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A New Role of science and Technology in Chinese Society

Prof-XU Guanhua Minister of Science and Technology,P.R.China April l9,2001,Beijing

Having witnessed incessant S and T miracles,the past 20th century is labeled as a century with sufficient development of scientific rationale. The theories of Relativity and Quantum laida solid foundation for  modern S and T revolution.The particle physics extended our
understanding of material world to  quark level.  Self-organizing theories  and nonlinear
sciences, such as information theory, cybernetics, sestematology and the study of chaos, have been leading our cognition of nature to be more complicated and comprehensive.  The
remarkable progress in information technology,biotechnology  and new materials greatly
enhanced our capacity of utilizing,reconstructing and controlling the nature.Today we still
have a strong feeling that the rainstorm of major breakthroughs and innovations are brewing
in almost all scientific frontiers.The momentum of information and knowledge explosion is
anything but exhausted.We are now benefiting from modern S and T development and
civilization.Meanwhile,we face a variety of constraints,including resource depletion,
ecological imbalance,scientific ethical problems and knowledge divide.However,we still
have every reason to have confidence in a brilliant prospect of S and T in the 21st

The Chinese civilization goes back to ancient times. The oriental civilization represented by
Chinese culture once took a very important position in the world.  A good many major
findings and invention in ancient China not only influenced the human civilization course ,
but also profoundly changed the world.It was not until the 15th century that feudal dynasties cut off China from the outside world. We then lost the precious opportunity to proceed
into the  industrial  revolution,which  resulted  in a poor and weak nation hard to change her own fate.

The foundation of New China started a new chapter in history.Guided by the theory of "S and T constitute the primary productive force" put forward by late Chinese leader Mr. DENGXiaoping, the Chinese government has been giving sufficient supports for S and T cause in
the past 2 decades.Under a circumstance that respects knowledge and talents,Chinese
scientists have achieved many positive results with their wisdom and through their industrious
efforts.Their achievements shortened the distance between China and the world advanced
level and offered strong supports to our socio-economic advancement.More and more peopleaccepted the viewpoint that our sustained and speedy economic growth shall rely on the
rapid development of S and T and its deep influence.

We always believe that an energetic national economy will be one with S and T and
economic impetus unceasingly pouring into newly emerged industries.Like in many other
countries m the world,high and new-tech industries become the most vigorous parts in our
economic growth today.And these industries directly depend on S and T advancement ad
world-leading achievements in the research of hybrid rice.The farming area of hybrid rice
reaches 3.33 million hectares with an accumulated yield increase of 3.5 billion kilograms.
This has made prominent contribution to our food security.The application and diffusion of computerized agricultural expert system has facilitated the agricultural information and
modernization process.This approach will probably alter the traditional production and
operation methods used by peasants for several thousand years.In the manufacturing domain,the exploitation and application of CIMS have significantly promoted the development of newproducts and their market competitiveness.It will lead to a new approach of boosting industrialization through information technology.

As a large developing nation,China has taken effective efforts to feed and clothe her people
in poverty-stricken areas through the application of science and technology.Earlier m1986,
our scientific community creatively initiated m action entitled Poverty Alleviation through S
and T. Targeting at poverty-stricken population in rural areas, the action consists of science popu1arization,advanced and applicable technology diffusion,pilot technology experiment andtechnical    training for peasants.The Chinese scientific community spares no effort to
alleviate poverty in mountain areas of Dabieshan,Jingangshan and Northern Shannxi.As a
result,local poverty-stricken population has been reduced from 48% to 25% in the past
15years.Today even people in the remote countryside could feel the benefits brought forth
by S and T.

Moreover,we are proud that our population quality and living standard have been
unprecedentedly promoted by S and T progress in medicine,healthcare and other fields.In
2000the natural rate of population in China was as large as 9.7%.The population
reproduction mode has undergone a historical change from high birth rate,low mortality,andhigh increase to low birth rate, low mortality and low increase.The average life span in
China reaches that of middle developed nations.The structure of consumption expenditure
dramatically changed while the Engel coefficient fell below 50%.In the meantime,the
illiterate rate decreased drastically while the population receiving high education increased

XX Since the industrial revolution'deep contradiction among population,resource and
environment has been shadowing the planet on which our lives and welfare depend.China
pays persistent attention to and attaches great emphasis on facilitating a harmonious
co-existence between human and nature while pursuing S and T advancement. China is the
first nation in the world which promulgated Agenda 21,a document with guidelines of
sustainable development. The adoption of Action plan for Bio-diversity Protection and
achievements in environment legislation indicate that Chinese government made unremitting
efforts to coordinate the relationship between human and nature. In the past 5 years we
gained concrete progress in promoting clean and effective usage of coal through S and T,
facilitating comprehensive administration of national resources through information
technology,lowering auto emission and purifying atmosphere by consuming clean energy.
Development in new and renewable energy and breakthroughs of key technologies such as
proton membrane fuel cell and restructure of carbinol to produce hydrogen have been
achieved.All these will furnish environmentally sound automobiles with new power.Aiming at the features of current consumption of disposable energies and the increasing trend of autoconsumption,we expect that new progress in clean coal technology and Electric Vehicles
will technically safeguard the sustainable development of our society.

One salient feature of S and T in contemporary social development has been the integration
of S and T and culture and the combination of scientific spirit and scientific rationale. A
people lacking scientific culture accumulation is bound to be constrained in tem1s of
livelihood and aspiration. The competition among nations has been largely embodied by the
possession of,or extent of the possession of the power of S and T and culture. The Chinese society is experiencing a drastic transition period. On the basis of Chinese civilization
heritages we shall accept the guidance by scientific rationale,inherit the true spirit of
science,facilitate the integration of scientific and humanistic sprits,and loyally safeguard theborder of science. We firmly believe that the history of science development is also a
history of combating against superstition and blindness. It is of great importance to the revitalization of Chinese people that we encourage people to insist on truth,explore innovation andvoluntarily resist the erosion of bogus science. Therefore a fashion of advocating,studying,
promoting and employing science through the development of scientific spirit and scientific
culture will be shaped.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The human being has Stepped into a new era,an era filled with opportunities and challenges.As a great people who made sig1ifleant contribution to the human eivi1izatioIL we are
willing to take up our due responsibilities for the new century and the human kind on the
whole.We are never hideous in saying that there exists a large gap on the comprehensive
level between China and the advanced nations due to our shod history of modem S and T
development.However,the S and T development history in the past centuries has been
basically a history of underdeveloped nations catching up or even surpassing the advanced
ones. The constant shift of world S and T and economic centers has sufficiently proved this
irrefutable theory.Today S and T are developing with each passing day. It is possible that
China makes full use of her "competitive edge of late start",to achieve a leapfrog
development  in S and T and social productivity. S and T progress,reform and opening
have been unprecedentedly identified as key and dynamic factors in china's 10th Five-Year Plan of Economic and Social Development.It will contribute to the conception of
development in China,as well as the world.I am confident that China will embrace the
arrival of a new spring of science.

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