological observatories with radar installations and 386 satellite cloud map receiving stations. There were also 1,253 seismological monitoring stations and 30 remote monitoring network stations. Marine observation and monitoring spots numbered 1,737. Surveying and mapping departments published 1,572 kinds of maps and 454 titles of surveying books.

Participation in international cooperation was intensified. In 2003, Chinese scientists joined a number of major international scientific projects, including the EU-initiated Galileo satellite navigation project and the international research program on human liver protein, further consolidating China's status in global major scientific and engineering research. The country was ranked fifth in quantity of academic theses according to the scientific citation index.

The first Chinese-made robot was exported to Britain. The British Warwick University purchased a robot from Tianjin University at the end of 2003, which was China's first robot export to other countries. The robot, named Diamond-600, is able to make quick movements and uses two flexible arms to pick and place objects in a fast and accurate manner. Using internationally advanced technologies, it only costs one-third that of similar products manufactured overseas. Tianjin University has filed an international patent application before the World Intellectual Property Organization for the new robot, which is predicted to have a bright application perspective in the fields of food and pharmacy.