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Build sci-tech powerhouse, says Xi

President Xi Jinping addresses the general assemblies of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the National Congress of the China Association for Science and Technology. Scientists and engineers attend the meetings on May 28, 2021 in Beijing. (LI XIANG / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping on Friday called for the accelerated transformation of China into a scientific and technological powerhouse, and for it to achieve higher levels of self-reliance and strength in science and technology to provide strategic support for national development.

Meanwhile, the country will enhance international cooperation in areas such as climate change and human health, and proactively integrate into the global innovation net-work to contribute more in building a community with a shared future for mankind, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Xi made the remarks when addressing the 20th general assembly of academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the 15th general assembly of academicians from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the 10th National Congress of the China Association for Science and Technology. The three meetings started in Beijing on Friday morning.

President Xi Jinping called for China's scientific community to tackle the world's scientific and technological frontiers, create innovations that can serve the economy and major national needs, and promote the health and well-being of the people

In recent years, China's science and technology capabilities have witnessed a qualitative leap, characterized by many historic achievements and breakthroughs in innovations, basic research, strategic high-tech fields, and high-end manufacturing, Xi said.

"Reality has proven that our indigenous innovation undertakings have a bright future, and our science workers are high achievers capable of accomplishing great deeds," he said.

Xi said State laboratories, national research institutions, high-quality research universities and leading science and technology enterprises are all key components of the nation's strategic science and technology capability.

He called for China's scientific community to tackle the world's scientific and technological frontiers, create innovations that can serve the economy and major national needs, and promote the health and well-being of the people.

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Xi also urged them to create more strategic and critical scientific and technological achievements, and focus on solving major science and technology issues that are limiting the nation's overall development and long-term interests.

Research universities should become a main driving force behind basic research and major scientific and technological breakthroughs, while leading enterprises should help modernize the nation's basic industrial capabilities and industrial chains, he said.

President Xi Jinping addresses the general assemblies of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the National Congress of the China Association for Science and Technology. Scientists and engineers attend the meetings on May 28, 2021 in Beijing. (LI XIANG / XINHUA)

China should also build an open innovation ecosystem and take part in the global governance of science and technology as it is a shared treasure of mankind, Xi said.

Therefore, China's scientific community should enhance joint research with international peers, deepen its participation in global governance, and allow science and technology to better serve the prosperity of humanity, he added.

Meanwhile, China will need to tap into the innovative potential of various talents, Xi said. To achieve this, the nation will attach greater emphasis to cultivating high-end talents and innovative research teams, while granting research institutions and scientists more autonomy, thus freeing them from unnecessary paperwork, appraisals and other distractions.

China's scientific community should enhance joint research with international peers, deepen its participation in global governance, and allow science and technology to better serve the prosperity of humanity, said President Xi

Moreover, China will optimize its policies to attract high-end foreign talents to work or have exchanges with peers in China. Xi called on the nation's scientific community to set its sights on the future and the world, and enhance its openness, trust and cooperation with international peers.

On Friday afternoon, Premier Li Keqiang addressed the three groups of scientists, saying that Chinese scientists have made great contributions to the nation's fight against COVID-19 and its economic recovery.

Li called on scientists to enhance basic research, carry out reforms to reduce the burdens on researchers, facilitate a healthy academic environment, and allow scientific and technological innovations to play a bigger role in supporting the nation's socioeconomic development.

You Zheng, vice-president of Tsinghua University and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said he had heeded Xi's call to enhance basic research and produce more original and leading breakthroughs.

You said Xi praised China's higher education when he visited Tsinghua University in April and said, "We need to have confidence in our education system, we can cultivate grandmaster-level talents".

You said: "We will double our efforts in nurturing innovative talents that the nation needs, and make our contribution in enhancing self-reliance and our strength in science and technology, as well as China's transformation into a global leader in science and technology."

Ma Xingfa, vice-president of the Shanghai Association for Science and Technology, said the China Association for Science and Technology and its subsidiaries are key channels for international exchanges.

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"We will enhance dialogue and cooperation with international science organizations, universities, high-tech parks and companies," he said. "This will create platforms for close and long-term cooperation."