China Will Uphold the Central Role of Innovation in its Modernization Drive

…One of the Key Message of the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee

H.E. Hu Zhangliang

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the

People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Sierra Leone

The Author

The 5th Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee stresses that China will uphold the central role of innovation in its modernization drive. The Session identifies self-reliance and self-strengthening in science and technology the strategic foundation to China’s national development. It is a strategic arrangement made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core in keeping abreast of the trend of world development, keeping in mind the current situation and adopting a long-term perspective.

Looking back, the CPC Central Committee had came up with the innovation-driven development strategy at the 18th CPC National Congress, and the 19th CPC National Congress further emphasized that innovation was the primary driving force for development. China has devoted great energy to implementing the innovation-driven development strategy. In 2019, China’s expenditure on research and development (R&D) reached 2.21 trillion RMB, accounting for 2.23 percent of the country’s GDP. The contribution rate of scientific and technological progress to economic growth reached 59.5 percent. There are now 225,000 high-tech enterprises and more than 151,000 small and medium sized technological firms in China. Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showed that China ranked 14th in the 2019 Global Innovation Index, and China was the only middle-income economy in the top 20.

Through implementing the innovation-driven development strategy, much have been accomplished in China’s science and technology advancement, for instance, the development of manmade satellites, manned spaceflight, super hybrid rice, quantum communications, supercomputers, artificial intelligence, fifth-generation mobile network technology (5G), mobile payment, artemisinin, and high-speed rail etc.

China’s innovations in science and technology have brought more convenience to the work and daily life of people and injected new momentum into world economic growth. The total import and export volume of China’s high-tech product trade continued to grow in 2018, reaching 1408.57 billion USD and increased by 12%. Between January and August 2020, foreign investment that was put into actual use in China was 619.78 billion RMB, an increase of 2.6% over the same period of 2019; among which, the investment in high-tech services grew 28.2% on a year-on-year basis.

According to the CPC Central Committee’s development proposals at the just concluded Session, China should further implement the strategies of invigorating the country through science and education, focusing on world-leading technologies, and developing a quality workforce. China will improve the national innovation system and speed up efforts to build the country into a scientific and technological powerhouse.

China’s scientific and technological innovation has never been, and will never be, conducted behind closed doors. Looking forward, China will make greater strides in opening up and cooperating with other parts of the world in science and technology. China is ready to carry out dialogue and exchanges with other countries with regard to science and technology policies, development plans, research ethics as well as fields of common concern in science and technology innovation. China will seek common ground while reserving differences, and strive to form an increased consensus on international science and technology governance. China will focus on tackling the global issues such as climate change, energy and resources and public health. China will set up a scientific research fund to support joint researches with countries across the world.

China will also further improve the legal and policy environment for scientific and technological innovation in China, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and provide equal opportunities and convenient conditions for overseas talents to work and start businesses in China. China will become a favored destination for global innovators and entrepreneurs. China hopes to learn more advanced experience from the rest of the world, share more of China’s scientific and technological achievements with others and contribute more Chinese wisdom to counter global challenges!


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