China fuels up innovation in past 5 years

About a thousand drones give performances to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Harbin Institute of Technology, June 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Geng Hongjie)
During the 13th Five Year Plan period (2016-2020), the contribution of technological advances to economic growth increased from 55.3 percent to 59.5 percent in China.

The country has risen to the 14th place among 131 economies worldwide on the Global Innovation Index (GII), a benchmark innovation ranking.

As significant breakthroughs have been continuously made in science and technology, innovation is becoming the primary driving force behind China’s development.

Although it was already late at night, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Key Laboratory of Microscale Magnetic Resonance, located in the University of Science and Technology of China, was still ablaze with lights.

Du Jiangfeng, head of the lab as well as academician with the CAS, and his colleagues were sitting around a table and carefully discussing and analyzing the experimental data gathered during the day.

In fact, such a scene could often be seen in the lab.

For over four years, the lab has closely followed trends at the frontiers of science and technology and achieved a lot of global firsts.

“In the past, we could only see cells on the millimeter level through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we can now see cancer cells smaller than 10 nanometers,” said Du.

The lab’s cell imaging techniques have reached the world leading level and are expected to be applied in the early diagnosis of cancer, according to Du.

Since the 13th Five Year Plan period, China has continuously enhanced its support for basic research and paid great attention to original innovations.

A batch of major innovative results have emerged, such as the quantum anomalous Hall effect, iron-based high-temperature superconductors, and monkey clones, and such innovations have allowed China to catch up with other scientific powerhouses or even lead in certain frontier fields.

Both the number of international scientific papers published by Chinese researchers and that of the most-cited papers of China ranked second in the world.

Meanwhile, the country ranked number one in the world in terms of granted invention patents.

Basic research is increasingly showing its fundamental role in science and technology advances.

On January 4, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, came to Chongqing BOE Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality for inspection.

In the factory of the company, robots carefully picked up the extremely thin glass substrates and placed them at the starting point of the production line.

With the machinery and equipment running at high speed, the glass substrates went through nearly 100 procedures and were made into the screens of mobile phones, TVs and computers in a short time. These screens are believed to serve as “windows” that connect users with the outside world.

Core technologies with independent intellectual property rights are the key to success for enterprises, Xi said.

Key and core technologies can never be asked for, bought or begged for from other countries, said Xi, who believes that only by mastering crucial core technologies with China’s own hands can the country fundamentally safeguard its economic security, national security, and security in other areas.

“I was deeply impressed by the great importance that Xi has attached to core technologies,” said Gao Wenbao, liquid crystal displays (LCD) and sensor business group CEO at BOE, adding that the company has carried out research in key and core technologies of semiconductor display in recent years and become a leader in global LCD industry.

During the 13th Five Year Plan period, China has made a series of major breakthroughs in key and core technologies. Its high-speed railway, 5G mobile communications, and third-generation nuclear reactors have led the way in the world. The country is also among the leaders in the world in technologies in such areas as ocean engineering and combustible ice mining.

The country has ranked first in the world for multiple times in a row in terms of the number of supercomputers in the Top 500 list of the world’s most powerful computer systems.

In January 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 mission achieved humanity’s first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon.

So far, the lander and the Yutu-2 lunar rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have survived more than 600 Earth days on the far side of the moon while conducting scientific explorations.

“Space exploration has no end. Chinese sci-tech and aerospace workers must continue making efforts and promoting the development of the world’s aerospace cause and contribute more Chinese wisdom, solutions, and strength to mankind’s peaceful use of outer space,” noted Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration project.

Wu revealed that China is expected to launch the Chang’e-5 mission this year to achieve regional soft landing and bring samples back to Earth. The mission is expected to be followed by a series of deep space exploration activities.

In recent years, China has continuously raised its level of its aerospace science and technology development and entered a stage featuring normalized high-density launches.

In the year 2019 alone, China carried out 34 space launches and successfully sent 78 satellites into orbit.

In terms of manned spaceflight, Chinese space laboratory Tiangong-2 traveled in space, and helped Chinese astronauts stay in space for 33 days.

China has begun the construction of its space station and is expected to complete the task around 2022.

Aerospace science and technology is playing a more and more significant role in generating and driving a number of emerging industries, injecting more impetus into economic and social development.

For example, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System has been applied in various aspects of life, including the precise positioning of shared bikes as well as the monitoring and warning of geological disasters, producing significant economic and social benefits in many industries.

CIIE shares opportunities for development

The opening ceremony of the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum will kick off on Nov. 4 in Shanghai. Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech via video.

It will be the third time for the Chinese President to deliver a keynote speech on this major occasion of international opening-up and cooperation. As the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged global economy into a depression, Xi’s speech is very much anticipated by the world.

Gardeners prepare flower decorations for the upcoming 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) at a square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, Oct. 17, 2020. Photo by Ji Haixin/People’s Daily Online

The international community believes that China’s initiative and actions to firmly expand opening-up, support multilateral trade and contribute to win-win cooperation are positive energy needed by global economic recovery.

The spreading pandemic, rising unilateralism and protectionism, and the headwinds against economic globalization are all testing the resilience of the world economy. Global growth is projected at minus 4.4 percent by International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the latest report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said global foreign direct investment fell by 49 percent in the first half of this year. The World Trade Organization (WTO) also predicted that global trade might shrink 13 percent to 32 percent in 2020.

The interior of a bus in Shanghai is decorated with CIIE mascot vinyl wraps, Oct. 26. Three of such buses are now operational in the city. Photo by Wang Gang/People’s Daily Online

Facing these challenges, only firm determination can lead to a way out. Countries must do everything to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, steadfastly enhance opening-up and cooperation, and build an open world economy to turn the crisis into opportunities. As a grand global trade fair, the 3rd CIIE carries a mission to stabilize global industrial and supply chains and assist world economic recovery. It is in line with the common interests of the world.

The 3rd CIIE is the world’s first import-themed exhibition at national level. It has gradually cultivated a virtuous ecology where exhibits are commodities; exhibitors are investors; and purchasers are traders. With larger exhibition areas, optimized layouts, and higher-quality exhibits, the 3rd CIIE will surpass its predecessors.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), the Chinese market kept expanding. Last year, the total retail sales of consumer goods in China reached 41.2 trillion yuan ($6.14 trillion), making the country the largest market in the world.

Under the current circumstances, as the first major economy to resume production, achieve economic growth and recover foreign trade, China is injecting valuable forces to and creating precious opportunities for global economic recovery.

Many exhibitors noted they have felt the openness and inclusiveness of the Chinese market, saying the CIIE is both a global event and an important window for enterprises to participate in and share the opportunities created by China’s steady growth.

People shop at Shanghai’s Global Harbor, the largest mall of the city, Aug. 28. Photo by Chen Yuyu/People’s Daily Online

China has a broad mind to embrace guests from around the world and create interests for all mankind. The world is able to see clearly the country’s resolution to expand opening-up, its confidence to promote high-quality economic development, and its firm steps to advance.

Xi once remarked that China will expand, deepen and widen its open economy, stressing raising the level of opening-up in an all-round way, building higher-level new institutions of the open economy, and forming new advantages in international cooperation and competition. The president also called for efforts to promote deeper-level reform and pursue higher-level opening-up to provide strong impetus for establishing a new development pattern. What Xi said demonstrated the strong power of decision-making of the country, heralding that China is able to seek opportunities in crises and start anew in changes.

The fifth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee raised a set of long-range objectives for China to achieve socialist modernization by 2035 and adopted the proposals for the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). After establishing a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieving its first centenary goal, China will embark on a journey to fully build a modern socialist China, comprehensively improve its opening-up, and start new prospects for its opening-up. China, entering the new development phase and accelerating the establishment of a “dual circulation” development pattern in which domestic economic cycle plays a leading role while international economic cycle remains its extension and supplement, will offer larger development space and opportunities.

The 3rd CIIE will be a window for the world to discover the Chinese people’s courage and efforts to reform and open up from Shanghai’s remarkable opening-up achievements in the past 30 years. As another signature of opening-up of Shanghai, the CIIE is demonstrating to the world the Chinese promise that “China will not close its door to the world, and it will only become more and more open.”

China never ceases its steps of reform and opening-up, and will join hands with the rest of the world for common development and win-win cooperation, so as to usher in a new chapter of sharing opportunities and creating common prosperity.