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Xi presents China's top science award to aircraft designer, nuclear expert

Date: 2021-11-04
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BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping on Wednesday presented China's top science award to aircraft designer Gu Songfen and nuclear expert Wang Dazhong for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, awarded the medals and certificates at an annual ceremony held in Beijing to honor distinguished scientists, engineers and research achievements.

Xi shook hands with the two scientists and expressed his congratulations.

Xi and other Party and state leaders, including Li Keqiang, Wang Huning and Han Zheng, together with the two winners of the top science award, presented certificates to other award recipients.

Gu Songfen is an aircraft designer at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd., the nation's leading aircraft maker. Born in 1930, Gu is an academician at both the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Wang Dazhong, born in 1935, is an internationally reputed nuclear scientist.

A CAS academician and former president of Tsinghua University, he has dedicated himself to the research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies.

Wednesday's ceremony was attended by approximately 3,000 people and honored 264 projects, with 46 winning the State Natural Science Award, 61 the State Technological Invention Award, and 157 the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award.

Eight foreign experts and one international organization won the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award for their collaboration with Chinese scientists.

Prior to the ceremony, Xi and other leaders gathered to take group photos with the representatives of the winners.

On behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, Premier Li Keqiang extended congratulations to the award recipients and thanked foreign experts for their participation in and support of China's science and technology development.

Li, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said that the Party attaches great importance to sci-tech development, and respects and cares for sci-tech workers.

He noted that sci-tech workers have made brilliant achievements since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting people's lives and health.

As China has started a new journey toward building a modern socialist country in all aspects, Li noted that innovation's central role in China's modernization drive must be upheld to raise the country's sci-tech innovation capacity, unleash its society's creative potential, and shape new development advantages.

Li called on the sci-tech workers to focus on the major strategic needs of the country, accelerate breakthroughs in key and core technologies, and promote major sci-tech projects.

An open competition mechanism to select the best candidates for important sci-tech programs shall be promoted to give opportunities to those who are willing to innovate, dare to innovate, and are able to innovate.

He said the country shall continue to strengthen its basic research, respect the laws of science, combine free exploration with problem-orientated research, strengthen long-term and stable support, encourage enterprises and private capital to increase input for basic research, deepen basic education reform and strengthen basic disciplines in universities.

The premier added that a sound scientific research ecosystem shall be fostered to encourage innovation and tolerate failure, and to support researchers to make more original achievements.

He highlighted the leading role of enterprises in innovation, more inclusive policies to encourage innovation, the concentration of innovation resources in enterprises, and the deeper integration of enterprises, universities and research institutes.

Li also pledged to promote integrated innovation among all enterprises despite their scale or position on the industrial chain. He also pledged to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and accelerate the application of sci-tech achievements.

He called for more efforts to overcome the obstacles that hamper innovation and creativity, and urged further efforts to deepen sci-tech mechanism reform and effectively ease the burden on researchers.

Li also said China will deepen international cooperation in science and technology and achieve win-win results through greater opening-up.

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the ceremony.

Han said he expects sci-tech workers to follow the examples set by the award recipients, carry forward the glorious tradition of serving the country through science and technology, shoulder historical responsibility, and help the country achieve a high level of self-reliance in science and technology at an accelerated pace. 


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