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Hu highlights China's progress, "large gap" in sci-tech development

BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- President Hu Jintao on Monday hailed the country's remarkable science and technology achievements since the launch of its 1978 Reform and Opening-up Drive, but he also admitted that there is "still a large gap" with the world's most advanced.

  Among developing countries, China had now taken the lead regarding the general level of science and technological development, said Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

  He attributed the achievements to the full support of the Party, the nation and the hard work by Chinese scientists and technicians.

  Hu made the remarks at Monday's inaugural ceremony for both the 14th Congress of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Academy of Engineering Science.

  He began his speech by giving a brief summary of the country's strenuous anti-earthquake efforts after a powerful 8.0-quake struck Wenchuan County in the southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12.

  Members of the two academies had made full use of their collective wisdom and power to play an important role in the quake relief, he said.

  In his speech, Hu mentioned two major historic events -- the National Science Congress in March 1978, and the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in December that same year.

  The science conference has been called a "Spring" for the country's science circles following the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The latter ushered in the Reform and Opening-up Drive in the country.

  Hu recalled it was Deng Xiaoping who talked about major issues regarding the political status. At the meeting, the late leader proposed that science and technology were a productive force, intellectuals were part of the working class, and the key of the country's modernization drive lay with the modernization of science and technology.

  He reiterated science and technology were the No.1 productive force; human resources were the No. 1 resource; and it was a must to persistently increase the capabilities in independent innovation; it was a must to adhere to the political advantage of socialism, which enabled the government to gather powers to do big things; it was a must that science and technology served economic and social development as well as the people; and it was a must to display the scientific spirit.

  Hu explained how to take the road of independent innovation with Chinese characteristics, saying the country was still, and will, for a long time, in the initial stages of socialism. This fundamental situation for the country hadn't changed, he said.

  Hu stressed the country still faced a large gap with the world's advanced levels in the science and technology development. Based on that view, the 17th Party Congress proposed to increase the country's capabilities in independent innovation and build an innovative nation, which, he said, were the core for the country's development strategy and the key to increasing its comprehensive powers.

  To take a road of independent innovation with Chinese characteristics, it is a must to give top priority to increasing the capabilities of independent innovation in the development of science and technology; it is a must to promote the progress and innovation in science and technology by innovating the system; and it is a must to foster a large army of innovative talented people in the country; and it is a must to encourage scientific and technological progress and innovation with an innovative culture, said Hu.

  Hu called for displaying the important role of scientists and technological circles for the decision-making by the Party and the government. He called the two academies the supreme consulting agencies and the national think-tanks in science and technology. He urged them to unite and lead all scientist and technicians circles in the country.

  Party committees and governments at all levels should bring these academics' role into full play by promoting their efforts to make the decision-making more scientific and democratic, he said.

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