China must drive growth through scientific, technological innovation

A medical worker injects a man with a COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Xiajiang county, Ji’an, east China’s Jiangxi province, Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo by Chen Fuping/People’s Daily Online)

A new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is on the upswing in today’s world, bringing about profound changes to human development and offering a new path for solving and responding to difficulties and challenges for global development.


As the world is now facing the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, people have recognized more than ever that science and technology have a marked impact on world’s future and people’s wellbeing.


China’s experience in racing against time to fight tenaciously against the virus—from identifying the whole genome sequences of virus strains in the shortest possible time to introducing various testing kits, and from selecting effective drugs and treatments to advancing vaccine research and development—once again proved that mankind cannot defeat the pandemic without science and technology.


While analyzing the reasons behind China’s major strategic achievements in its response to COVID-19, Prensa Latina, the official state news agency of Cuba, pointed out that the application of new technologies is an important part of China’s “remedies” for the virus.


Desperately needed vaccines against COVID-19, developed and tested at record speed, were selected as the first of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of the year 2020 by the Science magazine in the U.S.


Meanwhile, the website of the British science journal Nature listed “the effectiveness of several new vaccines will become clearer in early 2021” as one of the science events to watch for in 2021.


One promising prospect in 2020 was that digital medical services finally gained recognition, said Forbes on its website.


Scalable and sustainable digital health solutions will help improve health for everyone in the world, according to a report recently issued by the World Health Organization, predicting the development prospects of digital health in the following five years.


Scientific and technological innovation also serves as the key driving force for global economic recovery.


According to a report released by the World Economic Forum, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated 10 key technology trends, including online shopping and robot deliveries, digital and contactless payments, remote work, distance learning, telehealth, online entertainment, supply chain 4.0, 3D printing, robotics and drones, as well as 5G and information and communications technology.


The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs called on policymakers from all countries to seize the opportunity of technological advancement to establish a digital strategy for the future and support their nations’ long-term sustainable development.


China has always made innovation the primary driving force for development. It has achieved remarkable achievements in innovation and demonstrated its strength in this regard.


China’s new large carrier rocket Long March-5B made its maiden flight on May 5, 2020; its Mars probe Tianwen-1 is flying toward the red planet; the Chang’e-5 lunar probe returned to Earth with samples collected from the moon on Dec. 17, 2020.


Meanwhile, China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System was officially commissioned and its deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe, or Striver, has completed sea trials in the Mariana Trench, the world’s deepest natural trench in the western Pacific Ocean.


On Nov. 27, 2020, the No. 5 unit of the Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant of the China National Nuclear Corporation, the country’s first nuclear power facility using Hualong One technology, a domestically developed third-generation reactor design, was successfully connected to the grid in southeast China’s Fujian province.


China has also established a quantum computer prototype named “Jiuzhang”, realizing a quantum computational advantage, or “quantum supremacy.” All these remarkable innovative results have surprised the world.


Essentially, scientific and technological innovations are supposed to serve people. Countries across the world should develop policy institutions and systems that are oriented to the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, and foster an enabling environment for international cooperation to deliver the fruits of innovation to more countries and peoples.


Over the last decade, Asia has accounted for 52 percent of global growth in tech-company revenues, 43 percent of startup funding, 51 percent of spending on research and development, and 87 percent of patents filed, said Jonathan Woetzel, director of the McKinsey Global Institute, in a recent article, who considered collaboration a key driver of Asia’s technological rise.


Fully understanding that open exchanges are a key route for exploring cutting-edge technologies, China has actively advanced international sci-tech cooperation and implemented a strategy of international sci-tech cooperation that is more open, inclusive and mutually beneficial.


It has contributed wisdom and strength to the smooth progress of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project.


China has joined the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility to turn the vaccines into a global public good.


The country will issue rules on managing the lunar samples and data to share them with scientists from all over the world.


It will also make available its Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, for scientists across the world from April 1.


With concrete actions, China has strengthened international cooperation on scientific and technological innovation, offered solutions to global problems, and enhanced the wellbeing of people of all countries, receiving warm welcome from the international community.


Scientific and technological innovation is one of the key variables in the world that is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century.


It is necessary to seek solutions through scientific and technological innovation to fostering new opportunities in crises and creating new prospects in the face of changing circumstances.


By upholding the central role of innovation in the modernization drive and making self-reliance in science and technology a strategic underpinning for national development, China will surely continue to make new achievements on a new journey of pursuing scientific and technological innovation and make new contributions to promoting scientific and technological progress and stimulating global economic recovery.

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