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China emerges as major power in science, technology|
WASHINGTON -- "China is quickly emerging as one of the major countries in science and technology," Vaughan Turekian, chief international officer of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"For more than 30 years, China has been building a world class scientific enterprise, developing both the physical infrastructure and human resource base to move forward in the fields of science and technology," he commented.
Turekian, along with Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS, published an editorial entitled "Chinese science on the move" on the December 7, 2007 issue of the journal Science.
In that editorial, they said China, as one of the world's fastest-growing economies, was also the world's fastest-growing supporter of scientific research and development (R&D), with its national R&D funding moving to the third place in the world, just behind the United States and Japan.
And "with some evidence, China is now only second to the United States in R&D funding," Turekian told Xinhua.
"Given the long history of Chinese innovation dating back centuries, it is not surprising that China has embarked on this latest investment in science and technology as a crucial underpinning of its economic and social development."
As for the impetus behind China's remarkable progress in science and technology, Turekian said that the initiation of the Four Modernization drive played an important role in pushing this new era of science success.
Furthermore, the focus by the current Chinese leadership on investing in science and technology has been crucial to the recent surge in Chinese science, he said.
"I also believe that promoting exchanges between Chinese and Western scientists and students is crucial to the rapid rise of Chinese science," said the AAAS official.
Turekian also stressed the importance of international cooperation in the field.
"This is particularly true in global issues such as environment, public health and innovation," he said.
Turekian said for China, which has a highly competitive science community, one of its great challenges is how to deal with the ethics and scientific misconduct.
"This is true not only in China, but also in fact in all countries. As competition increases to perform at the highest level, there is always a chance that there will be increasing cases of misconduct," he said.
Turekian said, therefore, it is important to put in place both formal regulation and enforcement mechanisms as well as the informal training and mentoring that can decrease the amount of misconduct.
The key to science is risk-taking and willingness to fail, he said.
"So, the key for China, and many developing scientific communities, is ensuring that misconduct is minimized, while encouraging risk-taking and creativity," he said.
Oct. 19th 2008, China Daily.