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The Ministry of Science and Technology
People's Republic of China

N0.228 July 10,2000

    * Word s of Deputy Minister of Science and Technology

    * China's International S&T Cooperation: Importance and Promise

Word s of Deputy Minister of Science and Technology

An old Chinese saying goes : “you needn't be acquaintances to meet each other”. Being a newly designated Vice Minister of Science and Technology in charge of China's high tech research activities and the international cooperation in the field of science and technology, I am honored to convey my highest regards to the readers of China Science and Technology Bulletin. I believe that Chinese S&T communities will join hands with their counterparts in the other parts of the world to strengthen the exchanges, promote cooperation and create a better future.

                                       Prof. Ma Songde
                            Vice Minister of Science and Technology
                                   People's Republic of China

China's International S&T
Cooperation: Importance and Promise

The 20th century that will soon be out of our sight is the one demonstrating the unprecedented success of science and technology and scientific rationality. The breakthrough development based on material science, life science and information science has made the scientific achievements and material wealth created by the mankind exceed the ones produced in any other ages and laid a solid foundation for the new leap of world civilization.

Science knows no boundaries. The international cooperation in the field of science and technology is a natural outcome of increasingly expanded S&T fields and their extended development. The open ended international S&T exchanges regardless of social systems, economic modes, cultural traditions and development levelsexplain the common interests of different parities in cooperation. In today's world, many global issues such as global climate changes, human genome studies and the construction of large scientific projects cannot be tackled or solved by the efforts of an individual country but rather call for the concerted multi-disciplinary efforts of many countries on the basis of world wide S&T data accumulation and comparative studies. In this very context, Chinese S&T communities have, in the principle of equality and mutual benefits, results sharing and respecting intellectual property rights, worked on extensive exchanges and cooperations with international S&T communities. Up to date, China has established S&T cooperative ties with 150 and more countries or regions in the world and signed with 95 of them the intergovernmental S&T cooperation agreements or technical cooperation agreements in economic and trade context. Chinese scientific communities have become the member of 800 and odd international scientific organizations and have learned a lot from internationally advanced scientific research methodologies and management. These have improved Chinese scientists' development capacity and management level while contributing to the development of the world S&T undertakings. At present, China's international S&T cooperation have advanced to a new stage of project based substantive cooperation and joint running research institutions from the initial personnel exchanges.

The scientific cooperation between China and other countries has not only benefited China but also extended such benefits to all human beings. The following are the basic facts on major results thus far achieved in China's international S&T cooperation.

1. Sino-Europe S&T cooperation laden with bumper harvest

The S&T cooperation between China and Europe started from 1981. Recent years have witnessed numerous cooperation results achieved in the fields of information,telecommunication, energy, agriculture, biology, environment, material, automation, aeronautics and space. For example, since its foundation in 1998, China-German Joint Lab on Molecular Medical Sciences has spotted 140 and more new cDNAs related to cardiovascular diseases, which attracted the world wide attention; on the basis of the initial cooperation between China and Italy on cosmic ray detecting experiment, both parties have decided to jointly invest in the construction of a 5000m2 testing field at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; the successful implementation of cooperative research program between China and France has led to the establishment of three China-France cooperative research institutes in the fields of information, automation and applied mathematics. In addition, a great number of other cooperative projects such as China-Spain Agricultural Greenhouse Technique Demonstration Project in Tianjin, China-Europe “Global Digital Telecommunication”, “Digital Audio Broadcasting”, “Shanghai Huangpu River Flood Prediction and Forecasting System”, “Structures' Energy Saving”, “Ocean Current based Power Generation”, Biomass Energy, Clean Coal Technique and etc, are either in the process of implementation or have been completed with joint application for their patent rights.

On December 1998, an S&T Cooperation Agreement was signed between EU and China, which hallmarks a new development stage for the S&T cooperation between two sides in terms of both the research level and the cooperation scale. EU's fifth framework scientific research plan is open to China and so is China's national S&T research programs to foreign research institutions and scientists for their participation in China's basic studies and high tech research plan.

2. Sino-US S&T cooperation on a high starting point

In 1979, Deng Xiaoping and then US President Carter signed Sino-US Agreement on S&T Cooperation during his visit to the US. Under this framework agreement, the governmental agencies in the two countries have signed their respective cooperative protocols covering over 30 fields, which resulted in several thousands joint research projects and more than ten thousand personnel exchanges. As a result, a number of cooperative projects of S&T and economic importance were created such as Remote Sensing Satellite Ground Station of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Electron-Positron Collider, China Digital Seismological Forecasting Network, Coal Gasification Power Generation, Giant Panda Reproduction Research, Exchange and Cooperative Studies of Flora and Fauna Species, Studies on Chinese and American Food, Life Styles and Chronic Diseases, Human Genome Studies and projects in the fields of environmental protection, agriculture and energy.

The S&T cooperation between China and US has not only been characterized with extensive scales and multi-disciplinary nature but also attracted the great attention of senior leaders of both countries. On the basis of equality and mutual benefit, the Chinese side has learnt advanced S&T theories and management experience from the US side and the US has also obtained important statistics and data on cancer studies, rich agricultural crop species resources and abundant valuable data critical for the studying of the cause and formation mechanism of earthquakes and the improving of its forecasting. In addition, the S&T exchanges and cooperation at different levels and in different fields have opened great opportunities for the economic and trade cooperation between two countries and enrichedcultural and material life of two peoples.

3. China-Japan S&T Cooperation for Friendship

This year will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of China-Japan S&T Cooperation Agreement. In the spirit of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, the governments, research institutions and universities of both countries have harvested many cooperation fruits in the fields of basic science studies, natural resources survey and development, environmental control, exchanges of agricultural species resources, astronomical and marine studies and assessment of urban infrastructures. Last few years, in particular, have witnessed annual increases of cooperation projects of substantive nature and more attention to training and exchanges of young scientists. Some projects have been renewed or extended on the basis of the successful cooperation. For example, jointly invested by both Chinese and Japanese sides for the research budget, China-Japan Joint Studies of Asian Monsoons have achieved number of innovative results on the basis of exchanges of information and data. Conference proceedings were jointly published
and 3 seminars were co-sponsored by both sides with the participation of scientists from many other countries. Successful cooperation projects like this are too numerous to cite as examples.

As shown by the preliminary statistics, under the framework of the S&T cooperation protocol the Chinese side has so far dispatched 9350 Chinese scientists to study or work in Japan on a cumulative basis with 2920 scientists and 380 coordinating people for the similar activities from the Japanese side. The Japanese side has implemented 48 technology related cooperative projects and 149 development survey projects. The cooperation has enhanced the academic exchanges between the scientists of two countries, promoted the S&T development of both countries and reaped fine economic and social benefits.

In 1998, 125 cooperative projects were defined at the 8th China-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology through friendly negotiations. The major cooperative projects to be kicked off in the near future are: 1) Joint Basic Studies of Atmosphere and Hydrology; 2) Formation and Transmission of Euro-Asian Inland Sandstorms and Observation and Analysis of Climate Environment; 3) Optical Technology Studies; 4) Environment and Disaster Prevention Related Spatial Information System.

4. Practical S&T Cooperation with CIS and East European Countries

China has signed S&T cooperation protocols with 25 countries among 27 CIS

and East European countries. Every year nearly one thousand cooperative projects are implemented under these protocols, covering all the fields relating to natural sciences and economic development. The cooperative level has also upgraded from general exchange visits of personnel to contracted research and industrial technology development. For example, China has imported nuclear technology and equipment from Russia to build its nuclear power station in Lianyungang. In the meanwhile, China has also exported its telecommunication technologies and equipment to CIS and East
European countries, which improved the telecommunication capacity of these countries. At present, such reciprocal cooperation has been deepened with new cooperative approaches. For example:

1) To strengthen the cooperation in the field of technical innovation between China and Russia, S&T authorities of two countries have signed the memo, established innovation working group and defined the cooperation in working out policy environment for the innovation system and S&T brokerage services.

2) China-Russia Association for Science and High Technology was established to commercialize and industrialize Russian technologies in China, seek for appropriate collaborative partners and provide brokerage and consultation services.

3) The Fund dedicated for high tech industrialization cooperation between China and Russia was created to provide financial support for the priority projects screened out by both sides in the manner of appropriations or discount interest. onstration base has been established to create fine environment and infrastructures for product development.

Such market-oriented technology transfer (namely the purchase of technology application license and the investment with technology equity) has made sharing the results of technology commercialization and industrialization between collaborative partners on the reciprocal basis
possible. China's current market mechanism, flexible cooperative approaches and huge market potentials provide great new opportunities for the technology and trade cooperation between China and ICS and East European countries.

5. S&T Cooperation facing the 21st century between China and the countries
in Asia, Africa and Latin America

The Chinese Government has long advocated for the basic principles of mutual benefit, long term friendship and common development in its S&T exchanges and cooperation with the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. China supports the S&T capacity building of these countries and provides S&T assistance to them within its own capacity.

Up to date, China has signed intergovernmental S&T cooperation protocols or S&T based economic and trade cooperation agreements with nearly 50 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with 300 and more S&T exchange teams annually and 40 and odd long term cooperative research projects. The successful implementation of these cooperative projects have played positive roles in promoting the S&T advance and economic and social development of these countries.

For example, thanks to the concerted efforts of Chinese and Brazilian scientists, a resource satellite jointly developed by two sides was successfully launched in 1999, which became a successful example of south-south cooperation in the field of science and technology. After the success of “Solar Power Generation Demonstration Project” with China's assistance to Zimbabwe in 1998, the second aid project “Solar Energy Heating Demonstration Project” was singed in the following year. In Kenya, “Malaria Control and Prevention Technology Extension” project helped the local people to be free from the disease through obtaining free malaria resistance medicines and established prevention and control centers, which has playeda positive role in developing the local health
undertaking. Since 1995, the Chinese side has provided technologies and personnel training for growing rice, sugar canes, tea and rubber to support the Burmese Government for eradicating opium growing with substitute plants, which achieved fine results and was appraised by UN drug boycotting agency.

To strengthen the S&T personnel training efforts for the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology has sponsored 47 professional technology training courses with the participation of 800 trainees from developing nations during the period of 1998-1999. The courses covered a wide range of topics such as agriculture, biology, textiles, machinery, environmental protection, energy efficiency, fresh water fish breeding and small hydraulic power generation.

Being a developing country itself, China is willing to strengthen its S&T cooperation with the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the new century.

6. Future Perspectives for China's International S&T Cooperation

Opening is one of China's long-term fundamental policies. In the course
of economic and S&T globalization, China will take more positive steps to perfect its full fledged opening efforts at all levels and in different areas. China will support and promote the cooperative network for China's global and regional scientific studies and high tech industrialization by all means, such as China-APEC S&T Industrial Cooperation Fund. Chinese scientists are encouraged to participate actively in cooperative projects such as EU's 5th framework research plan. China will support their involvement in large international scientific projects on a selected basis
and make every effort to support institutes, universities and enterprises to participate in the international cooperation.

In China's major national S&T programs and the construction of S&T research and development bases, China will absorb the participation of overseas research institutions and scientists in China's basic and high tech study projects. Being a large country having obligations for the sustainable international development and resources consumption, China supports the international cooperation in the field of sustainable development. China will within its capacity continue its support
for the S&T capacity building of developing countries through various cooperative approaches such as training and technical assistance.

       Comments or inquiries on editorial matters or Newsletter content should be directed to:Mr. Dong Jianlong, Department of International Cooperation, MOST 15B, Fuxing Road Beijing 100862, PR China  Tel: (8610)68512650 Fax: (8610) 68512594, or Mr. Wang Jianping, Editor,NEWSLETTER, 15 Fuxing Road Beijing 100038, PR China, Tel:(8610) 68515544 Ext. 2580