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The Center for Strategic Translation provides statesmen and scholars with the tools needed to interpret the Chinese party-state of today while training a new generation of China specialists with the skills needed to guide our relations with the China of tomorrow.

The Center meets this need through initiatives in translation and education. The Center locates, translates, and annotates documents of historic or strategic value that are currently only available in Chinese. Our introductory essays, glossaries, and commentaries are designed to make these materials accessible and understandable to statesmen and scholars with no special expertise in Chinese politics or the Chinese language.

Complementing the Center’s published translations are the Center’s training seminars. Starting in the summer of 2023 the Center will host a series of seminars to instruct young journalists, graduate students, and government analysts in the open-source analysis of Communist Party policy, introduce them to the distinctive lexicon and history of Party speak, and train them how to draw credible conclusions from conflicting or propagandistic documentary sources.
    
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China’s Composite National Strength in 2049

2049中国综合国力研究

Introduction

China is filled with dreams of 2049.

The year 2049 marks a special anniversary. On October 1st, 1949, Mao Zedong stood on the threshold of Tiananmen gate and proclaimed the birth of the People’s Republic of China. A new anthem was sung. A new flag was raised. China’s long century of national humiliation was over. Now China’s journey of national rejuvenation could begin.

The journey that began in 1949 shall end in 2049. China’s communist leaders identify this centenary as the date by which China will officially have become a “great modern socialist country in all respects” [全面社会主义现代化强国] that sets an example of “prosperity, strength, democracy, advanced culture, social harmony, and beauty” for the entire world.1 Party leaders often anchor this otherwise abstract end state to more concrete policy aims. Thus China must build a “world class” [世界先进水平] military and “reunify” [统一] with Taiwan before national rejuvenation can be fully realized.2 Xi Jinping provides an equally clear vision for the centenary: “By the middle of the century,” he said during the 20th National Congress, “we must build China into a great modern socialist country that leads the world in terms of composite national strength and international influence.”3

Grand pronouncements like these have spawned an intellectual cottage industry devoted to the PRC centenary. The year 2049 lures in analysts from sundry backgrounds, united only by their shared eagerness to shape or predict China’s path to the hallowed date. One of the most prominent entries in this genre is Yi Changliang’s 2020 book Predicting the Future: A Study of China’s Composite National Strength in 2049. Yi heads the editorial board of Macroeconomic Management,4 a publication of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission, the ministerial-level agency responsible for crafting and coordinating state policy on economic and social development.5 The NDRC has been called the State Council’s own “mini State Council.”6 It is tasked with harmonizing macroeconomic policy across the PRC’s many bureaucratic bodies. Everything from the Belt and Road Initiative to price stabilization falls under this remit. Working in the NDRC trains officials to view social problems through a holistic yet decidedly quantitative lens. This is the lens Yi uses to forecast China’s future. 

Central to these forecasts is the concept of composite national strength. If the traditional rankings of the great powers focus on military metrics of strength like naval tonnage or army size, measures of composite national strength aim to synthesize military power with other material measures of power (such as industrial might) as well with less tangible forms of strength (such as global cultural influence, political stability, or technological dynamism). The term suggests an all-embracing metric for national success. 

There is no universal method for calculating this universal metric. Each analyst must calculate it according to his own methods. Most Chinese who employ the concept do not calculate at all, but merely use the words “composite national strength” as a convenient shorthand for the full suite of resources states draw on as they flourish or fall. But for a certain sort of Chinese wonk, the temptation to quantify is irresistible. So it is with Yi Changliang. In a section of the Predicting The Future that CST has not translated, Yi presents composite national strength as a formula.7 This formula provides a useful snapshot of Yi’s larger methodology. It reads:

CNS=[E+M+(Aa+Ab)]-1-α × Sβ × Q.

The first composite in this formula is “hard power” [硬实力], which is composed of a nation’s economic strength (E), military strength (M), and technological strength. That last variable is further broken down into its basic science (Aa) and applied science (Ab). The composite measure of hard power is modified by the risk factors a state may face (signified by α); α rises as a country experiences internal turmoil, reducing the value of its hard power. This modified hard power value is then multiplied against a state’s “soft power” [软实力], a measure of international prestige and diplomatic influence signified as S, as well as by its smart power [巧实力], a measure of strategic competence signified by Q. Yi assumes that the more modern and democratic a country is, the more positively it will be received by the international community. Thus he completes his equation by including democratization (β) as a multiplier of a nation’s soft power. 

Using this model Yi creates a point scale for composite national strength. He estimates that in 2010 China scored 43.08. On that same date the United States’ scored 200.00.8 With additional calculations that add variables like economic growth, development strategy, and institutional framework to his equations, Yi estimates that by 2049 China’s composite national strength will grow to 239.96—even as the United States’s composite national strength grows to 432.95.9

These crude calculations have only questionable scientific validity. More interesting than their specific conclusions are the assumptions built into the entire exercise. Technology is the keystone of Yi’s analysis. Yi explicitly makes scientific prowess an element of national power that is important as industrial capacity or military strength. He insists that technological “innovation is the primary driving force of development and the strategic [backbone] for building a modern economic system.” The “fusion point of science, technology, and industry” is now “the primary battleground for accelerated economic development.”

There is only one problem: Chinese industry imitates more than it innovates. Yi’s calculation that China will not catch up to the United States by 2049 rests on the assumption that China will continue in a development pattern dependent on the imitation of foreign technology.10 

Yi is not a hard historical determinist: his projections do not reveal what must be, only what may be—or rather, what is most likely to be if the PRC does not transform the institutional framework surrounding Chinese economic growth and technological development.11 In other words, Yi’s forecasts are more warning than prophecy. He has definite ideas on what changes might lead China to a brighter future. These recommendations are translated below. 

A few themes stand out. Like many members of the Communist Party of China, Yi believes the world is on the cusp of a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” during which advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, and artificial intelligence will transform the face of the global economy.  He believes that the scientists and researchers who pioneer these new technologies must be Chinese. China’s entire macro-economic structure must be reorganized for that end. In some cases this will require radical change. Thus Yi recommends that “the tenure system for professors in colleges and universities should be eliminated.” Only if there is “competition for jobs” at the top universities where candidates are truly “the best selected from the best” can Chinese universities “shape and educate the true scientific and technological elites that will lead the world.” In many ways, Yi’s numerous fiscal, developmental, and educational proposals are all aimed at the creation of this narrow elite stratum. If China produces humankind’s most talented scientists and technologists then everything else will fall into place. 

Another of Yi’s overriding concerns is system building. In addition to reforming its existing “education and cultural systems; fiscal, tax, finance, and investment systems; state-owned enterprise systems; and intellectual property systems,” China must build a new “techno-scientific innovation system,” “knowledge innovation system,” “knowledge dissemination system,” “innovative economic development system,” and an “institutional innovation system.”

For Yi, systems thinking lends itself to a very specific form of governance. The old model of direct government investment in emerging technologies is insufficient; technological innovation will advance fastest in the realm of commercial competition. The Party must foster an environment where firms compete against each other while drawing on government-funded basic research and the “techno-scientific infrastructure” created by the state. In Yi’s awkward phrasing, success will look like “a market-oriented industry-university-research alliance with enterprises as the mainstay.” Self-reinforcing systems like these must replace simpler top-down arrangements. Yi is confident that if reforms like these are successful, the discoveries of China’s genius-scientist class will quickly diffuse throughout the Chinese economy, serving as the engine of future Chinese power.

None of these ideas are out of step with the actual policies embraced by the Communist Party of China since Yi published his book. Xi Jinping also describes science and technology policy as the problem of “what kind of people we should cultivate.” He also sees innovation as a matter of “improving” and “establishing systems” to coordinate the efforts of universities, research institutes, and leading high-tech enterprises.12 If the shape of the “new-style whole of nation system” [新型举国体制] the Party has created to supercharge Chinese technology does not exactly match Yi’s prescriptions, there are clear parallels between the way the Party describes this system and the institutional arrangements Yi advocates below.13  It is clear that Yi Changliang is not the only Chinese communist convinced that scientific power will pave the way to 2049. 

—THE EDITORS

1. Xi Jinping  习近平, “Gaoju Zhongguo Tese Shehuizhuyi Weida Qizhi, Wei Quanmian Jianshe Shehuizhuyi Xiandaihua Guojia Er Tuanjie Zhengdou—Zai Zhongguo Gongchang Dang Diershici Quanguo Daibiao Daguo Daibiao Dahui Shangde Baogao 高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜 为全面建设社会主义现代化国家而团结奋斗——在中国共产党第二十次全国代表大会上的报告 [Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive in Unity to Build a Modern Socialist Country in All Respects—Political Report at the 20th National People’s Congress],”Xinhua 新华, 25 October 2022.
2. See Jude Blanchette, Briana Boland and Lily McElwee, “Beijing’s Timeline for ‘Reunification’ with Taiwan?CSIS Interpret: China, 26 May 2023;  U.S. Department of Defense, Military and Security Development Involving the  People’s Republic of China (Washington DC:  2023), p. 189.  
3. Xi, “Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”
4. Macroeconomic Management is an academic journal established and supervised by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission. Since its inception in 1984, the journal has published reports, analysis, and opinion pieces related to policies of economic and social development, domestic and foreign economic conditions, regional experiences, and other recommendations. Visit the journal’s website at http://www.hgjjgl.com/list-201-1.html
5. Lance L. P. Gore, “China’s ‘Mini-State Council’: National Development and Reform Commission,” EAI Background Brief, No. 614, 8 April 2011.  
6. Ibid. 
7. Yi Changliang 易昌良, Yujian Weilai: 2049 Zhongguo Zonghe Guoli Yanjiu 预见未来:2049中国综合国力研究 [Predicting the Future:  China’s Composite National Strength in 2049] (Beiijng: Zhongxin Chuban Jituan 中信出版集团 [CITIC Publishing Group], 2020), 119. 
8. Ibid., 146. 
9. Ibid., 156. 
10. Ibid., 150. 
11. Ibid.
12. Xi, “Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”
13. The official description of this whole-of-nation system is an “organizational model and operating mechanism that…leverages the decisive role of the market in resource allocation, better utilizes the role of the government, [and] better utilizes vast domestic market demand” in order to “better integrate a proactive government with an efficient market” so that China may become a “self-reliant technology great power.” See Quanmian Shenhua Gaige Weiyuanhui 全面深化改革委员 [Commission on Deepening Reform], “Guanyu Jianquan Shehuizhuyi Shichang Jinjixia Guanjian Hexin Jishu Gongguan Xinxing Jvguo Tizhu de Yijian 关于健全社会主义市场经济条件下关键核心技术攻关新型举国体制的意见 [Opinions on Improving the New-Style Whole of Nation System for Research on Key Core Technologies Under the Conditions of Socialist Market Economy],” 8 September 2022. 

Author
Yi Changliang
易昌良
original publication
Predicting the Future: China’s Composite National Strength in 2049
预见未来:2049中国综合国力研究
publication date
May 1, 2020
Translator
Leah Holder
Translation date
December 2023
Tags
Tag term
Tag term
Advancing Towards The Center of The World Stage
走近世界舞台中央

Chinese officials and diplomats often describe China’s return to national greatness as a process of “advancing towards the center of the world stage.” As with other aspirational aims associated with China’s NATIONAL REJUVENATION, this “advance towards the center of the world stage” is intended to be completed by 2049, the centennial anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Most of the central leadership’s aspirations for 2049 concern domestic affairs: this phrase is one of the rare statements of what a fully rejuvenated China means for the rest of the world. 

The phrase “advancing towards the center of the world stage” was introduced in a 2011 People’s Daily editorial and saw periodic use in the early days of Xi Jinping. Xi elevated the slogan’s importance in his report to the 19th Party Congress. There he tied the claim that “our country advances ever closer to the center of the world stage” [我国日益走近世界舞台中央] to his declaration that the Party had entered a NEW ERA [新时代] in its history. As Mao gave China independence, and Deng made China prosperous, so would Xi Jinping help China “become strong.”  This stronger, more assertive China could then turn its eyes outside of China’s borders to “make greater contributions to mankind” [为人类作出更大贡献]. In Xi’s judgment, growing Chinese influence over the future of the species is an integral part of moving China to the world’s “center stage.” 

Phrases like “advancing towards the center of the world stage” and “making greater contributions to mankind” suggest the global scope of Chinese ambition while obscuring its ultimate object. An official Xinhua commentary on the 19th Congress provides an unusually forthright description of what this advance entails:

China has stood up, grown rich and become strong. It will advance  toward center stage and make greater contributions for mankind. By 2050, two centuries after the Opium Wars, which plunged the “Middle Kingdom” into a period of hurt and shame, China is set to regain its might and re-ascend to the top of the world.
…China’s success proves that socialism can prevail and be a path for other developing countries to emulate and achieve modernization. China is now strong enough, willing, and able to contribute more for mankind. The new world order cannot be just dominated by capitalism and the West, and the time will come for a change (Xinhua 2017).

Xinhua associates the “advance towards the center of the world stage” with a world order that is no longer capitalist nor Western-led; the less circumspect writing of Chinese academics and public intellectuals use the phrase in a similar fashion. The slogan should thus serve as a reminder that China’s leadership believes that the road to NATIONAL REJUVENATION demands structural changes to the world outside of China’s borders.


See also:   CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION; COMMUNITY OF COMMON DESTINY FOR ALL MANKIND; GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION; GREAT CHANGES UNSEEN IN A CENTURY;

Century of National Humiliation
百年国耻

In Chinese historiography, the decades between the conclusion of the First Opium War in 1842 and the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 are described as a “century of national humiliation.” In these decades China lost a series of wars with European powers, ceded control of Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Manchuria, the Amur River Basin, and Outer Mongolia to alien empires, was forced to grant extraterritorial rights to foreigners in China, lost sovereign control of its markets and currency, and was saddled with onerous indemnities. This period of external intervention culminated with the Japanese invasion of 1937, which lead to the death of some 20 million Chinese. The legacy of humiliation haunts Chinese intellectuals today and provides the Communist Party of China with one of its most emotionally powerful legitimizing narratives.

The term “national humiliation” [国耻] dates to the late 19th century and served as a common touchstone for the various nationalist movements that sought to “save the country” [救国] at the beginning of the 20th. The founders of the Communist Party of China began their careers as activists more interested in nationalist uplift than communist utopia. In the disciplined, militarized hierarchy of a Leninist party they saw a vehicle for rescuing their nation. “Only socialism can save China” [只有社会主义才能救中国] they declared, and to this day Party historians and officials argue that Republican era experiments with other political ideologies all failed to unite China or drive out imperialist influence.

This narrative erases the sacrifices made by millions of Chinese not associated with the Communist Party, as well as the success these sacrifices secured. It was under KMT rule that the Japanese were defeated, Western powers gave up their extraterritorial privileges in China, and China was given one of five seats on the UN Security Council. In Communist eyes these feats count for little, as they were all accomplished with the aid of imperialist powers. The early Communist leadership believed that only “cleaning out the house before inviting guests in” [打扫干净屋子再请客]—in other words, driving Westerners completely out of China before readmitting them on Chinese terms—could guarantee the founding of a NEW CHINA free from the taint of imperialist influence. The Communist version of eradicating  national humiliation thus began with the foundation of the People’s Republic of China and was confirmed by Chinese success against “American imperialism” in the Korean War.   

By instructing the children of China to chant “never forget national humiliation” (勿忘国耻) the Party legitimizes this founding moment. It also suggests to the Chinese people what nightmares might occur if Party rule falters. The century of humiliation is a narrative of victimhood. It presumes an innocent China thrust into a dangerous world, there victimized by rapacious foreigners eager to feed on any nation too weak to maintain its sovereignty. Foreign opposition to Chinese policy today is easily reframed as a continuation of this antique pattern.  Under this schema China is still a victim of undeserved hostility; without the guiding hand of a strong and united Party, these hostile forces will force national humiliation on the Chinese people once again.

See also: GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION; NEW CHINA

Great Changes Unseen in a Century
百年未有的大变局

The phrase “Great Changes Unseen in a Century,” sometimes translated by official party media as “Profound Changes Unseen in a Century,” was first used by Chinese academics following the Great Recession. The phrase is associated with the dangers and opportunities posed by American decline, and has been adopted by THE CENTER as a programmatic assessment of a changing world order. 

“Great Changes” was officially elevated into the party lexicon in 2017, when then-State Councilor Yang Jiechi described it as a guiding tenet of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy was formally adopted by the Party in a 2018 Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference, where Xi informed the collected leadership of the Chinese diplomatic corp and state security apparatus that

China now finds itself in the best period for development it has seen since the advent of the modern era; [simultaneously], the world faces great changes unseen in a century. These two [trends] are interwoven, advancing in lockstep; each stimulates the other. Now, and in the years to come, many advantageous international conditions exist for success in foreign affairs (Xi 2020).

Xi’s comments followed a tradition laid out in innumerable Party documents, speeches, and regulations, which present declarations of  policy, especially foreign policy, as following from an  assessment of the “overall landscape” [全局] “inherent tendencies” [大势], or “the great trends” [大趋势] of the historical moment in which the Party finds itself. “Great changes unseen in a century” is a shorthand for the central leadership’s current assessment of the future trajectory of the international order.

The slogan invokes a slew of great changes that shook global politics one century ago: the collapse of British hegemony and the European imperial system following WWI and the concurrent rise of the United States and the Soviet Union as the predominant powers of world politics. The slogan implies that a similar power transition is now underway, with America playing the role of faltering hegemon, and China the rising  power.  

More substantive discussions of the slogan by Chinese academics and state affiliated scholars trace this power transition to myriad causes: the growing wealth of the developing world, the rise of right-wing populism in Western countries, the debilitating effects that neoliberalism and identity politics have on American power, the resurgence of nationalism across the globe, advances in novel technologies not pioneered by the West, and the proliferation of non-traditional security threats (such as pandemics and terrorist attacks) are all common explanations for the crumbling of the American-led international order. 

Though the phrase was introduced in a rather triumphal tone, the slogan has taken on a darker valence as Sino-American relations have worsened and China has grown more isolated in the international arena. Party propagandists and Chinese academics alike now pair the phrase “great changes unforeseen in a century” with increasingly dire warnings about the unique risks and dangers China faces in the final stage of NATIONAL REJUVENATION. Thus the slogan has come to also signify a warning that China sails into uncharted waters. As Xi Jinping reported in his address to the 20th Congress:

Great changes unseen in a century are accelerating across the world… the once-in-a-century pandemic has had far-reaching effects; a backlash against globalization is rising; and unilateralism and protectionism are mounting… The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change… [where] external attempts to suppress and contain China may escalate at any time.

Our country has entered a period of development in which strategic opportunities, risks, and challenges are concurrent and uncertainties and unforeseen factors are rising... We must therefore be more mindful of potential dangers, be prepared to deal with worst-case scenarios, and be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms (Xi 2022).

See also: ADVANCING TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD; COMMUNITY OF COMMON DESTINY FOR ALL MANKIND; GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION

Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation
中华民族伟大复兴

General Secretaries of the Communist Party of China have described “national rejuvenation” [民族复兴] as the central mission of their Party since the Thirteenth Party Congress in 1987. Their wording intentionally echoes the language used by Sun Yat-sen and the nationalist revolutionaries who overthrew the Qing Dynasty at the cusp of the modern era. Those revolutionaries dreamed of restoring a broken nation to its traditional station at the center of human civilization.Though he lives a century after Sun Yat-sen’s death, Xi Jinping rarely gives a speech without endorsing the same aspiration. As Xi describes it, national rejuvenation is a “strategic plan” for “achieving lasting greatness for the Chinese nation” (Xi 2022). The formal term for this plan is the “National Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation,” a term that could be alternatively translated as the “National Rejuvenation of the Chinese Race.”

The work of a Leninist party is inherently goal oriented. Chinese governance depends on a  “high pressure system” [压力型体制] that uses a mix of campaign tactics and career incentives to focus the work of millions of cadres on a shared set of tasks, all of which are nested in a hierarchy of overarching goals. During the Maoist era China’s leadership identified the  “the realization of communism” as the “ultimate aim of the Party,” and proposed “victory in class struggle” as the path for reaching this end (Perrolle 1976). The CPC of today still endorses the“realization of communism” as the “highest ideal and ultimate aim” of the Party, but argues that “the highest ideal of communism pursued by Chinese Communists can be realized only when socialist society is fully developed and highly advanced,” a historical process that will “take over a century” to achieve (Constitution of the CPC 2022). In contrast, the “lasting greatness” associated with national rejuvenation can be accomplished on a more feasible timescale. The Party expects to lead the Chinese race to this desired end state by 2049, the centenary of the People’s Republic of China. Achieving the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation by this date is the overarching goal of the Chinese party-state.

To attain national rejuvenation, party leadership has argued that China must become a “great and modern socialist state” [社会主义现代化强国]. In Xi Jinping’s NEW ERA this imperative has been broken down into five aspirational end states: prosperity and strength [富强],democracy [民主], advanced culture [文明], social harmony [和谐], and beauty [美丽]. The first category emphasize the Party’s drive to build a country whose COMPOSITE NATIONAL POWER is commensurate with a civilization at the leading edge of modernity; the next three identify the desired relationship between the Communist Party and a unified Chinese nation; the last is associated with campaigns to reduce pollution and forge a healthier relationship between industrial development and the natural environment. 

With sub-components as broad as these, almost any policy promoted by THE CENTER falls under the remit of “national rejuvenation.” The breadth of this mandate is intentional. As communist utopia retreats ever further into the future, Party leadership has bet that reclaiming lost Chinese greatness is the one cause “the entire Party and all the Chinese people [will] strive for” (Xi 2022). 

See also: ADVANCING TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE; CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION

Key Core Technologies
关键核心技术

In official party terminology, the term “key core technologies” refers to all existing or emerging technologies that promise critical strategic advantages to nations that control their production, distribution, or use. The phrase is used most often when Party leaders and state planning documents discuss technologies that Chinese firms lack the ability to manufacture, or that they can only manufacture by relying on foreign suppliers for parts or expertise. The term is intended as a call to action. When a Chinese leader identifies a specific field or product as a “key core technology” he is urging cadres, scientists, and industrialists to build the academic, financial, industrial, or legal infrastructure China needs to engineer this technology with Chinese resources alone.

The phrase key core technologies first appeared in mid-2010s, but its antecedents predate Xi Jinping. Economic planning and science policy documents produced by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government in the early 2000s reference “core technologies in key areas” [关键领域核心技术]. The “National Medium and Long-term Science and Technology Development Plan Outline,” a communique published by the State Council in 2006, provides a typical example. The communique argues that “in key areas related to the lifeline of the national economy and national security, real core technologies cannot be bought.” (State Council 2006). The communique presents the indigenous development of these “core technologies” as a prerequisite for sovereign control of Chinese economic development. To secure Chinese economic growth on the long run, the communique directs officials to build a National Innovation System [国家创新体系] focused on achieving Chinese self-sufficiency in eleven “important fields and priority topics,” eight “cutting-edge fields,” and four “fields of basic research,” including renewable energy, materials science, and protein research.

These documents largely operate in a market-friendly frame. The core technologies in key fields were presented as essential to the modernization of the Chinese economy. Chinese firms would learn to engineer these technologies not by isolating themselves from the global economy, but by integrating with it. This reflected the consensus of the times: China faced a rare PERIOD OF STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITY where foreign capital and know-how could safely serve the REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION

This consensus eroded in the 2010s. Over this decade Chinese science and technology policy became more ambitious, more security-oriented, and more state-directed. These changes are reflected in the highest level guidance offered by Xi Jinping. Indigenous innovation is a central component of his NEW DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT [新发展理念], a framework for reorienting Chinese economic planning towards what Xi Jinping calls “high quality development.” During the reform era Chinese economic growth was largely driven by investments in fixed assets and cheap foreign exports. Xi’s New Development Concept, in contrast, calls for a growth model anchored in high end manufacturing at the edge of the technological frontier. 

Under the aegis of the NEW DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT the phrase “key core technologies” entered top-level economic planning documents. The State Council published an “Innovation-Driven Development Strategy Outline” in 2016 which highlighted China’s inability to produce several key core technologies: 

We must also note that certain industries in our country are still at the mid- and low-end of the global value chain, and certain key core technologies are under others’ control. Developed countries still have a clear lead in [advancing] the scientific frontier and high-tech fields (State Council 2016, emphasis added).

To mitigate China’s relative weakness in the global value chain, the outline proposes a three-stage plan: first, the Chinese state must construct a functioning national innovation system and a MODERATELY PROSPEROUS SOCIETY by 2020; then, it must achieve a leading position in the global science and technology ecosystem by 2030; finally, it must become a “strong techno-scientific power” and achieve NATIONAL REJUVENATION by 2050. 

The outline provides specific directions for which fields of technology must see progress, and by which dates progress must be made. The list is a useful portrait of what sort of technologies are considered “key” and “core.” By 2020, the outline instructs, the Chinese party-state must construct national research-industrial complexes for:  

  • High-end general-purpose chips
  • High-end CNC machine tools
  • Integrated circuit equipment
  • Broadband mobile communications
  • Oil and gas field technology
  • Nuclear power
  • Water pollution control
  • Genetically modified crops
  • New pharmaceutical drugs
  • Infectious disease prevention and control.

By 2030 the same should be accomplished for:

  • Aero-engine and gas turbines
  • Quantum communications
  • Novel information network technology
  • Intelligent manufacturing and robotics
  • Deep space and deep-sea exploration
  • Materials science 
  • Emerging energy sources
  • Brain science
  • Medical systems and care (State Council 2016). 

While many of these technologies have military applications, the drive to establish “technological self-sufficiency and self-empowerment” [科技自立自强] in these fields has more to do with economic security than military power. Dependence on foreign technology meant that China’s future economic growth might be held hostage by HOSTILE FORCES outside of China. These fears were soon vindicated by American export controls. Beijing could no longer trust that it would have access to key technologies on the global marketplace. If China was to successfully construct a NEW DEVELOPMENT PATTERN that relied on Chinese resources to power Chinese growth, then China must possess the ability to produce cutting edge innovations independent of the West. “Breakthroughs in key core technologies,” Xi Jinping concluded in 2020, are a “significant question” in the success or failure of “our state’s development pattern and the key to forming [a development pattern] with our domestic large-scale cycle [of goods and services] as the mainstay [of our economy]” (People’s Daily 2020). 

Assessing the progress of this program is difficult. After the key core technologies schema was codified in the Fourteenth Five Year Plan in 2020, China’s central government ministries and provincial governments began publishing lists of research complexes and megaprojects that they have funded to accelerate technological self-sufficiency. Economists who have studied these lists note that funding is concentrated in sectors where Chinese firms currently have competitive advantages or where there are reasonable prospects of developing such an advantage on the short term. In other words, investment is being channeled technologies that where Chinese firms have the potential to leap-frog over current market leaders, allowing China to pass developed nations “on the curve” [弯道超车] (Naughton et al 2023). However, these efforts are tied to benchmarks that lie many years in the future. Their success or failure may not be apparent for years to come.     

See also:  NEW DEVELOPMENT PATTERN; NEW DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT; ADVANCING TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE; NEW ROUND OF TECHNO-SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION AND INDUSTRIAL TRANSFORMATION

Composite National Strength
综合国力

In Chinese political discourse, the concept of composite national strength is used by strategists and theorists of international relations as a general measure of power and rank. Sometimes translated as “comprehensive national power,” the concept was developed in the early 1980s by strategic analysts in the PLA Academy of Military Science who believed that standard measures of military power–such as naval tonnage or army size–did not capture the true strength of the two Cold War superpowers. They argued that any accurate estimate of national strength must incorporate the full suite of economic, scientific, diplomatic, political, and cultural resources that might contribute to international success. This aggregated measure of all potential elements of national power is a country’s composite national strength.

The concept of composite national strength dates back to the reforms of the 1980s. As the PRC reestablished diplomatic relations with the West, a wave of Chinese academics and theorists began to study Western political science and adapt it to Chinese conditions. An analyst in the strategic studies department at the PLA Academy of Military Science named Huang Shuofeng  introduced the phrase as a translation of “state power,” a term he encountered while studying the realist school of international relations theory. He would present his version of the concept to his colleagues in a 1985 conference on the strategic problems posed by Soviet-American rivalry. There Huang defined composite national strength as “the total strength (both material and non-material) and international influence that a sovereign state wields for its survival and development” (Huang 1999, 5). Huang argued that this type of national power can be naturally divided into seven components: political strength [政治力], economic strength [经济力], scientific and technological strength [科技力], military strength [国防力], cultural and educational strength [文教力], diplomatic strength [外交力], and natural resource endowments [资源力] (Huang 1999, 12). 

This complex of ideas spread across the Chinese strategic community in the decades that followed. Since 1985, the Chinese Academy of Science, the Chinese Academy of Social Science, the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, and the Academy of Military Science have all sponsored research projects or conferences devoted to different theories of composite national strength (Jia 2015).  However, there is no universal schema for calculating a country’s composite national strength. While there is general agreement among analysts that both material factors (such as industrial capacity) and less tangible factors (such as global cultural influence) must be integrated in any calculation, there is no consensus on which specific factors must be included, nor on the relative importance of any given element of power vis a vis the others. Thus even the most empirically rigorous attempts to calculate international rankings of composite national strength rely on the idiosyncratic judgments of individual researchers. 

The concept is employed far less wonkishly by generalist intellectuals and leading communist cadres. Deng Xiaoping was the first CORE LEADER to use the phrase. During his 1992 “Southern Tour” Deng employed the concept to justify further market reform. In place of the old ideological standards cadres used to use to evaluate policy, Deng proposed three “chief criterion” [三个有利于] for judging the failure and success of a new measure: “[does] it promote the growth of the productive forces in a socialist society, increase the composite national strength of the socialist state, or raise living standards?” (Deng 1992). This usage is typical. In the rhetoric of Chinese communism composite national strength is not a precise measure but a vague policy aim that can be loosely tied to development planning, security theory, technology development, or any other policy that might feasibly hasten the REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION.

SEE ALSO: DISCURSIVE POWER; TOTAL NATIONAL SECURITY PARADIGM

以实施“中国制造2025”为契机,加快创新型国家建设

借助改革开放的东风,“中国制造”享誉全球,中国产品遍布世界各地,大多数产品都彰显了“中国制造”的传奇,为中国成为第二大经济体立下了汗马功劳。然而,中国制造的产品主要是中低端产品和原始设备,不具备工业发展所需的科技创新优势,消耗大量资源,导致环境污染的负外部性严重,也在一定程度上削弱了中国产品的竞争优势。

中欧国际工商学院教授叶恩华、布鲁斯·麦科恩两位教授在《中国的下一个战略优势:从模仿到创新》一书中明确指出,工业发展的竞争优势应是技术或创新,而不是低廉的劳动成本。过去,中国制造业没有创新,主要在复制,因此“大而不强”。当时中国战略优势是低廉的劳动力成本和巨大的国内市场。这两个因素促使中国迅速发展,但现在只有这两项已经不够,创新成为中国政府的工作重心。创新会使中国制造业更强,但中国制造业不会“一夜之间”变强,可能需要10到20年的时间。

创新是人类社会走上现代化的推进器,是一个国家进步和发展最重要的因素之一。发展离不开创新,创新是引领发展的第一动力,是建设现代化经济体系的战略支撑。当今世界经济技术发展的实际情况也表明:在世界经济竞技的舞台上,只有科技创新能力强盛的国家才能在世界经济的交流与发展中发挥主导作用,引领世界发展的潮流。

对于一个经济体而言,科技创新对其经济增长永远具有意义,而工业是经济增长与发展的主要因素。没有工业制造业的发达就谈不上经济的发达,科学技术也没有了起源和存在的平台。科技与工业的融合成为经济加速发展的主战场,一旦科技发明集中爆发就会引起工业领域内的革命性变革。

人类已经进入第四次工业革命,即以智能化为核心,以人工智能、量子通信、物联网、虚拟现实等前沿技术为代表的新工业革命,基础是计算机、遗传工程、新材料和新能源。世界经济论坛创始人兼执行主席克劳斯·施瓦布在其著作《第四次工业革命》中,把无人交通工具(自动驾驶汽车和无人机)、人工智能、高级机器人、新材料、物联网、基因重组技术工程与细胞融合技术工程列为核心推动技术。在新一轮科技和产业革命尚未形成势头之际,人工智能、大数据、云计算被寄予厚望,成为创新的主战场,借助大数据的自我学习提升人类自身能力的边界,强化互联网安全问题,抑或借助物联网技术打通用户大数据、制造业流程大数据、物流供应链大数据,从而推动智能制造产业革命,有关“互联网+”的探索正在与越来越多的细分业态发生化学反应。

创新意味着引领时代,在以第四次工业革命到来为特征的全球创新浪潮的驱动下,中国只有走创新型经济发展的道路,不断提升工业制造的创新能力,勇于推进工业革命的发展,加快创新型国家建设,才能对世界经济产生巨大的影响,同时促进国内经济社会可持续健康发展。技术创新给我们带来的改变是不可想象的,我们要拥抱创新,拥抱第四次工业革命。

党的十八大提出,实施创新驱动发展战略,科技创新是提高社会生产力和综合国力的战略支撑,必须摆在国家发展全局的核心位置。随着“中国制造2025”的实施,“中国制造”正在向“中国智造”“中国创造”转变,在世界经济舞台上走出一条从模仿、追随到引领的发展道路,而这背后的秘诀便是创新。

“中国制造2025”提出要提高制造业的生产率,向自己以前未涉足过的领域进军,更加注重高科技产品的研发和国内市场的开拓。在创新战略的指引下,今天,我们在众多科技发展领域也取得了进展。总体创新排名方面——世界知识产权组织和康奈尔大学等机构联合发布的《2017年全球创新指数报告》,中国国际排名从2016年的第25位升至第22位,成为唯一进入前25的中等收入国家,已经成功跻身全球创新领导者行列。

目前,我国仍面临着关键核心技术掌握不足、处于价值链中低端等困境。要改变这一不利局面,唯一的道路就是要完善创新链条,促进产学研协同创新,解决重大共性技术难题,加快创新成果向现实生产力转化,积极推进创新型国家建设;同时,继续深化产权制度和科技体制改革,加强知识产权保护,完善人才激励政策,优化创新环境,发挥企业的创新主体作用,让创新等一切社会活力竞相迸发。

在未来30多年的综合国力提升的道路上,我们必须继续在创新中寻找出路,只有坚持创新驱动,敢于创新、勇于变革,才能突破经济增长和发展的瓶颈,成为新工业革命的引领者。

为此,我们可以从以下几方面着手推动创新。

第一,系统性构建知识创新系统、技术创新系统、知识传播系统和制度创新系统以及各类支持辅助系统,使其各有侧重、相互交叉、互相支持,构成一个运行有序、统一开放的国家创新型经济发展系统。国家创新型经济发展系统是从系统构建的战略视角来全面提升国家的创新能力,是各种创新要素在文化、体制、制度等宏观创新环境和多元创新主体构成的创新网络融合互动下形成的创新合力,必须避免创新系统“失灵”的困境,从深层次的制度根源入手对创新系统进行改革。

首先,应深化各类体制改革,包括科技体制、教育文化体制、财税金融与投资体制、国有企业体制、知识产权制度等方面的改革与完善,理顺激励科技创新的政策,联合多元化的创新主体,寻求共同的社会经济目标,以激励相容的导向建立联动型的创新网络,将创新作为变革和发展的关键动力,促进社会科技资源的有效配置和集成科技创新。

其次,应建立以企业为主体、产学研相结合、政府相关部门参与提供服务的综合技术创新体系,并以此为突破口,全面推进具有中国特色的国家创新体系的建设,进一步优化科技结构布局和科技人才的配置,激发全社会的创新活力。

最后,政府应在改革和战略转型中优化创新环境,以形成科技创新整体的合理性,为建设创新型国家和发展创新型经济提供良好的制度和机制保障。

第二,推进我国创新主体主导模式的改革。我国科技创新传统上偏向于政府推动。在科技创新体系中,我国传统的科技创新模式往往是通过政府政策和直接投资,或由政府所辖的科研院所和大学推动,是典型的“政府主导模式”,政府制定创新政策,政府作为创新投入主体,创新资源由政府进行分配,创新很大程度上是完成政府任务,政府在科技创新的过程中扮演着“万能”的角色。但随着市场经济改革的逐步深化和民营企业的壮大,政府主导模式的弊端开始凸显出来,比如创新执行者缺乏动力、创新效率低下等。

因此,一方面,需要改变政府主导型的创新模式,重新定位政府在创新中的角色,让政府在支持战略性研发和基础性研发、引导企业的技术创新和产业发展方向、建设科技基础设施等方面发挥重要的作用;

另一方面,企业应成为国家创新活动的主体,成为整个创新系统的核心,创新能力也是企业竞争力的重要体现。这样,牢固企业在国家创新体系中的主导性地位,这是提升国家创新能力的重要手段。只有以企业为创新主体,才有可能坚持技术创新的市场导向,迅速实现科技成果的产业化和商业化,提高我国企业的市场竞争力。

第三,推进我国创新型经济发展体系的建设。在国家创新体系中,高等院校和科研机构是知识和技术的重要源泉,企业是知识和技术的主要执行者,企业、高校和科研机构三者共同构成了国家创新体系的核心,缺一不可。民间创新的构思也是提升国家创新能力的重要基石,对推进中国的创新文化有深远的影响。对此要进行的创新型经济发展体系建设,首先,要建设世界一流科研院所、一流大学和一流学科,增强原始创新能力和服务经济社会发展能力。

明晰科研院所和大学的功能定位,增强科研院所在基础前沿和行业共性关键科学技术研发中的骨干引领作用,强化大学基础学科研究,推动一批学科进入世界前列;引导科研院所和大学紧紧围绕国家重大科研任务,有效整合优势科研资源,组建跨学科、综合交叉的科研团队,形成综合性、高水平的国际化科研创新基地。

其次,要推进企业体制改革和产权制度的完善,全力培育世界一流的创新型企业,鼓励行业领头羊构建高水平研发中心,形成完善的科学研究和新技术开发组织体系,聚集高端人才,联合行业内外中小企业、科研院所和大学系统布局创新链条,提供产业技术创新整体解决方案。

第四,构建专业化、市场化的技术转移服务体系,加快我国科研成果的市场转化。在创新型经济建设中,高度重视技术转化服务体系的催化作用,发展研发设计、创业孵化、检验检测认证、知识产权等各类科技服务。同时,完善全国各类专业化的技术交易市场和市场化的知识产权交易平台,畅通技术和知识产权转移通道。

由此可以看出,更为有效地推动我国创新型国家建设,提升我国创新能力的战略目标应该是:在技术的市场开发上,建立一个以企业为主体,以市场为导向,产学研联盟,结合民间资源的创新协同网络;在基础研究和重大科技攻关上,走一条以政府为主导,以科研院所、大学和企业为主干力量,在政府协调、辅助和监管下,多方力量共同推进创新进程的自主创新之路。

提升科技实力的战略选择

科技实力是一国综合国力的核心组成部分。科学技术尤其是高科技及其产业化正成为社会进步的第一动力,迅速地改变着整个世界的格局,高科技的许多关键领域,如外层空间、深海开发、生物工程、信息工程、新能源、新材料的探究正在改变国与国之间的实力对比。一些国家通过高科技及其带动的产业结构的调整,其综合国力得到较快提升。

目前,中国的科技水平特别是高科技能力,与世界最发达的美、俄、日、德、英、法和以色列等国相比还有差距。要缩短和发达国家的科技差距,提高科技实力对综合国力的贡献,还需在很多方面努力。

一、改革教育体制,提高全民素质,培育科技精英

在知识经济时代,一个国家综合国力中最核心的部分就是科技实力,而科技实力需要依托教育,教育是科技实力构成要素中的基础性要素。科技实力的提升是在教育、培养人才的基础上开展和进行的,现代生产越是建立在高度发达的科技基础之上,对教育的依赖程度就越高。一个国家的资源开发和高效利用离不开科学技术,科技实力的提升离不开教育的基础性工作。

中国的教育从纵向发展来看,确实有了很大的提高。但如果横向比较,从教育质量上看,中国仍需高度重视教育的发展,继续进行教育改革。

具体改革包括:

第一,加大教育投入占GDP的比重。尽管我国教育支出占财政、GDP比重不断加大,但占GDP的比例远低于发达国家,也低于世界平均水平。美、英、法、德、日等发达国家2009年起其教育投入占GDP的比重均超过4%,其中,美国已达到6.22%。联合国教科文组织在20世纪曾呼吁,世界各国在2000年实现教育支出占比达到6%。截至2019年,中国教育投入占GDP比例连续7年保持在4%以上,离6%的目标还有一定差距,还没有达到科技对教育基础作用的要求,制约着我国科技实力水平的提高,因此在今后30年内,要加大教育经费的投入,逐步达到6.5%。

第二,适应未来城市化战略的需要,调整教育经费的支出结构,重新规划中小学布局和教育模式。未来,伴随城镇化、工业化和农业现代化的发展,人口大量迁入中小城市。在教育经费支出中,要重点支持县城及以上中小学的增容扩建,广泛接纳新市民子女入学,合理布局乡村学校,让中小学教育在经济文化较为发达的城市中发展增强,同时可适当减少学制,将小学与中学阶段学年各减少一年,减少学生在校时间,可以每周增加一天的校外活动时间,增加学生接触社会的机会,以全面提高学生素质,包括身体素质在内的综合素质。

改革考试体制机制与考试模式,在高中阶段要减少纯粹书本知识,增加个人素质方面考题,以促进学生实际应用能力、创造创新能力的逐步提高。对西部少数民族和内地老少边穷地区交通不发达的中小学,需要加大教育经费支援,扶持因当地财力不足而造成的教育弱化,在维护教育公平的基础上全面提升全民素质。

第三,借鉴科技发达国家经验,改革高等教育模式。高校担负着保存知识、传播知识、创造知识、培养人才的基本任务,其中少数顶尖级名校还要为国家和社会培养精英,通过加快科学研究与创新,引领社会进步。目前,中国的高等教育体制未能很好地适应时代发展的要求,所设计的专业与经济和社会发展需求脱节。

国家应大力推进改革调整,把普通高校推向社会,实现优胜劣汰,国家不负责包揽全部教育经费,但可以选择一些重点学科与重点实验室予以支持,资金主要来源于学校自筹和社会捐助,地方财政根据本地经济社会事业的情况择优支持为辅;

在教育宗旨上,普通高校要将知识传授和职业技术培养并举,以应用科学为主,不提倡培养高端的学术研究型博士及以上的人才;所培养的毕业生要适应社会需要,大量充实到社会各领域,保证社会对各层次人才的需求。

对于“985高校”,国家要给予特殊的政策、财力支持,赋予其培养高端精英人才的使命;大学内部彻底去行政化,淘汰和减少非教师人员,改革学制和培养模式,专注于顶尖级的国家基础和世界前沿学术研究,适当减少研究生特别是博士生的招生人数,让少而精的博士成为未来科技精英;

高校教师要取消终身制,竞争上岗,优中选精,让其为国家和整个人类培养和塑造引领世界的真正科技精英。国外和中国的历史经验也证明,绝大部分顶尖级的科学领军人才都是世界一流高校培养出来的。

二、建立国家引导、企业为主体的科技创新体制

创新是引领发展的第一动力,也是我们应对风险挑战的坚实支撑。一个国家整体科技实力的增强,要靠建立和完善以提高自主创新能力为核心、促进科技和经济社会发展紧密结合为重点的机制和体制。国家要根据国际前沿和人类科技发展的大趋势,引导整个社会进行科技创新,解决制约科技创新的突出问题,充分发挥科技在转方式、调结构、惠民生、促和谐中的支撑引领作用,建设国家创新体系。

在国家创新体系中,建立企业主导产业技术研发创新的体制机制。政府要出台各种经济和社会政策对企业研发创新进行引导、帮扶,并促进技术、人才等创新要素向一批举世瞩目的标志性创新成果聚集,让创新成果惠及更多的人。

当今,几乎所有发达国家都是以企业为科技创新的主体,在企业创新的基础上,产生国家层面上的宏观、大型、基础性科研项目成果。过去一段时间,中国企业整体的科技研发创新不足或水平低下,影响了整个国家的科技实力。因此,今后要真正落实建立以国家为引导、企业为主体的科技创新体制的完善措施,加快国企改革,解决国企的体制、机制、结构、产权归属和历史遗留问题,以更好地解决企业市场导向的科技创新问题,加快科技成果的转化。

需要说明的是,近年来我国科研人员发表的论文数量已经逐步追上美国。但是这些论文的平均引用率、科研成果转化率,一直与国外存在差距。目前的科研评价体系使得科学家不愿意耗费大量人力、物力去做成果转化的工作;企业有动力但缺乏技术基础,往往很难有能力、有实力去承担转化工作。

因此,对于应用技术研究项目,应加强对成果转化情况的考核评价,设定对应的评价指标;科研院所和高等院校要更多地为企业技术创新提供支持和服务;鼓励科技人员创办科技型企业。企业应根据国内外市场需求和政府的宏观规划,竞相实施对领先技术产品的研发,相互启发,相互竞争,优胜劣汰。

这样,推动以市场为导向、以政府为支撑的科研创新体系加快运转,各种类型的先进产品及其技术就会不断涌现,最终提升国家的科技实力和科学水平。

自胜者强,自强者胜。实践反复告诉我们,关键核心技术是要不来、买不来、讨不来的,创新还是要靠自己。面对日益激烈的国际科技竞争,面对各种风险挑战,最需要的是科学理性的态度、奋发有为的行动。下定决心,坚定不移地走自主创新之路,破解“缺芯少魂”之痛,夯实创新发展之基,把关键核心技术牢牢掌握在自己手中,我们就能始终立于不败之地,牢牢把握经济社会发展的主动权。

科技兴则民族兴,科技强则国家强。实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标,实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,必须坚持走中国特色自主创新道路,面向世界科技前沿、面向经济主战场、面向国家重大需求,加快各领域科技创新,掌握全球科技竞争先机。

当今世界,经济全球化的历史大势不可阻挡,新一轮科技革命和产业变革方兴未艾,坚持开放合作、共同发展,顺应时代潮流,也符合科技创新的内在规律。自主创新是开放环境下的创新,要聚四海之气、借八方之力。

三、加大科研投入,积极引进国外先进科技

综合国力构成要素中,科技最关键。经济增长、军事增强、文化教育都离不开科技支撑。科技力量要壮大,就要有投入。当今世界排名靠前的几个国家,其综合国力之所以处于世界前列,就是由于科技对经济和军事实力的贡献率提高了,带动了经济发展和军事力量升级。

美国、日本、德国经济发达主要体现在高技术附加值的贡献率,它们靠消耗少、技术含量高的科技密集型产业、产品推动了经济发展;美俄军事强大是靠精确制导、远距离打击的高科技武器支撑。没有高科技支撑,经济和国防是强大不了的。

反过来,发达的经济和强大的国防力量又能推动和引导科技研发的投入,没有雄厚的经费投入和军备竞赛的刺激,科技实力也无法提升。美国在科技方面的投资超过了世界上其他国家,德国、日本的科技实力之所以强,得益于其科研经费的高投入。

改革开放以来,我国科研投入的规模总体上呈逐年上升之势,各级财政每年用于科研投入的力度不断加大。2018年美国的研发投入占GDP比重约为2.8%,而以色列和韩国的研发费用占GDP比重更是高达4.5%,德国科研投入占GDP的比重已升至3.13%。

对此,中国需落实和完善全社会研究开发经费逐步增长的政策措施,进一步增加科研投入的GDP占比,在“十三五”规划及以后的发展规划中科研经费占比要逐步向美国看齐。在加大投入的基础上健全科技投入体系,加强统筹部署和协同科技创新,重点放在技术创新、知识创新、国防科技创新等体系,提高创新体系整体效能;注重对基础研究的投入,加大对制药、软件、半导体、航空等薄弱领域的研发。

在科研经费的投向上:

一要注意增加科研人员保障性和经常性的科研经费投入比例,提高科研人员特别是中青年科学家的生活、工作待遇,保护和扩大他们思想自由独立的空间,让他们更乐意把时间、精力花在科研和提高学术水平上。

二要注意国家向企业科研经费过少的投入和渠道的缺乏。一般来说,企业很难参与科研经费分配,特别是那些对生产率贡献较大的民企,政府应认识到科技创新的主体是企业,由企业负责科研成果的市场转化工作,改变大学和科研机构科研资金比重过大的情况,把大量科研经费投入企业研发中。

另外,还要正确处理好发明与引进的关系,在加大国内科技研发投入的同时,积极利用我国外汇储备的雄厚实力和部分稀缺资源的垄断地位,向发达国家购买或以稀缺资源交换它们的先进科技和发明专利权,缩短我国研发周期。

Using “Made in China 2025” as an Opportunity to Accelerate the Construction of an Innovative Country

Leveraging the momentum of Reform and Opening Up, “Made in China” has become world-renowned, with Chinese products spread throughout the world. Most products display the [label] “Made in China,” which has contributed greatly to making China the world’s second largest economy. However, products made in China are primarily mid- to low-end products and OEM products.1 These products do not confer the advantages of technological innovation, which are required for industrial development; they require massive resources [to produce]; they cause serious negative externalities like environmental pollution; and to a certain extent, they weaken the competitiveness of Chinese products.

In their book China’s Next Strategic Advantage: from Imitation to Innovation, Professors George Yip and Bruce McKern from the China Europe International Business School clearly point out that [healthy] industrial development should rely on a competitive advantage in technology or innovation capacity, not on low labor costs.2 In the past, China’s manufacturing industry did not innovate and primarily copied, making it “big but not strong.” At that time, China’s strategic advantages were low labor costs and a huge domestic market. These two factors spurred China’s rapid development, but now these two factors are no longer enough. Innovation has become the focus of the Chinese government; it will make China’s manufacturing industry stronger, but it will not happen overnight. It may require 10 to 20 years.

Innovation is the propeller of modernization in human society. It is one of the most important factors in a country’s progress and development. Development is inseparable from innovation; innovation is the primary driving force of development and the strategic [backbone] for building a modern economic system. The actual circumstances of economic and technological development in today’s world also show that, on the stage of global economic competition, only countries with strong scientific and technological innovation capabilities can play a leading role in the exchange of goods and services in the global economy or lead [the direction of] global development.

Technological innovation is always important to the growth of any economic system. Industry is the primary source of economic growth and development. Without the development of industrial manufacturing, economic development would not be possible, to say nothing of the origin and existence of science and technology. The fusion point of science, technology, and industry has become the primary battleground for accelerated economic development. Once a concentrated explosion of scientific and technological invention occurs it will cause revolutionary changes in industry.

Humanity has already entered the fourth industrial revolution3–a new industrial revolution with intelligence at its core, embodied in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence,4 quantum communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual reality. The foundation [of this revolution] is computers, genetic engineering, new materials, and new energy. In his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, names unmanned vehicles (self-driving cars and drones), artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, new materials, the Internet of Things, genetic recombination engineering, and cellular fusion technology as core driving technologies.5 At a time when this new round of techno-scientific revolution and industrial transformation has not yet gained its [full] momentum, there are grand expectations for artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing and [these areas] have become the main battlefield for innovation. [In this battlefield], self-learning systems that use big data will expand the boundaries of human capabilities, strengthen internet security, and will utilize IoT technology to connect big data from users, manufacturing processes, and logistics supply chains, thereby spurring an industrial revolution in intelligent manufacturing. Explorations of “Internet +” are having a chemical-like reaction with more and more segmented industries.

Innovation leads every era. Driven by the global wave of innovation brought by the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, China has no choice but to take the path of innovative economic development, continuously improving the innovative capabilities of industrial manufacturing, daring to advance the development of this industrial revolution, and accelerating the construction of an innovative country. [Only by doing this] can China have an enormous impact on the world economy while also promoting the sustainable and healthy development of its domestic economy. Technological innovation has brought us unimaginable changes, and we must embrace innovation. We must embrace the fourth industrial revolution.

The 18th Party Congress pointed out that implementing an innovation-driven development strategy6 requires techno-scientific innovation to act as the strategic backbone for improving society’s productivity and composite national strength. This must be placed at the core of the overall configuration of national development. With the implementation of Made in China 2025,7 “Made in China” will transform into “Intelligently Made in China” and “Created in China.” [The role that] China’s development path will play on the international economic stage evolves from imitation to leadership. The secret behind this [transformation] is innovation.

Made in China 2025 aims to improve the productivity of manufacturing, expand [manufacturing] to new areas, and focus more on the research and development of high-tech products and the development of the domestic market. Under the guidance of this innovation strategy, China has made progress in many areas of techno-scientific development. In terms of overall innovation rankings, China’s international ranking rose in the 2017 Global Innovation Index Report,8 which is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, and other institutions. China’s ranking rose from 25th in 2016 to 22nd [in 2017], making China the only country among the world’s top 25 middle-income countries to be listed as a leader of global innovation.

At present, our country is still facing difficulties such as insufficient mastery of key core technologies and being trapped in the middle and at the low end of the value chain. The only way to change this unfavorable situation is to improve our innovation chain; promote collaborative innovation between industry, academia, and research entities; solve major general purpose technology problems; accelerate the rate at which new innovations are put into industrial use, and actively promote the construction of an innovative country. At the same time, [we must] continue to deepen reform of the property rights system and our techno-scientific structure, strengthen intellectual property protection, improve talent incentive policies, optimize the innovation environment, fully leverage the role of enterprises in innovation, and let innovation and social vitality burst forth through competition.

On our road to increasing China’s composite national strength over the next 30+ years, we need to continue to relentlessly pursue innovation. Only by persisting in our drive for innovation and daring to innovate and change can we break through the bottlenecks to economic growth and development and become the leader of the new industrial revolution.

To this end, we can promote innovation in the following respects:

1. Systematically build a knowledge innovation system, technological innovation system, knowledge dissemination system, and institutional innovation system, as well as supporting and auxiliary systems, with each having their own focus while also overlapping and supporting each other. Together they will form an orderly, cohesive, and open system for innovative economic development. A national innovative economic development system is, from the strategic perspective of systems construction, [meant to] comprehensively enhance the country’s innovation capabilities. [This system] is an innovative force formed through the integration and interaction of various innovation elements in the macro-innovation environment, such as culture, systems, institutions, and an innovation network composed of diverse innovative entities. [We] must avoid an innovation system “malfunction.” Reform must begin with the deep-seated institutional roots [of problems].

First: we must deepen the reform and improvement of various systems, including scientific and technological systems; education and cultural systems; fiscal, tax, finance, and investment systems; state-owned enterprise systems; and intellectual property systems. [We must] streamline policies for encouraging techno-scientific innovation, integrate diverse innovation entities, seek common social and economic objectives, and establish a linked innovation network oriented toward compatible incentives, using innovation as the key driving force for reform and development and promoting the effective allocation of social and techno-scientific resources and the integration of techno-scientific innovation.

Second: [We] must establish a comprehensive system for technological innovation that has enterprise as its mainstay, and that combines industry, academia and research with the participation of relevant government departments. This system should [serve as] a breakthrough in comprehensively promoting the construction of a national innovation system with Chinese characteristics, further optimizing the layout of China’s techno-scientific structure and the cultivation of techno-scientific talent, and stimulating the innovativeness of society as a whole. 

Finally: we must optimize the innovation environment in [policies for] reform and strategic transformation, forming an overall rationale for techno-scientific innovation and providing good institutional mechanisms and safeguards for building an innovative country and developing an innovative economy.   

2. Promote the reform of China’s enterprise-driven innovation model. In China, technological and scientific innovation has traditionally been promoted by the government. In its techno-scientific innovation system, China’s traditional innovation model has usually been promoted through government policies and direct investment, or by scientific research institutions and universities under government jurisdiction. This is a typical “government-driven model.” The government formulates policies for innovation, the government acts as the main investor in innovation, and the government allocates resources for innovation. Innovation, to a large degree, is a government task and the government plays an “omnipotent” role in the techno-scientific innovation process. However, with the gradually deepening market reforms and growth of private enterprises, the disadvantages of this government-driven model have become increasingly apparent, such as the lack of motivation among those [involved in] innovation and the low [level of] efficiency in innovation.

Therefore, on the one hand, it is necessary to change the government-driven model and reposition the government’s role in innovation.  The government [should instead] serve the important functions of supporting strategic and basic research and development, guiding the direction of technological innovation and industrial development of enterprises, and building techno-scientific infrastructure. 

On the other hand, enterprises should become the mainstay of national innovation activity and the core of the overall innovation system. Innovation capabilities are also an important reflection of corporate competitiveness. In this way, consolidating the position of enterprises as leaders in the national innovation system is an important means of enhancing the country’s innovation capacity. Only with enterprises as the mainstay of innovation will it be possible to maintain a market orientation toward technological innovation, quickly achieve the industrialization and commercialization of technological or scientific developments, and improve the market competitiveness of China’s enterprises. 

3. Promote the construction of China’s innovative economic development system. In China’s national innovation system, universities and scientific research institutions are important sources of knowledge and technological [breakthroughs], and enterprises are the primary implementers of knowledge and technology. Together, enterprises, universities, and scientific research institutions form the core of the national innovation system; each one is indispensable. The concept of non-government innovation is also an important cornerstone of improvement in China’s innovation capability and plays a significant role in driving China’s culture of innovation. In order to build an innovative economic development system, China must first build world-class scientific research institutions, world-class universities, and world-class fields of study,9 [which will] strengthen China’s original innovation capabilities and contribute to economic and social development.

First: We clarify the functions of scientific research institutions and universities. We strengthen the leading role of scientific research institutions as the backbone of the research and development of basic and frontier technologies, as well as in the research and development of general-purpose technologies. We strengthen university research in basic scientific disciplines, and [raise] a number of scientific disciplines to world-class status. [We must] guide scientific research institutions and universities to focus closely on the major scientific research tasks [prioritized by the government] and effectively integrate and optimize scientific research resources. We must form interdisciplinary and comprehensive scientific research teams, which will be a foundation for comprehensive, high-level, and international innovation in scientific research. 

Next: We must promote reform in corporate structures and in the intellectual property regime. We must strive to cultivate world-class, innovative enterprises; encourage industry leaders to build high-level research and development systems; form a complete organizational system for scientific research and new technology research and development; and consolidate high-end talent, systematically laying out an innovation chain that unites small and medium-sized enterprises, scientific research institutions, and universities within and across industries, providing comprehensive solutions for industrial technological innovation.

4. Build a professional, market-oriented technology transfer system to accelerate the commercialization of China’s scientific research achievements. In the construction of an innovative economy, a high level of focus [must be] attached to the catalytic role of a technology commercialization system, and the development of various techno-scientific services like research and development design; start-up incubation; inspection, testing, and certification; and intellectual property rights. At the same time, various nationwide specialized technology trading markets and market-oriented intellectual property trading platforms should be perfected, [allowing for] unimpeded channels of technology and intellectual property transfer.

From this it can be seen that the strategic objective of effectively promoting the construction of China as an innovative country and enhancing China’s innovation capabilities should be [as follows]: with regard to the market development of technology, establishing a market-oriented industry-university-research alliance with enterprises as the mainstay, [forming] an innovation collaborative network that incorporates non-government resources. With regard to basic and fundamental techno-scientific research, [China] should take a government-driven approach with scientific research institutions, universities, and enterprises as the backbone. With the coordination, assistance, and oversight of the government, multiple forces will work together to advance [China’s progress] on the path of indigenous innovation. 

The Strategic Choice to Enhance Scientific and Technological Strength 

Techno-scientific strength is the core component of a country’s composite national strength. Science and technology, particularly advanced science and technology with industrial uses, have become the primary driving force in social progress and have rapidly changed the international landscape. Many key high-tech areas, like outer space [exploration], deep sea development, bioengineering, information engineering, and the exploration of new energy and new materials are changing the balance of power between countries. Some countries have rapidly enhanced their composite national strength through advanced technology and the adjustments in industrial structure driven by these advances.

Currently, China’s level of techno-scientific development, particularly its high-tech capabilities, still lags behind the world’s most developed countries like the U.S., Russia, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Israel. In many respects, there is still much hard work necessary in order to shrink the gap between Chinese science and technology of China and that of the developed countries, as well as to increase the contribution of science and technology to China’s composite national strength.

1. Reform the Education System, [Raise the Caliber of] the People, and Cultivate a Techno-Scientific Elite

In the era of the knowledge economy, the most crucial component of a country’s composite national strength is techno-scientific strength. This in turn is dependent on education. Education is the fundamental element of techno-scientific strength. Enhancing techno-scientific strength is based on and carried out through the education and cultivation of talent. The more that modern production is based on highly-developed science and technology, the more it is dependent on education. The development and efficient utilization of a country’s resources is inseparably linked to science and technology, and the enhancement of techno-scientific strength is inseparably linked to the foundational work of education.

From the perspective of vertical development, China’s education has really made great progress. However, when assessed from a horizontal perspective and from the perspective of education quality, China still needs to focus significantly on the development of education and continue to implement educational reform. 

Specific reforms include the following:

1. Increase the proportion of GDP invested in education. Although China’s expenditures on education account for a growing proportion of fiscal expenditures and GDP, the proportion of GDP is still far lower than that of developed countries and is lower than the international average. Since 2009, developed countries like the U.S., UK, France, Germany, and Japan have invested over 4% of their GDPs in education. Among them, U.S. investment has reached 6.22%. In the 20th Century, UNESCO called on all countries to expend at least 6% of GDP on education by the year 2000.10 As of 2019, China’s education investment as a proportion of GDP had remained above 4% for seven consecutive years, still short of its 6% target. This is not yet at the level required for science and technology [to serve as] the foundation of education, which limits [the growth potential] of China’s techno-scientific strength. Therefore, in the next 30 years, China needs to increase investment in educational expenditures, gradually reaching 6.5% [of GDP].

2. To adapt to the requirements of future urbanization, adjust the support structures for educational funding and reorganize the layout and educational models for primary and secondary schools. In the future, with increasing urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural modernization, a large number of people will move to small and medium-sized cities. In terms of supporting educational expenses, China needs to focus on supporting the expansion of primary and secondary schools at the county level and above,11 [liberally] admit children of new [urban] residents,12 and rationally distribute [resources among] rural schools, allowing primary and secondary education to develop and strengthen in cities that are more economically and culturally developed. At the same time, [China] should, when appropriate, reduce the duration of [required] schooling, reducing primary and secondary school duration by one year each. One day for extracurricular activities could be added each week, increasing students’ opportunities to engage with society and thereby improving the caliber of students.13 [The concept of a student’s caliber] should be comprehensive, including physical caliber as well.      

The examination system and model [should be] reformed, reducing [the degree of] pure book knowledge required at the high school level and increasing the personal quality of exam questions, so as to promote the gradual improvement of students’ ability to practically apply knowledge, think creatively, and become more innovative. [We] must increase funding and support for primary and secondary schools in western ethnic minority areas and impoverished inland areas. We must alleviate weakened education caused by insufficient local financial resources. Maintaining educational equity will comprehensively improve the quality of the entire people.

3. Learn from the experience of technologically developed countries to reform China’s model of higher education. Colleges and universities are responsible for the basic tasks of preserving knowledge, disseminating knowledge, creating knowledge, and cultivating talent. Among them, a few top-notch universities also cultivate elites for the country and society, leading social progress by accelerating scientific research and innovation. Currently, China’s system of higher education has not adapted very well to the requirements of present-day developments. [Entire] fields of academic study are out of sync with the requirements for economic and social development. 

The state must vigorously promote reform and make adjustments, orient general colleges and universities to [the needs of] society, implement a system where universities improve through competition, and remove state responsibility for all educational funding, allowing the state to select key disciplines and laboratories to support. [For general colleges and universities], funding should come primarily from the schools themselves and donations; funds raised by the university may be supplemented with selective [government] support on a case-by-case basis according to the [broader] requirements of social or economic development. 

In terms of educational principles, general colleges and universities should place equal emphasis on imparting knowledge and vocational and technical training, focusing on applied sciences. [These universities] should not emphasize the cultivation of research-oriented studies at the doctoral level and post-graduate level in high-end disciplines; all graduates need to adapt to the needs of society and should [be educated in] fields that will enrich society, fulfilling society’s demand for talent at all levels.

The state should provide special policy and financial support for “985 Universities”14 and entrust them with the mission of cultivating high-end elite talent. These universities should completely divest their bureaucracies, eliminate or reduce non-teaching personnel, reform their academic system and training model, and focus on top-level, fundamental research and world-class academic research. As appropriate, less students should be enrolled in graduate programs, particularly PhD programs, so that fewer but more qualified PhDs can become the techno-scientific elites of the future.

The tenure system for professors in colleges and universities should be eliminated; there should be competition for jobs, and candidates must be selected from the best, so that the universities, for the sake of the country and humanity as a whole, can shape and educate the true techno-scientific elites that will lead the world. The historical experience of both foreign countries and China proves that the top scientific leaders are cultivated at world-class universities.

2. Establish an Techno-scientific Innovation System that is Guided by the State, with Enterprises as the Mainstay

Innovation is the primary driving force of development as well as a solid source of support for coping with risks and challenges. The enhancement of a country’s overall techno-scientific strength depends on establishing and improving mechanisms and institutions that focus on improving indigenous innovation capabilities and promoting the close integration of science and technology with economic and social development. The state should guide all of society in carrying out techno-scientific innovation in order to keep with prevailing trends and stay at the forefront of international science and technology. It should solve outstanding problems now limiting techno-scientific innovation. It should fully leverage the supporting and leading role of science and technology in building a national innovation system by transforming methods, adjusting structures, improving the people’s livelihood, and promoting harmony.

In this national innovation system, establish an institutional mechanism for enterprises to lead innovation in the research and development of industrial technology. The government should introduce various economic and social policies to guide and assist enterprises with both research and development and innovation, and boost innovation factors like technology and talent development to amass a number of innovation achievements that attract international attention, so these achievements benefit more people.   

Today, almost all developed countries use enterprise as the main component of techno-scientific innovation. With enterprise innovation as the basis, macro, large-scale, and basic scientific research projects are undertaken at the national level. For some time now, the overall levels of science and technology, research and development, and innovation in Chinese enterprises has been insufficient or at a very low level. This has impacted the techno-scientific strength of the entire country.  Because of this, China must genuinely implement measures to improve its scientific innovation system, guided by the state and with enterprises as the mainstay; accelerate reform of state-owned enterprises; and resolve issues related to state-owned enterprises, including the mechanisms, structure, property rights, and historical legacy of SOEs, in order to better solve techno-scientific innovation issues related to enterprises’ market-orientation and accelerate the commercialization of techno-scientific achievements.   

It should be noted that, in recent years, the number of publications by Chinese scientific researchers has gradually caught up with that of the United States.15 However, there has always been a gap between China and foreign countries in the average citation rate of these publications and the rate at which scientific research results are converted [to practical applications]. [China’s] current system for evaluating scientific research has made scientists unwilling to expend significant manpower and resources to convert research outcomes into practical applications; enterprises have the motivation to do so but lack the technological foundation, and it is often difficult for them to muster the necessary capability to undertake this work. 

Therefore, we must improve our system for evaluating the potential commercialization of applied technological research projects and set corresponding indicators. Scientific research institutions and universities should provide more support and services to corporate innovation. Techno-scientific personnel should be encouraged to establish technological enterprises. Enterprises should compete to conduct research and development of cutting-edge technology, based on domestic and foreign market demand and government macro-level plans – inspiring one another and competing with one another, thereby becoming the best they can be. 

This will accelerate [the development of] an techno-scientific system that is driven by the market and supported by the government. All sorts of advanced products and technologies will continually emerge, ultimately improving China’s techno-scientific strength and raising the level of [scientific advancement].    

Those who conquer themselves become stronger; those who strengthen themselves are victorious.16 Experience has repeatedly taught us that key core technologies cannot be acquired, bought, or begged for;17 innovation must rely on one’s own capabilities. What is most needed in the face of increasingly fierce international techno-scientific competition and numerous risks and challenges is a rational, scientific mindset paired with rousing action. [We must] persistently follow the path of independent innovation, eliminate the pain caused by a “lack of core and soul,”18 lay a solid foundation for innovation and development, and firmly grasp key core technologies in our own hands. By doing this, we will always be invincible and will have firmly grasped the initiative in economic and social development.

Techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong.19 To achieve the Two Centenary Goals20 and realize the Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation, [China] must persist on the path of indigenous innovation with Chinese characteristics, advance toward the world’s technological frontiers, advance toward the economic battlefield, and advance toward the needs of our country by accelerating technological innovation in all areas and seizing the opportunity of global techno-scientific competition.

In today’s world, the historical trend of economic globalization is unstoppable, and a new round of techno-scientific revolution and industrial transformation is just beginning.21 Insisting on open cooperation and common development is in line with the trend of the times and conforms with the inherent laws of techno-scientific innovation. Indigenous innovation is innovation in an open environment, which requires harnessing energy from all over the world and the power of all parties.

3. Expand Investment in Scientific Research and Actively Introduce Cutting-edge Foreign Technology

Among the components of composite national strength, science and technology are the most critical. Economic growth, military strength, culture, and education are all [necessary to] support science and technology. Increasing techno-scientific strength requires investment. The countries at the forefront of the world today are also the countries with the greatest composite national strength. [In these countries,] the rate at which science and technology has contributed to economic and military strength has grown, driving economic development and increasing military strength.

The economic development of the United States, Japan, and Germany is mainly reflected in the rate of added value from advanced technology. These countries rely on technologically-intensive industries and products with low resource inputs and high technical content to push economic development; the military strength of the United States and Russia relies on the support of high-tech weapons [utilizing] precision guidance and long-range strikes. The economy and national defense [of such a country] cannot be strong without support from high technology.

In turn, a developed economy and strong national defense [capability] can promote and guide investment in techno-scientific research and development. Techno-scientific strength cannot be improved without the impetus of robust expenditures and investment or without military competition. American investment in science and technology exceeds all other countries in the world, and the techno-scientific strength of Germany and Japan is the result of significant investment in science and technology.

Since Reform and Opening, the scale of China’s investment in scientific research has generally increased each year, and budgets at all levels have continued to increase [allocations to] scientific research each year.22 In 2018, U.S. research and development investment constituted approx. 2.8% of GDP, while Israeli and South Korean research and development expenditures accounted for as much as 4.5% of GDP. Germany’s investment in scientific research accounted for 3.13% of GDP. 

In this regard, China needs to implement and improve policies and measures to gradually increase society’s total expenditures on research and development; further increase the proportion of GDP spent on research and development; and, in the 13th Five-Year Plan and subsequent development plans, gradually align the proportion of scientific research investment with that of the United States. [With the objective of] increasing investment, [China needs to] improve its techno-scientific investment system; strengthen the deployment and coordination of techno-scientific innovation; focus on systems for technological innovation, knowledge innovation, and national defense techno-scientific innovation; improve the overall efficiency of the innovation system; emphasize investment in basic research; and increase research and development in [China’s] areas of weakness, like pharmaceuticals, software, semiconductors, and aviation. 

In terms of scientific research investment:  

1. Pay attention to: increasing the proportion of guaranteed and regular scientific research funding for scientific researchers; improving the living and working conditions of scientific researchers, particularly young and middle-aged scientific researchers; and protecting and expanding researchers’ space for free and independent thought, so they are more willing to spend time and energy on scientific research and improving academic standards.

2. Pay attention to the lack of state investment in corporate scientific research and the lack of [funding] channels available. Generally speaking, it is difficult for enterprises to [receive state research and development funding], particularly private companies that contribute significantly to productivity. The government should recognize that enterprises are the mainstay of techno-scientific innovation and are responsible for the commercialization of scientific research results, and change the excessive proportion of scientific research funding allocated to universities and invest much more in corporate research and development.

In addition, [China] must correctly handle the relationship between invention and imports. While increasing investment in domestic techno-scientific research and development, China must actively use its [plentiful] foreign exchange reserves and its monopoly over some scarce resources to make purchases from developed countries or obtain foreign countries’ advanced technologies and utility patents in exchange for resources those countries are lacking, shortening China’s research and development cycle. 

1. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sell basic components of  other company’s products.
2. George S. Yip, and Bruce McKern, China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation (Boston: MIT Press, 2016).
3. Popularized by Klaus Schwab (see note #5), the concept of the fourth industrial revolution presupposes three previous moments of momentous technological advance: the first, beginning at the end of the 18th century, saw the advent of steam power; the second, occurring in the closing decades of the 19th century, saw electrification, fossil fuels, and chemical production transform the global economy; the third, which began in the mid-20th century, occurred as calculators, computers, and digital communication technologies like the internet spread across the Earth. The next wave of  transformative technologies– usually identified with developments in biotech,  internet-of-things technology, or  artificial intelligence–will compose the 21st century’s own technological revolution, the fourth industrial revolution. This idea has improved enormously influential in China, and is now part of the CPC official line. For a discussion of the relationship between the fourth industrial revolution and CPC conceptions of the future, see CST’s translation of Jin Canrong’s “The Uncertainty of the International Situation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
4. Artificial Intelligence occupies a central role in the Chinese state’s ambition to surpass the developed nations in science and technology. In 2017, the Chinese state released an AI development plan that commits substantial financial resources to AI research and development and education programs. The plan aims to surpass the United States as the world’s leader in AI by 2030.
5. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, introduced the concept of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" in his 2016 book of the same name. Schwab argues that humanity is on the brink of a new era characterized by the convergence of digital, physical, and biological technologies. These technological changes are distinct from the third industrial revolution, which was characterized by the widespread adoption of information technologies: digital computers, automation, and the internet. The fourth industrial revolution, Schwab believes, will be characterized by a range of new technologies that fuses new digital technologies (e.g. AI) with the physical world (“internet of things”) and with biological systems. This will impact all disciplines, economies and industries, eventually challenging our ideas about what it means to be human. Klaus Schwab, Fourth Industrial Revolution (New York: The Crown Publishing Group, 2016).
6. The State Council released the Innovation-Driven Development Strategy Outline in 2016 as a top-level initiative that ties together a myriad of industrial policies related to technological upgrade. For an English translation of the strategy outline, see Original CSET Translation of “Outline of the National Innovation-Driven Development Strategy”, [中共中央 国务院印发《国家创新驱动发展战略纲要》], Xinhua News Agency, 19 May 2016.
7. Launched in 2015, Made in China 2025 is a Chinese industrial strategy that aims to transform the country into a global technological superpower by 2049. The strategy outlines ten core industries, such as robotics, power equipment and next-generation IT, that must receive substantial state aid.  Unlike previous Chinese industrial policies, Made in China 2025 is not intended to help China catch up with developed nations in established technological domains. It is also an initiative to surpass them in emerging technologies. For a detailed analysis of China’s industrial policy, see Barry Baughton, The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy 1978 to 2020 (Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 2021); and Max Zenglein and Anna Holzmann, “Evolving Made in China 2025: China’s Industrial Policy in the Quest for Global Tech Leadership,” Mercator Institute for China Studies, July 2019. For an English translation of the Made in China 2025 outline, see the Center for Strategic and Emerging Technology's Translation of “Notice of the State Council on the Publication of Made in China 2025,” PRC State Council, May 2015.
8. Sumatra Dutta, Bruno Lanvin, and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent (ed.), The Global Innovation Index 2017 (Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017). By 2023 China rose to spot #12. See World Intellectual Property Organization, Global Innovation Index 2023 (Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017).
9. Yi’s recommendation echoes the language in the “Double First Class” initiative that the State Council adopted in 2015. The initiative ​​aims to “coordinate and advance the construction of world-class universities and world-class disciplines, achieving China’s historic leap from a major higher education nation to a powerful higher education nation.” State Council, “Guowuyuan Guanyu Yinfa Tongchou Tuijin Shijie Yifu Daxue He Yifu Xueke Jianshe Zongti Fang'an de Tongzhi 国务院关于印发统筹推进世界一流大学和一流学科建设总体方案的通知 [Notice of the State Council on Printing and Distributing the Overall Plan for Coordinating and Advancing the Construction of World-Class Universities and First-Class Disciplines],” October 2015.  
10. Global Education Monitoring Report Team, World Bank, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Education Finance Watch 2023,” UNESCO Digital Library, 2023.
11. The PRC has four administrative levels: the provincial level [省级], the prefectural level [地级], the county level [县级], and the township level [乡级]. The average population size of the county level administrative zone is 399,200 people.
12.  Hukou [户口], officially known as the Household Registration System, is an administrative institution that plays a crucial role in controlling internal migration inside China. The system categorizes individuals into two primary types: rural residency and urban residency. This classification has significant implications for access to social services, education, healthcare, and employment opportunities; many millions of rural hukou holders live illegally in Chinese urban areas where it is easier to get work. These are the "new urban residents" Yi refers to; he is arguing that the route from rural hukou to urban hukou status be easier.
13. The word “quality” or “caliber” [suzhi 素质] is a commonly employed in contemporary Chinese social thought. It describes a person’s qualities measured in terms of his or her behavior, education, ethics, and life ambitions. Rudeness and bad behavior are commonly considered marks of “low quality.” Invoked in a political context, the “poor quality”–or low suzhi–of the citizenry is frequently cited as justification for autocratic oversight of the Chinese population. For more extensive discussions of the term in contemporary Chinese, see  The Australian Centre on China in the World, “Suzhi 素质,” The China Story, access 9 October 2023; Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly 186 (2006): 295–313.
14. Announced in May 1998, the “985 Universities” are a select group of universities that the Chinese government aims to elevate into world-class status through increased investment in infrastructure, faculty,and research. Since 2015, the original 985 Universities have been absorbed into a new education initiative titled “Double World-Class Project,” which aims to further enhance the global competitiveness of Chinese universities and specific academic disciplines.
15. According to the Nature Index, China has overtaken the United States as the number one ranked country for contributions to research articles published in a select group of high-quality natural-science journals in 2022. Different measures of performance show a more nuanced picture regarding citation and fraudulent research, however. For example, a 2022 report by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy shows that Chinese research comprised more of the top 1% of the most frequently cited papers than did US research between 2018 and 2020. See National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, “Japnese Science and Technology Indicators 2022,” National Institute of Science and Technology Policy Research Material No. 318, October 2022. Simon Baker, “China Overtakes United States on Contribution to Research in Nature Index,” Nature Index, 19 May 2023.For data on the number of Chinese publications since 2014, see Nature Research Intelligence, “Country/territory Tables, August 2022-July 2023,” Nature Index.
16. The saying “those who conquer themselves become stronger; those who strengthen themselves are victorious” originates from passage thirty-three of Dao De Jing, a Chinese classical text and foundational work of Taoism written around 400 B.C.
17. Yi is quoting Xi Jinping’s speech at a conference on the Chinese Academy of Chinese in May 2018. In the conference, Xi said “Experience has repeatedly taught us that key, core technologies cannot be acquired, bought, or begged for. Only by holding key core technologies in our own hand can we guarantee economic security, national defense, and other areas of security in a fundamental way.” 
Keji Ribao 科技日报 [Science Daily], “Guanjian Hexin Jishu Shi Yaobulai, Maibulai, Taobulai De 关键核心技术是要不来、买不来、讨不来的 [Key Core Technologies Cannot be Acquired, Bought, or Begged For],” October 2022. 
18. This is a reference to a comment by then-Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanghua, who said in 1999 that China’s information industry lacked both a “core and a soul.” The “core” refers to a computer chip and the “soul” to the operating system, the meaning being that China is dependent on Microsoft (basic software) and Intel (core hardware} architecture, which leaves China fundamentally insecure. Liu Li 琉璃, “Quexin Shaohun, Zhonghua Ershi Nian Zhi Tong 缺芯少魂,中华二十年之痛 [Lacking of core and soul, China’s Twenty Year Pain],” Zhihu 知乎, May 2020.
19. Yi is again quoting Xi Jinping. “techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong” is a quote from Xi’s speech at a conference of the Chinese Academy of Science in May 2021.
Zhongguo Xinwen Wang 中国新闻网 [Chinese News Online], “Keji Xing ze Minzu Xing, Keji Qiang ze Guojia Qiang 科技兴则民族兴,科技强则国家强 [techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong],” November 2022. 
20. First articulated in 1997 by Jiang Zemin, the "Two Centenary Goals" is a CPC slogan that vows to achieve a moderately prosperous society by the party's 100th anniversary in 2021 and build a socialist modernized country by the People’s Republic of China’s 100th anniversary in 2049. See the CST glossary entry Moderately Prosperous Society
21. See CST glossary for Great Changes Unseen in a Century
22. Chinese research and development expenditure has grown from 0.56% of its GDP in 1996 to 2.41% of its GDP in 2020. For more data, see UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Research and development expenditure (% of GDP) - China,” World Bank, September 19, 2023.

以实施“中国制造2025”为契机,加快创新型国家建设

借助改革开放的东风,“中国制造”享誉全球,中国产品遍布世界各地,大多数产品都彰显了“中国制造”的传奇,为中国成为第二大经济体立下了汗马功劳。然而,中国制造的产品主要是中低端产品和原始设备,不具备工业发展所需的科技创新优势,消耗大量资源,导致环境污染的负外部性严重,也在一定程度上削弱了中国产品的竞争优势。

中欧国际工商学院教授叶恩华、布鲁斯·麦科恩两位教授在《中国的下一个战略优势:从模仿到创新》一书中明确指出,工业发展的竞争优势应是技术或创新,而不是低廉的劳动成本。过去,中国制造业没有创新,主要在复制,因此“大而不强”。当时中国战略优势是低廉的劳动力成本和巨大的国内市场。这两个因素促使中国迅速发展,但现在只有这两项已经不够,创新成为中国政府的工作重心。创新会使中国制造业更强,但中国制造业不会“一夜之间”变强,可能需要10到20年的时间。

创新是人类社会走上现代化的推进器,是一个国家进步和发展最重要的因素之一。发展离不开创新,创新是引领发展的第一动力,是建设现代化经济体系的战略支撑。当今世界经济技术发展的实际情况也表明:在世界经济竞技的舞台上,只有科技创新能力强盛的国家才能在世界经济的交流与发展中发挥主导作用,引领世界发展的潮流。

对于一个经济体而言,科技创新对其经济增长永远具有意义,而工业是经济增长与发展的主要因素。没有工业制造业的发达就谈不上经济的发达,科学技术也没有了起源和存在的平台。科技与工业的融合成为经济加速发展的主战场,一旦科技发明集中爆发就会引起工业领域内的革命性变革。

人类已经进入第四次工业革命,即以智能化为核心,以人工智能、量子通信、物联网、虚拟现实等前沿技术为代表的新工业革命,基础是计算机、遗传工程、新材料和新能源。世界经济论坛创始人兼执行主席克劳斯·施瓦布在其著作《第四次工业革命》中,把无人交通工具(自动驾驶汽车和无人机)、人工智能、高级机器人、新材料、物联网、基因重组技术工程与细胞融合技术工程列为核心推动技术。在新一轮科技和产业革命尚未形成势头之际,人工智能、大数据、云计算被寄予厚望,成为创新的主战场,借助大数据的自我学习提升人类自身能力的边界,强化互联网安全问题,抑或借助物联网技术打通用户大数据、制造业流程大数据、物流供应链大数据,从而推动智能制造产业革命,有关“互联网+”的探索正在与越来越多的细分业态发生化学反应。

创新意味着引领时代,在以第四次工业革命到来为特征的全球创新浪潮的驱动下,中国只有走创新型经济发展的道路,不断提升工业制造的创新能力,勇于推进工业革命的发展,加快创新型国家建设,才能对世界经济产生巨大的影响,同时促进国内经济社会可持续健康发展。技术创新给我们带来的改变是不可想象的,我们要拥抱创新,拥抱第四次工业革命。

党的十八大提出,实施创新驱动发展战略,科技创新是提高社会生产力和综合国力的战略支撑,必须摆在国家发展全局的核心位置。随着“中国制造2025”的实施,“中国制造”正在向“中国智造”“中国创造”转变,在世界经济舞台上走出一条从模仿、追随到引领的发展道路,而这背后的秘诀便是创新。

“中国制造2025”提出要提高制造业的生产率,向自己以前未涉足过的领域进军,更加注重高科技产品的研发和国内市场的开拓。在创新战略的指引下,今天,我们在众多科技发展领域也取得了进展。总体创新排名方面——世界知识产权组织和康奈尔大学等机构联合发布的《2017年全球创新指数报告》,中国国际排名从2016年的第25位升至第22位,成为唯一进入前25的中等收入国家,已经成功跻身全球创新领导者行列。

目前,我国仍面临着关键核心技术掌握不足、处于价值链中低端等困境。要改变这一不利局面,唯一的道路就是要完善创新链条,促进产学研协同创新,解决重大共性技术难题,加快创新成果向现实生产力转化,积极推进创新型国家建设;同时,继续深化产权制度和科技体制改革,加强知识产权保护,完善人才激励政策,优化创新环境,发挥企业的创新主体作用,让创新等一切社会活力竞相迸发。

在未来30多年的综合国力提升的道路上,我们必须继续在创新中寻找出路,只有坚持创新驱动,敢于创新、勇于变革,才能突破经济增长和发展的瓶颈,成为新工业革命的引领者。

为此,我们可以从以下几方面着手推动创新。

第一,系统性构建知识创新系统、技术创新系统、知识传播系统和制度创新系统以及各类支持辅助系统,使其各有侧重、相互交叉、互相支持,构成一个运行有序、统一开放的国家创新型经济发展系统。国家创新型经济发展系统是从系统构建的战略视角来全面提升国家的创新能力,是各种创新要素在文化、体制、制度等宏观创新环境和多元创新主体构成的创新网络融合互动下形成的创新合力,必须避免创新系统“失灵”的困境,从深层次的制度根源入手对创新系统进行改革。

首先,应深化各类体制改革,包括科技体制、教育文化体制、财税金融与投资体制、国有企业体制、知识产权制度等方面的改革与完善,理顺激励科技创新的政策,联合多元化的创新主体,寻求共同的社会经济目标,以激励相容的导向建立联动型的创新网络,将创新作为变革和发展的关键动力,促进社会科技资源的有效配置和集成科技创新。

其次,应建立以企业为主体、产学研相结合、政府相关部门参与提供服务的综合技术创新体系,并以此为突破口,全面推进具有中国特色的国家创新体系的建设,进一步优化科技结构布局和科技人才的配置,激发全社会的创新活力。

最后,政府应在改革和战略转型中优化创新环境,以形成科技创新整体的合理性,为建设创新型国家和发展创新型经济提供良好的制度和机制保障。

第二,推进我国创新主体主导模式的改革。我国科技创新传统上偏向于政府推动。在科技创新体系中,我国传统的科技创新模式往往是通过政府政策和直接投资,或由政府所辖的科研院所和大学推动,是典型的“政府主导模式”,政府制定创新政策,政府作为创新投入主体,创新资源由政府进行分配,创新很大程度上是完成政府任务,政府在科技创新的过程中扮演着“万能”的角色。但随着市场经济改革的逐步深化和民营企业的壮大,政府主导模式的弊端开始凸显出来,比如创新执行者缺乏动力、创新效率低下等。

因此,一方面,需要改变政府主导型的创新模式,重新定位政府在创新中的角色,让政府在支持战略性研发和基础性研发、引导企业的技术创新和产业发展方向、建设科技基础设施等方面发挥重要的作用;

另一方面,企业应成为国家创新活动的主体,成为整个创新系统的核心,创新能力也是企业竞争力的重要体现。这样,牢固企业在国家创新体系中的主导性地位,这是提升国家创新能力的重要手段。只有以企业为创新主体,才有可能坚持技术创新的市场导向,迅速实现科技成果的产业化和商业化,提高我国企业的市场竞争力。

第三,推进我国创新型经济发展体系的建设。在国家创新体系中,高等院校和科研机构是知识和技术的重要源泉,企业是知识和技术的主要执行者,企业、高校和科研机构三者共同构成了国家创新体系的核心,缺一不可。民间创新的构思也是提升国家创新能力的重要基石,对推进中国的创新文化有深远的影响。对此要进行的创新型经济发展体系建设,首先,要建设世界一流科研院所、一流大学和一流学科,增强原始创新能力和服务经济社会发展能力。

明晰科研院所和大学的功能定位,增强科研院所在基础前沿和行业共性关键科学技术研发中的骨干引领作用,强化大学基础学科研究,推动一批学科进入世界前列;引导科研院所和大学紧紧围绕国家重大科研任务,有效整合优势科研资源,组建跨学科、综合交叉的科研团队,形成综合性、高水平的国际化科研创新基地。

其次,要推进企业体制改革和产权制度的完善,全力培育世界一流的创新型企业,鼓励行业领头羊构建高水平研发中心,形成完善的科学研究和新技术开发组织体系,聚集高端人才,联合行业内外中小企业、科研院所和大学系统布局创新链条,提供产业技术创新整体解决方案。

第四,构建专业化、市场化的技术转移服务体系,加快我国科研成果的市场转化。在创新型经济建设中,高度重视技术转化服务体系的催化作用,发展研发设计、创业孵化、检验检测认证、知识产权等各类科技服务。同时,完善全国各类专业化的技术交易市场和市场化的知识产权交易平台,畅通技术和知识产权转移通道。

由此可以看出,更为有效地推动我国创新型国家建设,提升我国创新能力的战略目标应该是:在技术的市场开发上,建立一个以企业为主体,以市场为导向,产学研联盟,结合民间资源的创新协同网络;在基础研究和重大科技攻关上,走一条以政府为主导,以科研院所、大学和企业为主干力量,在政府协调、辅助和监管下,多方力量共同推进创新进程的自主创新之路。

提升科技实力的战略选择

科技实力是一国综合国力的核心组成部分。科学技术尤其是高科技及其产业化正成为社会进步的第一动力,迅速地改变着整个世界的格局,高科技的许多关键领域,如外层空间、深海开发、生物工程、信息工程、新能源、新材料的探究正在改变国与国之间的实力对比。一些国家通过高科技及其带动的产业结构的调整,其综合国力得到较快提升。

目前,中国的科技水平特别是高科技能力,与世界最发达的美、俄、日、德、英、法和以色列等国相比还有差距。要缩短和发达国家的科技差距,提高科技实力对综合国力的贡献,还需在很多方面努力。

一、改革教育体制,提高全民素质,培育科技精英

在知识经济时代,一个国家综合国力中最核心的部分就是科技实力,而科技实力需要依托教育,教育是科技实力构成要素中的基础性要素。科技实力的提升是在教育、培养人才的基础上开展和进行的,现代生产越是建立在高度发达的科技基础之上,对教育的依赖程度就越高。一个国家的资源开发和高效利用离不开科学技术,科技实力的提升离不开教育的基础性工作。

中国的教育从纵向发展来看,确实有了很大的提高。但如果横向比较,从教育质量上看,中国仍需高度重视教育的发展,继续进行教育改革。

具体改革包括:

第一,加大教育投入占GDP的比重。尽管我国教育支出占财政、GDP比重不断加大,但占GDP的比例远低于发达国家,也低于世界平均水平。美、英、法、德、日等发达国家2009年起其教育投入占GDP的比重均超过4%,其中,美国已达到6.22%。联合国教科文组织在20世纪曾呼吁,世界各国在2000年实现教育支出占比达到6%。截至2019年,中国教育投入占GDP比例连续7年保持在4%以上,离6%的目标还有一定差距,还没有达到科技对教育基础作用的要求,制约着我国科技实力水平的提高,因此在今后30年内,要加大教育经费的投入,逐步达到6.5%。

第二,适应未来城市化战略的需要,调整教育经费的支出结构,重新规划中小学布局和教育模式。未来,伴随城镇化、工业化和农业现代化的发展,人口大量迁入中小城市。在教育经费支出中,要重点支持县城及以上中小学的增容扩建,广泛接纳新市民子女入学,合理布局乡村学校,让中小学教育在经济文化较为发达的城市中发展增强,同时可适当减少学制,将小学与中学阶段学年各减少一年,减少学生在校时间,可以每周增加一天的校外活动时间,增加学生接触社会的机会,以全面提高学生素质,包括身体素质在内的综合素质。

改革考试体制机制与考试模式,在高中阶段要减少纯粹书本知识,增加个人素质方面考题,以促进学生实际应用能力、创造创新能力的逐步提高。对西部少数民族和内地老少边穷地区交通不发达的中小学,需要加大教育经费支援,扶持因当地财力不足而造成的教育弱化,在维护教育公平的基础上全面提升全民素质。

第三,借鉴科技发达国家经验,改革高等教育模式。高校担负着保存知识、传播知识、创造知识、培养人才的基本任务,其中少数顶尖级名校还要为国家和社会培养精英,通过加快科学研究与创新,引领社会进步。目前,中国的高等教育体制未能很好地适应时代发展的要求,所设计的专业与经济和社会发展需求脱节。

国家应大力推进改革调整,把普通高校推向社会,实现优胜劣汰,国家不负责包揽全部教育经费,但可以选择一些重点学科与重点实验室予以支持,资金主要来源于学校自筹和社会捐助,地方财政根据本地经济社会事业的情况择优支持为辅;

在教育宗旨上,普通高校要将知识传授和职业技术培养并举,以应用科学为主,不提倡培养高端的学术研究型博士及以上的人才;所培养的毕业生要适应社会需要,大量充实到社会各领域,保证社会对各层次人才的需求。

对于“985高校”,国家要给予特殊的政策、财力支持,赋予其培养高端精英人才的使命;大学内部彻底去行政化,淘汰和减少非教师人员,改革学制和培养模式,专注于顶尖级的国家基础和世界前沿学术研究,适当减少研究生特别是博士生的招生人数,让少而精的博士成为未来科技精英;

高校教师要取消终身制,竞争上岗,优中选精,让其为国家和整个人类培养和塑造引领世界的真正科技精英。国外和中国的历史经验也证明,绝大部分顶尖级的科学领军人才都是世界一流高校培养出来的。

二、建立国家引导、企业为主体的科技创新体制

创新是引领发展的第一动力,也是我们应对风险挑战的坚实支撑。一个国家整体科技实力的增强,要靠建立和完善以提高自主创新能力为核心、促进科技和经济社会发展紧密结合为重点的机制和体制。国家要根据国际前沿和人类科技发展的大趋势,引导整个社会进行科技创新,解决制约科技创新的突出问题,充分发挥科技在转方式、调结构、惠民生、促和谐中的支撑引领作用,建设国家创新体系。

在国家创新体系中,建立企业主导产业技术研发创新的体制机制。政府要出台各种经济和社会政策对企业研发创新进行引导、帮扶,并促进技术、人才等创新要素向一批举世瞩目的标志性创新成果聚集,让创新成果惠及更多的人。

当今,几乎所有发达国家都是以企业为科技创新的主体,在企业创新的基础上,产生国家层面上的宏观、大型、基础性科研项目成果。过去一段时间,中国企业整体的科技研发创新不足或水平低下,影响了整个国家的科技实力。因此,今后要真正落实建立以国家为引导、企业为主体的科技创新体制的完善措施,加快国企改革,解决国企的体制、机制、结构、产权归属和历史遗留问题,以更好地解决企业市场导向的科技创新问题,加快科技成果的转化。

需要说明的是,近年来我国科研人员发表的论文数量已经逐步追上美国。但是这些论文的平均引用率、科研成果转化率,一直与国外存在差距。目前的科研评价体系使得科学家不愿意耗费大量人力、物力去做成果转化的工作;企业有动力但缺乏技术基础,往往很难有能力、有实力去承担转化工作。

因此,对于应用技术研究项目,应加强对成果转化情况的考核评价,设定对应的评价指标;科研院所和高等院校要更多地为企业技术创新提供支持和服务;鼓励科技人员创办科技型企业。企业应根据国内外市场需求和政府的宏观规划,竞相实施对领先技术产品的研发,相互启发,相互竞争,优胜劣汰。

这样,推动以市场为导向、以政府为支撑的科研创新体系加快运转,各种类型的先进产品及其技术就会不断涌现,最终提升国家的科技实力和科学水平。

自胜者强,自强者胜。实践反复告诉我们,关键核心技术是要不来、买不来、讨不来的,创新还是要靠自己。面对日益激烈的国际科技竞争,面对各种风险挑战,最需要的是科学理性的态度、奋发有为的行动。下定决心,坚定不移地走自主创新之路,破解“缺芯少魂”之痛,夯实创新发展之基,把关键核心技术牢牢掌握在自己手中,我们就能始终立于不败之地,牢牢把握经济社会发展的主动权。

科技兴则民族兴,科技强则国家强。实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标,实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,必须坚持走中国特色自主创新道路,面向世界科技前沿、面向经济主战场、面向国家重大需求,加快各领域科技创新,掌握全球科技竞争先机。

当今世界,经济全球化的历史大势不可阻挡,新一轮科技革命和产业变革方兴未艾,坚持开放合作、共同发展,顺应时代潮流,也符合科技创新的内在规律。自主创新是开放环境下的创新,要聚四海之气、借八方之力。

三、加大科研投入,积极引进国外先进科技

综合国力构成要素中,科技最关键。经济增长、军事增强、文化教育都离不开科技支撑。科技力量要壮大,就要有投入。当今世界排名靠前的几个国家,其综合国力之所以处于世界前列,就是由于科技对经济和军事实力的贡献率提高了,带动了经济发展和军事力量升级。

美国、日本、德国经济发达主要体现在高技术附加值的贡献率,它们靠消耗少、技术含量高的科技密集型产业、产品推动了经济发展;美俄军事强大是靠精确制导、远距离打击的高科技武器支撑。没有高科技支撑,经济和国防是强大不了的。

反过来,发达的经济和强大的国防力量又能推动和引导科技研发的投入,没有雄厚的经费投入和军备竞赛的刺激,科技实力也无法提升。美国在科技方面的投资超过了世界上其他国家,德国、日本的科技实力之所以强,得益于其科研经费的高投入。

改革开放以来,我国科研投入的规模总体上呈逐年上升之势,各级财政每年用于科研投入的力度不断加大。2018年美国的研发投入占GDP比重约为2.8%,而以色列和韩国的研发费用占GDP比重更是高达4.5%,德国科研投入占GDP的比重已升至3.13%。

对此,中国需落实和完善全社会研究开发经费逐步增长的政策措施,进一步增加科研投入的GDP占比,在“十三五”规划及以后的发展规划中科研经费占比要逐步向美国看齐。在加大投入的基础上健全科技投入体系,加强统筹部署和协同科技创新,重点放在技术创新、知识创新、国防科技创新等体系,提高创新体系整体效能;注重对基础研究的投入,加大对制药、软件、半导体、航空等薄弱领域的研发。

在科研经费的投向上:

一要注意增加科研人员保障性和经常性的科研经费投入比例,提高科研人员特别是中青年科学家的生活、工作待遇,保护和扩大他们思想自由独立的空间,让他们更乐意把时间、精力花在科研和提高学术水平上。

二要注意国家向企业科研经费过少的投入和渠道的缺乏。一般来说,企业很难参与科研经费分配,特别是那些对生产率贡献较大的民企,政府应认识到科技创新的主体是企业,由企业负责科研成果的市场转化工作,改变大学和科研机构科研资金比重过大的情况,把大量科研经费投入企业研发中。

另外,还要正确处理好发明与引进的关系,在加大国内科技研发投入的同时,积极利用我国外汇储备的雄厚实力和部分稀缺资源的垄断地位,向发达国家购买或以稀缺资源交换它们的先进科技和发明专利权,缩短我国研发周期。

Using “Made in China 2025” as an Opportunity to Accelerate the Construction of an Innovative Country

Leveraging the momentum of Reform and Opening Up, “Made in China” has become world-renowned, with Chinese products spread throughout the world. Most products display the [label] “Made in China,” which has contributed greatly to making China the world’s second largest economy. However, products made in China are primarily mid- to low-end products and OEM products.1 These products do not confer the advantages of technological innovation, which are required for industrial development; they require massive resources [to produce]; they cause serious negative externalities like environmental pollution; and to a certain extent, they weaken the competitiveness of Chinese products.

In their book China’s Next Strategic Advantage: from Imitation to Innovation, Professors George Yip and Bruce McKern from the China Europe International Business School clearly point out that [healthy] industrial development should rely on a competitive advantage in technology or innovation capacity, not on low labor costs.2 In the past, China’s manufacturing industry did not innovate and primarily copied, making it “big but not strong.” At that time, China’s strategic advantages were low labor costs and a huge domestic market. These two factors spurred China’s rapid development, but now these two factors are no longer enough. Innovation has become the focus of the Chinese government; it will make China’s manufacturing industry stronger, but it will not happen overnight. It may require 10 to 20 years.

Innovation is the propeller of modernization in human society. It is one of the most important factors in a country’s progress and development. Development is inseparable from innovation; innovation is the primary driving force of development and the strategic [backbone] for building a modern economic system. The actual circumstances of economic and technological development in today’s world also show that, on the stage of global economic competition, only countries with strong scientific and technological innovation capabilities can play a leading role in the exchange of goods and services in the global economy or lead [the direction of] global development.

Technological innovation is always important to the growth of any economic system. Industry is the primary source of economic growth and development. Without the development of industrial manufacturing, economic development would not be possible, to say nothing of the origin and existence of science and technology. The fusion point of science, technology, and industry has become the primary battleground for accelerated economic development. Once a concentrated explosion of scientific and technological invention occurs it will cause revolutionary changes in industry.

Humanity has already entered the fourth industrial revolution3–a new industrial revolution with intelligence at its core, embodied in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence,4 quantum communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual reality. The foundation [of this revolution] is computers, genetic engineering, new materials, and new energy. In his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, names unmanned vehicles (self-driving cars and drones), artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, new materials, the Internet of Things, genetic recombination engineering, and cellular fusion technology as core driving technologies.5 At a time when this new round of techno-scientific revolution and industrial transformation has not yet gained its [full] momentum, there are grand expectations for artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing and [these areas] have become the main battlefield for innovation. [In this battlefield], self-learning systems that use big data will expand the boundaries of human capabilities, strengthen internet security, and will utilize IoT technology to connect big data from users, manufacturing processes, and logistics supply chains, thereby spurring an industrial revolution in intelligent manufacturing. Explorations of “Internet +” are having a chemical-like reaction with more and more segmented industries.

Innovation leads every era. Driven by the global wave of innovation brought by the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, China has no choice but to take the path of innovative economic development, continuously improving the innovative capabilities of industrial manufacturing, daring to advance the development of this industrial revolution, and accelerating the construction of an innovative country. [Only by doing this] can China have an enormous impact on the world economy while also promoting the sustainable and healthy development of its domestic economy. Technological innovation has brought us unimaginable changes, and we must embrace innovation. We must embrace the fourth industrial revolution.

The 18th Party Congress pointed out that implementing an innovation-driven development strategy6 requires techno-scientific innovation to act as the strategic backbone for improving society’s productivity and composite national strength. This must be placed at the core of the overall configuration of national development. With the implementation of Made in China 2025,7 “Made in China” will transform into “Intelligently Made in China” and “Created in China.” [The role that] China’s development path will play on the international economic stage evolves from imitation to leadership. The secret behind this [transformation] is innovation.

Made in China 2025 aims to improve the productivity of manufacturing, expand [manufacturing] to new areas, and focus more on the research and development of high-tech products and the development of the domestic market. Under the guidance of this innovation strategy, China has made progress in many areas of techno-scientific development. In terms of overall innovation rankings, China’s international ranking rose in the 2017 Global Innovation Index Report,8 which is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, and other institutions. China’s ranking rose from 25th in 2016 to 22nd [in 2017], making China the only country among the world’s top 25 middle-income countries to be listed as a leader of global innovation.

At present, our country is still facing difficulties such as insufficient mastery of key core technologies and being trapped in the middle and at the low end of the value chain. The only way to change this unfavorable situation is to improve our innovation chain; promote collaborative innovation between industry, academia, and research entities; solve major general purpose technology problems; accelerate the rate at which new innovations are put into industrial use, and actively promote the construction of an innovative country. At the same time, [we must] continue to deepen reform of the property rights system and our techno-scientific structure, strengthen intellectual property protection, improve talent incentive policies, optimize the innovation environment, fully leverage the role of enterprises in innovation, and let innovation and social vitality burst forth through competition.

On our road to increasing China’s composite national strength over the next 30+ years, we need to continue to relentlessly pursue innovation. Only by persisting in our drive for innovation and daring to innovate and change can we break through the bottlenecks to economic growth and development and become the leader of the new industrial revolution.

To this end, we can promote innovation in the following respects:

1. Systematically build a knowledge innovation system, technological innovation system, knowledge dissemination system, and institutional innovation system, as well as supporting and auxiliary systems, with each having their own focus while also overlapping and supporting each other. Together they will form an orderly, cohesive, and open system for innovative economic development. A national innovative economic development system is, from the strategic perspective of systems construction, [meant to] comprehensively enhance the country’s innovation capabilities. [This system] is an innovative force formed through the integration and interaction of various innovation elements in the macro-innovation environment, such as culture, systems, institutions, and an innovation network composed of diverse innovative entities. [We] must avoid an innovation system “malfunction.” Reform must begin with the deep-seated institutional roots [of problems].

First: we must deepen the reform and improvement of various systems, including scientific and technological systems; education and cultural systems; fiscal, tax, finance, and investment systems; state-owned enterprise systems; and intellectual property systems. [We must] streamline policies for encouraging techno-scientific innovation, integrate diverse innovation entities, seek common social and economic objectives, and establish a linked innovation network oriented toward compatible incentives, using innovation as the key driving force for reform and development and promoting the effective allocation of social and techno-scientific resources and the integration of techno-scientific innovation.

Second: [We] must establish a comprehensive system for technological innovation that has enterprise as its mainstay, and that combines industry, academia and research with the participation of relevant government departments. This system should [serve as] a breakthrough in comprehensively promoting the construction of a national innovation system with Chinese characteristics, further optimizing the layout of China’s techno-scientific structure and the cultivation of techno-scientific talent, and stimulating the innovativeness of society as a whole. 

Finally: we must optimize the innovation environment in [policies for] reform and strategic transformation, forming an overall rationale for techno-scientific innovation and providing good institutional mechanisms and safeguards for building an innovative country and developing an innovative economy.   

2. Promote the reform of China’s enterprise-driven innovation model. In China, technological and scientific innovation has traditionally been promoted by the government. In its techno-scientific innovation system, China’s traditional innovation model has usually been promoted through government policies and direct investment, or by scientific research institutions and universities under government jurisdiction. This is a typical “government-driven model.” The government formulates policies for innovation, the government acts as the main investor in innovation, and the government allocates resources for innovation. Innovation, to a large degree, is a government task and the government plays an “omnipotent” role in the techno-scientific innovation process. However, with the gradually deepening market reforms and growth of private enterprises, the disadvantages of this government-driven model have become increasingly apparent, such as the lack of motivation among those [involved in] innovation and the low [level of] efficiency in innovation.

Therefore, on the one hand, it is necessary to change the government-driven model and reposition the government’s role in innovation.  The government [should instead] serve the important functions of supporting strategic and basic research and development, guiding the direction of technological innovation and industrial development of enterprises, and building techno-scientific infrastructure. 

On the other hand, enterprises should become the mainstay of national innovation activity and the core of the overall innovation system. Innovation capabilities are also an important reflection of corporate competitiveness. In this way, consolidating the position of enterprises as leaders in the national innovation system is an important means of enhancing the country’s innovation capacity. Only with enterprises as the mainstay of innovation will it be possible to maintain a market orientation toward technological innovation, quickly achieve the industrialization and commercialization of technological or scientific developments, and improve the market competitiveness of China’s enterprises. 

3. Promote the construction of China’s innovative economic development system. In China’s national innovation system, universities and scientific research institutions are important sources of knowledge and technological [breakthroughs], and enterprises are the primary implementers of knowledge and technology. Together, enterprises, universities, and scientific research institutions form the core of the national innovation system; each one is indispensable. The concept of non-government innovation is also an important cornerstone of improvement in China’s innovation capability and plays a significant role in driving China’s culture of innovation. In order to build an innovative economic development system, China must first build world-class scientific research institutions, world-class universities, and world-class fields of study,9 [which will] strengthen China’s original innovation capabilities and contribute to economic and social development.

First: We clarify the functions of scientific research institutions and universities. We strengthen the leading role of scientific research institutions as the backbone of the research and development of basic and frontier technologies, as well as in the research and development of general-purpose technologies. We strengthen university research in basic scientific disciplines, and [raise] a number of scientific disciplines to world-class status. [We must] guide scientific research institutions and universities to focus closely on the major scientific research tasks [prioritized by the government] and effectively integrate and optimize scientific research resources. We must form interdisciplinary and comprehensive scientific research teams, which will be a foundation for comprehensive, high-level, and international innovation in scientific research. 

Next: We must promote reform in corporate structures and in the intellectual property regime. We must strive to cultivate world-class, innovative enterprises; encourage industry leaders to build high-level research and development systems; form a complete organizational system for scientific research and new technology research and development; and consolidate high-end talent, systematically laying out an innovation chain that unites small and medium-sized enterprises, scientific research institutions, and universities within and across industries, providing comprehensive solutions for industrial technological innovation.

4. Build a professional, market-oriented technology transfer system to accelerate the commercialization of China’s scientific research achievements. In the construction of an innovative economy, a high level of focus [must be] attached to the catalytic role of a technology commercialization system, and the development of various techno-scientific services like research and development design; start-up incubation; inspection, testing, and certification; and intellectual property rights. At the same time, various nationwide specialized technology trading markets and market-oriented intellectual property trading platforms should be perfected, [allowing for] unimpeded channels of technology and intellectual property transfer.

From this it can be seen that the strategic objective of effectively promoting the construction of China as an innovative country and enhancing China’s innovation capabilities should be [as follows]: with regard to the market development of technology, establishing a market-oriented industry-university-research alliance with enterprises as the mainstay, [forming] an innovation collaborative network that incorporates non-government resources. With regard to basic and fundamental techno-scientific research, [China] should take a government-driven approach with scientific research institutions, universities, and enterprises as the backbone. With the coordination, assistance, and oversight of the government, multiple forces will work together to advance [China’s progress] on the path of indigenous innovation. 

The Strategic Choice to Enhance Scientific and Technological Strength 

Techno-scientific strength is the core component of a country’s composite national strength. Science and technology, particularly advanced science and technology with industrial uses, have become the primary driving force in social progress and have rapidly changed the international landscape. Many key high-tech areas, like outer space [exploration], deep sea development, bioengineering, information engineering, and the exploration of new energy and new materials are changing the balance of power between countries. Some countries have rapidly enhanced their composite national strength through advanced technology and the adjustments in industrial structure driven by these advances.

Currently, China’s level of techno-scientific development, particularly its high-tech capabilities, still lags behind the world’s most developed countries like the U.S., Russia, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Israel. In many respects, there is still much hard work necessary in order to shrink the gap between Chinese science and technology of China and that of the developed countries, as well as to increase the contribution of science and technology to China’s composite national strength.

1. Reform the Education System, [Raise the Caliber of] the People, and Cultivate a Techno-Scientific Elite

In the era of the knowledge economy, the most crucial component of a country’s composite national strength is techno-scientific strength. This in turn is dependent on education. Education is the fundamental element of techno-scientific strength. Enhancing techno-scientific strength is based on and carried out through the education and cultivation of talent. The more that modern production is based on highly-developed science and technology, the more it is dependent on education. The development and efficient utilization of a country’s resources is inseparably linked to science and technology, and the enhancement of techno-scientific strength is inseparably linked to the foundational work of education.

From the perspective of vertical development, China’s education has really made great progress. However, when assessed from a horizontal perspective and from the perspective of education quality, China still needs to focus significantly on the development of education and continue to implement educational reform. 

Specific reforms include the following:

1. Increase the proportion of GDP invested in education. Although China’s expenditures on education account for a growing proportion of fiscal expenditures and GDP, the proportion of GDP is still far lower than that of developed countries and is lower than the international average. Since 2009, developed countries like the U.S., UK, France, Germany, and Japan have invested over 4% of their GDPs in education. Among them, U.S. investment has reached 6.22%. In the 20th Century, UNESCO called on all countries to expend at least 6% of GDP on education by the year 2000.10 As of 2019, China’s education investment as a proportion of GDP had remained above 4% for seven consecutive years, still short of its 6% target. This is not yet at the level required for science and technology [to serve as] the foundation of education, which limits [the growth potential] of China’s techno-scientific strength. Therefore, in the next 30 years, China needs to increase investment in educational expenditures, gradually reaching 6.5% [of GDP].

2. To adapt to the requirements of future urbanization, adjust the support structures for educational funding and reorganize the layout and educational models for primary and secondary schools. In the future, with increasing urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural modernization, a large number of people will move to small and medium-sized cities. In terms of supporting educational expenses, China needs to focus on supporting the expansion of primary and secondary schools at the county level and above,11 [liberally] admit children of new [urban] residents,12 and rationally distribute [resources among] rural schools, allowing primary and secondary education to develop and strengthen in cities that are more economically and culturally developed. At the same time, [China] should, when appropriate, reduce the duration of [required] schooling, reducing primary and secondary school duration by one year each. One day for extracurricular activities could be added each week, increasing students’ opportunities to engage with society and thereby improving the caliber of students.13 [The concept of a student’s caliber] should be comprehensive, including physical caliber as well.      

The examination system and model [should be] reformed, reducing [the degree of] pure book knowledge required at the high school level and increasing the personal quality of exam questions, so as to promote the gradual improvement of students’ ability to practically apply knowledge, think creatively, and become more innovative. [We] must increase funding and support for primary and secondary schools in western ethnic minority areas and impoverished inland areas. We must alleviate weakened education caused by insufficient local financial resources. Maintaining educational equity will comprehensively improve the quality of the entire people.

3. Learn from the experience of technologically developed countries to reform China’s model of higher education. Colleges and universities are responsible for the basic tasks of preserving knowledge, disseminating knowledge, creating knowledge, and cultivating talent. Among them, a few top-notch universities also cultivate elites for the country and society, leading social progress by accelerating scientific research and innovation. Currently, China’s system of higher education has not adapted very well to the requirements of present-day developments. [Entire] fields of academic study are out of sync with the requirements for economic and social development. 

The state must vigorously promote reform and make adjustments, orient general colleges and universities to [the needs of] society, implement a system where universities improve through competition, and remove state responsibility for all educational funding, allowing the state to select key disciplines and laboratories to support. [For general colleges and universities], funding should come primarily from the schools themselves and donations; funds raised by the university may be supplemented with selective [government] support on a case-by-case basis according to the [broader] requirements of social or economic development. 

In terms of educational principles, general colleges and universities should place equal emphasis on imparting knowledge and vocational and technical training, focusing on applied sciences. [These universities] should not emphasize the cultivation of research-oriented studies at the doctoral level and post-graduate level in high-end disciplines; all graduates need to adapt to the needs of society and should [be educated in] fields that will enrich society, fulfilling society’s demand for talent at all levels.

The state should provide special policy and financial support for “985 Universities”14 and entrust them with the mission of cultivating high-end elite talent. These universities should completely divest their bureaucracies, eliminate or reduce non-teaching personnel, reform their academic system and training model, and focus on top-level, fundamental research and world-class academic research. As appropriate, less students should be enrolled in graduate programs, particularly PhD programs, so that fewer but more qualified PhDs can become the techno-scientific elites of the future.

The tenure system for professors in colleges and universities should be eliminated; there should be competition for jobs, and candidates must be selected from the best, so that the universities, for the sake of the country and humanity as a whole, can shape and educate the true techno-scientific elites that will lead the world. The historical experience of both foreign countries and China proves that the top scientific leaders are cultivated at world-class universities.

2. Establish an Techno-scientific Innovation System that is Guided by the State, with Enterprises as the Mainstay

Innovation is the primary driving force of development as well as a solid source of support for coping with risks and challenges. The enhancement of a country’s overall techno-scientific strength depends on establishing and improving mechanisms and institutions that focus on improving indigenous innovation capabilities and promoting the close integration of science and technology with economic and social development. The state should guide all of society in carrying out techno-scientific innovation in order to keep with prevailing trends and stay at the forefront of international science and technology. It should solve outstanding problems now limiting techno-scientific innovation. It should fully leverage the supporting and leading role of science and technology in building a national innovation system by transforming methods, adjusting structures, improving the people’s livelihood, and promoting harmony.

In this national innovation system, establish an institutional mechanism for enterprises to lead innovation in the research and development of industrial technology. The government should introduce various economic and social policies to guide and assist enterprises with both research and development and innovation, and boost innovation factors like technology and talent development to amass a number of innovation achievements that attract international attention, so these achievements benefit more people.   

Today, almost all developed countries use enterprise as the main component of techno-scientific innovation. With enterprise innovation as the basis, macro, large-scale, and basic scientific research projects are undertaken at the national level. For some time now, the overall levels of science and technology, research and development, and innovation in Chinese enterprises has been insufficient or at a very low level. This has impacted the techno-scientific strength of the entire country.  Because of this, China must genuinely implement measures to improve its scientific innovation system, guided by the state and with enterprises as the mainstay; accelerate reform of state-owned enterprises; and resolve issues related to state-owned enterprises, including the mechanisms, structure, property rights, and historical legacy of SOEs, in order to better solve techno-scientific innovation issues related to enterprises’ market-orientation and accelerate the commercialization of techno-scientific achievements.   

It should be noted that, in recent years, the number of publications by Chinese scientific researchers has gradually caught up with that of the United States.15 However, there has always been a gap between China and foreign countries in the average citation rate of these publications and the rate at which scientific research results are converted [to practical applications]. [China’s] current system for evaluating scientific research has made scientists unwilling to expend significant manpower and resources to convert research outcomes into practical applications; enterprises have the motivation to do so but lack the technological foundation, and it is often difficult for them to muster the necessary capability to undertake this work. 

Therefore, we must improve our system for evaluating the potential commercialization of applied technological research projects and set corresponding indicators. Scientific research institutions and universities should provide more support and services to corporate innovation. Techno-scientific personnel should be encouraged to establish technological enterprises. Enterprises should compete to conduct research and development of cutting-edge technology, based on domestic and foreign market demand and government macro-level plans – inspiring one another and competing with one another, thereby becoming the best they can be. 

This will accelerate [the development of] an techno-scientific system that is driven by the market and supported by the government. All sorts of advanced products and technologies will continually emerge, ultimately improving China’s techno-scientific strength and raising the level of [scientific advancement].    

Those who conquer themselves become stronger; those who strengthen themselves are victorious.16 Experience has repeatedly taught us that key core technologies cannot be acquired, bought, or begged for;17 innovation must rely on one’s own capabilities. What is most needed in the face of increasingly fierce international techno-scientific competition and numerous risks and challenges is a rational, scientific mindset paired with rousing action. [We must] persistently follow the path of independent innovation, eliminate the pain caused by a “lack of core and soul,”18 lay a solid foundation for innovation and development, and firmly grasp key core technologies in our own hands. By doing this, we will always be invincible and will have firmly grasped the initiative in economic and social development.

Techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong.19 To achieve the Two Centenary Goals20 and realize the Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation, [China] must persist on the path of indigenous innovation with Chinese characteristics, advance toward the world’s technological frontiers, advance toward the economic battlefield, and advance toward the needs of our country by accelerating technological innovation in all areas and seizing the opportunity of global techno-scientific competition.

In today’s world, the historical trend of economic globalization is unstoppable, and a new round of techno-scientific revolution and industrial transformation is just beginning.21 Insisting on open cooperation and common development is in line with the trend of the times and conforms with the inherent laws of techno-scientific innovation. Indigenous innovation is innovation in an open environment, which requires harnessing energy from all over the world and the power of all parties.

3. Expand Investment in Scientific Research and Actively Introduce Cutting-edge Foreign Technology

Among the components of composite national strength, science and technology are the most critical. Economic growth, military strength, culture, and education are all [necessary to] support science and technology. Increasing techno-scientific strength requires investment. The countries at the forefront of the world today are also the countries with the greatest composite national strength. [In these countries,] the rate at which science and technology has contributed to economic and military strength has grown, driving economic development and increasing military strength.

The economic development of the United States, Japan, and Germany is mainly reflected in the rate of added value from advanced technology. These countries rely on technologically-intensive industries and products with low resource inputs and high technical content to push economic development; the military strength of the United States and Russia relies on the support of high-tech weapons [utilizing] precision guidance and long-range strikes. The economy and national defense [of such a country] cannot be strong without support from high technology.

In turn, a developed economy and strong national defense [capability] can promote and guide investment in techno-scientific research and development. Techno-scientific strength cannot be improved without the impetus of robust expenditures and investment or without military competition. American investment in science and technology exceeds all other countries in the world, and the techno-scientific strength of Germany and Japan is the result of significant investment in science and technology.

Since Reform and Opening, the scale of China’s investment in scientific research has generally increased each year, and budgets at all levels have continued to increase [allocations to] scientific research each year.22 In 2018, U.S. research and development investment constituted approx. 2.8% of GDP, while Israeli and South Korean research and development expenditures accounted for as much as 4.5% of GDP. Germany’s investment in scientific research accounted for 3.13% of GDP. 

In this regard, China needs to implement and improve policies and measures to gradually increase society’s total expenditures on research and development; further increase the proportion of GDP spent on research and development; and, in the 13th Five-Year Plan and subsequent development plans, gradually align the proportion of scientific research investment with that of the United States. [With the objective of] increasing investment, [China needs to] improve its techno-scientific investment system; strengthen the deployment and coordination of techno-scientific innovation; focus on systems for technological innovation, knowledge innovation, and national defense techno-scientific innovation; improve the overall efficiency of the innovation system; emphasize investment in basic research; and increase research and development in [China’s] areas of weakness, like pharmaceuticals, software, semiconductors, and aviation. 

In terms of scientific research investment:  

1. Pay attention to: increasing the proportion of guaranteed and regular scientific research funding for scientific researchers; improving the living and working conditions of scientific researchers, particularly young and middle-aged scientific researchers; and protecting and expanding researchers’ space for free and independent thought, so they are more willing to spend time and energy on scientific research and improving academic standards.

2. Pay attention to the lack of state investment in corporate scientific research and the lack of [funding] channels available. Generally speaking, it is difficult for enterprises to [receive state research and development funding], particularly private companies that contribute significantly to productivity. The government should recognize that enterprises are the mainstay of techno-scientific innovation and are responsible for the commercialization of scientific research results, and change the excessive proportion of scientific research funding allocated to universities and invest much more in corporate research and development.

In addition, [China] must correctly handle the relationship between invention and imports. While increasing investment in domestic techno-scientific research and development, China must actively use its [plentiful] foreign exchange reserves and its monopoly over some scarce resources to make purchases from developed countries or obtain foreign countries’ advanced technologies and utility patents in exchange for resources those countries are lacking, shortening China’s research and development cycle. 

1. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sell basic components of  other company’s products.
2. George S. Yip, and Bruce McKern, China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation (Boston: MIT Press, 2016).
3. Popularized by Klaus Schwab (see note #5), the concept of the fourth industrial revolution presupposes three previous moments of momentous technological advance: the first, beginning at the end of the 18th century, saw the advent of steam power; the second, occurring in the closing decades of the 19th century, saw electrification, fossil fuels, and chemical production transform the global economy; the third, which began in the mid-20th century, occurred as calculators, computers, and digital communication technologies like the internet spread across the Earth. The next wave of  transformative technologies– usually identified with developments in biotech,  internet-of-things technology, or  artificial intelligence–will compose the 21st century’s own technological revolution, the fourth industrial revolution. This idea has improved enormously influential in China, and is now part of the CPC official line. For a discussion of the relationship between the fourth industrial revolution and CPC conceptions of the future, see CST’s translation of Jin Canrong’s “The Uncertainty of the International Situation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
4. Artificial Intelligence occupies a central role in the Chinese state’s ambition to surpass the developed nations in science and technology. In 2017, the Chinese state released an AI development plan that commits substantial financial resources to AI research and development and education programs. The plan aims to surpass the United States as the world’s leader in AI by 2030.
5. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, introduced the concept of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" in his 2016 book of the same name. Schwab argues that humanity is on the brink of a new era characterized by the convergence of digital, physical, and biological technologies. These technological changes are distinct from the third industrial revolution, which was characterized by the widespread adoption of information technologies: digital computers, automation, and the internet. The fourth industrial revolution, Schwab believes, will be characterized by a range of new technologies that fuses new digital technologies (e.g. AI) with the physical world (“internet of things”) and with biological systems. This will impact all disciplines, economies and industries, eventually challenging our ideas about what it means to be human. Klaus Schwab, Fourth Industrial Revolution (New York: The Crown Publishing Group, 2016).
6. The State Council released the Innovation-Driven Development Strategy Outline in 2016 as a top-level initiative that ties together a myriad of industrial policies related to technological upgrade. For an English translation of the strategy outline, see Original CSET Translation of “Outline of the National Innovation-Driven Development Strategy”, [中共中央 国务院印发《国家创新驱动发展战略纲要》], Xinhua News Agency, 19 May 2016.
7. Launched in 2015, Made in China 2025 is a Chinese industrial strategy that aims to transform the country into a global technological superpower by 2049. The strategy outlines ten core industries, such as robotics, power equipment and next-generation IT, that must receive substantial state aid.  Unlike previous Chinese industrial policies, Made in China 2025 is not intended to help China catch up with developed nations in established technological domains. It is also an initiative to surpass them in emerging technologies. For a detailed analysis of China’s industrial policy, see Barry Baughton, The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy 1978 to 2020 (Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 2021); and Max Zenglein and Anna Holzmann, “Evolving Made in China 2025: China’s Industrial Policy in the Quest for Global Tech Leadership,” Mercator Institute for China Studies, July 2019. For an English translation of the Made in China 2025 outline, see the Center for Strategic and Emerging Technology's Translation of “Notice of the State Council on the Publication of Made in China 2025,” PRC State Council, May 2015.
8. Sumatra Dutta, Bruno Lanvin, and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent (ed.), The Global Innovation Index 2017 (Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017). By 2023 China rose to spot #12. See World Intellectual Property Organization, Global Innovation Index 2023 (Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017).
9. Yi’s recommendation echoes the language in the “Double First Class” initiative that the State Council adopted in 2015. The initiative ​​aims to “coordinate and advance the construction of world-class universities and world-class disciplines, achieving China’s historic leap from a major higher education nation to a powerful higher education nation.” State Council, “Guowuyuan Guanyu Yinfa Tongchou Tuijin Shijie Yifu Daxue He Yifu Xueke Jianshe Zongti Fang'an de Tongzhi 国务院关于印发统筹推进世界一流大学和一流学科建设总体方案的通知 [Notice of the State Council on Printing and Distributing the Overall Plan for Coordinating and Advancing the Construction of World-Class Universities and First-Class Disciplines],” October 2015.  
10. Global Education Monitoring Report Team, World Bank, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Education Finance Watch 2023,” UNESCO Digital Library, 2023.
11. The PRC has four administrative levels: the provincial level [省级], the prefectural level [地级], the county level [县级], and the township level [乡级]. The average population size of the county level administrative zone is 399,200 people.
12.  Hukou [户口], officially known as the Household Registration System, is an administrative institution that plays a crucial role in controlling internal migration inside China. The system categorizes individuals into two primary types: rural residency and urban residency. This classification has significant implications for access to social services, education, healthcare, and employment opportunities; many millions of rural hukou holders live illegally in Chinese urban areas where it is easier to get work. These are the "new urban residents" Yi refers to; he is arguing that the route from rural hukou to urban hukou status be easier.
13. The word “quality” or “caliber” [suzhi 素质] is a commonly employed in contemporary Chinese social thought. It describes a person’s qualities measured in terms of his or her behavior, education, ethics, and life ambitions. Rudeness and bad behavior are commonly considered marks of “low quality.” Invoked in a political context, the “poor quality”–or low suzhi–of the citizenry is frequently cited as justification for autocratic oversight of the Chinese population. For more extensive discussions of the term in contemporary Chinese, see  The Australian Centre on China in the World, “Suzhi 素质,” The China Story, access 9 October 2023; Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly 186 (2006): 295–313.
14. Announced in May 1998, the “985 Universities” are a select group of universities that the Chinese government aims to elevate into world-class status through increased investment in infrastructure, faculty,and research. Since 2015, the original 985 Universities have been absorbed into a new education initiative titled “Double World-Class Project,” which aims to further enhance the global competitiveness of Chinese universities and specific academic disciplines.
15. According to the Nature Index, China has overtaken the United States as the number one ranked country for contributions to research articles published in a select group of high-quality natural-science journals in 2022. Different measures of performance show a more nuanced picture regarding citation and fraudulent research, however. For example, a 2022 report by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy shows that Chinese research comprised more of the top 1% of the most frequently cited papers than did US research between 2018 and 2020. See National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, “Japnese Science and Technology Indicators 2022,” National Institute of Science and Technology Policy Research Material No. 318, October 2022. Simon Baker, “China Overtakes United States on Contribution to Research in Nature Index,” Nature Index, 19 May 2023.For data on the number of Chinese publications since 2014, see Nature Research Intelligence, “Country/territory Tables, August 2022-July 2023,” Nature Index.
16. The saying “those who conquer themselves become stronger; those who strengthen themselves are victorious” originates from passage thirty-three of Dao De Jing, a Chinese classical text and foundational work of Taoism written around 400 B.C.
17. Yi is quoting Xi Jinping’s speech at a conference on the Chinese Academy of Chinese in May 2018. In the conference, Xi said “Experience has repeatedly taught us that key, core technologies cannot be acquired, bought, or begged for. Only by holding key core technologies in our own hand can we guarantee economic security, national defense, and other areas of security in a fundamental way.” 
Keji Ribao 科技日报 [Science Daily], “Guanjian Hexin Jishu Shi Yaobulai, Maibulai, Taobulai De 关键核心技术是要不来、买不来、讨不来的 [Key Core Technologies Cannot be Acquired, Bought, or Begged For],” October 2022. 
18. This is a reference to a comment by then-Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanghua, who said in 1999 that China’s information industry lacked both a “core and a soul.” The “core” refers to a computer chip and the “soul” to the operating system, the meaning being that China is dependent on Microsoft (basic software) and Intel (core hardware} architecture, which leaves China fundamentally insecure. Liu Li 琉璃, “Quexin Shaohun, Zhonghua Ershi Nian Zhi Tong 缺芯少魂,中华二十年之痛 [Lacking of core and soul, China’s Twenty Year Pain],” Zhihu 知乎, May 2020.
19. Yi is again quoting Xi Jinping. “techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong” is a quote from Xi’s speech at a conference of the Chinese Academy of Science in May 2021.
Zhongguo Xinwen Wang 中国新闻网 [Chinese News Online], “Keji Xing ze Minzu Xing, Keji Qiang ze Guojia Qiang 科技兴则民族兴,科技强则国家强 [techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong],” November 2022. 
20. First articulated in 1997 by Jiang Zemin, the "Two Centenary Goals" is a CPC slogan that vows to achieve a moderately prosperous society by the party's 100th anniversary in 2021 and build a socialist modernized country by the People’s Republic of China’s 100th anniversary in 2049. See the CST glossary entry Moderately Prosperous Society
21. See CST glossary for Great Changes Unseen in a Century
22. Chinese research and development expenditure has grown from 0.56% of its GDP in 1996 to 2.41% of its GDP in 2020. For more data, see UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Research and development expenditure (% of GDP) - China,” World Bank, September 19, 2023.

Cite This Article

Yi Changliang. “Using ‘Made in China 2025’ as an Opportunity to Accelerate the Construction of an Innovative Country.” An excerpt from Predicting the Future: China’s Composite National Strength in 2049. Translated by Leah Holder. San Francisco: Center for Strategic Translation, 2023.

Originally published in Yi Changliang 易昌良. Yujian Weilai: 2049 Zhongguo Zonghe Guoli Yanjiu 预见未来:2049中国综合国力研究 [Predicting the Future: China’s Composite National Strength in 2049], 2020. 209-212, 218-222.

Related Articles

China’s Composite National Strength in 2049

2049中国综合国力研究

Author
Yi Changliang
易昌良
original publication
Predicting the Future: China’s Composite National Strength in 2049
预见未来:2049中国综合国力研究
publication date
May 1, 2020
Translator
Leah Holder
Translation date
December 19, 2023

Introduction

China is filled with dreams of 2049.

The year 2049 marks a special anniversary. On October 1st, 1949, Mao Zedong stood on the threshold of Tiananmen gate and proclaimed the birth of the People’s Republic of China. A new anthem was sung. A new flag was raised. China’s long century of national humiliation was over. Now China’s journey of national rejuvenation could begin.

The journey that began in 1949 shall end in 2049. China’s communist leaders identify this centenary as the date by which China will officially have become a “great modern socialist country in all respects” [全面社会主义现代化强国] that sets an example of “prosperity, strength, democracy, advanced culture, social harmony, and beauty” for the entire world.1 Party leaders often anchor this otherwise abstract end state to more concrete policy aims. Thus China must build a “world class” [世界先进水平] military and “reunify” [统一] with Taiwan before national rejuvenation can be fully realized.2 Xi Jinping provides an equally clear vision for the centenary: “By the middle of the century,” he said during the 20th National Congress, “we must build China into a great modern socialist country that leads the world in terms of composite national strength and international influence.”3

Grand pronouncements like these have spawned an intellectual cottage industry devoted to the PRC centenary. The year 2049 lures in analysts from sundry backgrounds, united only by their shared eagerness to shape or predict China’s path to the hallowed date. One of the most prominent entries in this genre is Yi Changliang’s 2020 book Predicting the Future: A Study of China’s Composite National Strength in 2049. Yi heads the editorial board of Macroeconomic Management,4 a publication of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission, the ministerial-level agency responsible for crafting and coordinating state policy on economic and social development.5 The NDRC has been called the State Council’s own “mini State Council.”6 It is tasked with harmonizing macroeconomic policy across the PRC’s many bureaucratic bodies. Everything from the Belt and Road Initiative to price stabilization falls under this remit. Working in the NDRC trains officials to view social problems through a holistic yet decidedly quantitative lens. This is the lens Yi uses to forecast China’s future. 

Central to these forecasts is the concept of composite national strength. If the traditional rankings of the great powers focus on military metrics of strength like naval tonnage or army size, measures of composite national strength aim to synthesize military power with other material measures of power (such as industrial might) as well with less tangible forms of strength (such as global cultural influence, political stability, or technological dynamism). The term suggests an all-embracing metric for national success. 

There is no universal method for calculating this universal metric. Each analyst must calculate it according to his own methods. Most Chinese who employ the concept do not calculate at all, but merely use the words “composite national strength” as a convenient shorthand for the full suite of resources states draw on as they flourish or fall. But for a certain sort of Chinese wonk, the temptation to quantify is irresistible. So it is with Yi Changliang. In a section of the Predicting The Future that CST has not translated, Yi presents composite national strength as a formula.7 This formula provides a useful snapshot of Yi’s larger methodology. It reads:

CNS=[E+M+(Aa+Ab)]-1-α × Sβ × Q.

The first composite in this formula is “hard power” [硬实力], which is composed of a nation’s economic strength (E), military strength (M), and technological strength. That last variable is further broken down into its basic science (Aa) and applied science (Ab). The composite measure of hard power is modified by the risk factors a state may face (signified by α); α rises as a country experiences internal turmoil, reducing the value of its hard power. This modified hard power value is then multiplied against a state’s “soft power” [软实力], a measure of international prestige and diplomatic influence signified as S, as well as by its smart power [巧实力], a measure of strategic competence signified by Q. Yi assumes that the more modern and democratic a country is, the more positively it will be received by the international community. Thus he completes his equation by including democratization (β) as a multiplier of a nation’s soft power. 

Using this model Yi creates a point scale for composite national strength. He estimates that in 2010 China scored 43.08. On that same date the United States’ scored 200.00.8 With additional calculations that add variables like economic growth, development strategy, and institutional framework to his equations, Yi estimates that by 2049 China’s composite national strength will grow to 239.96—even as the United States’s composite national strength grows to 432.95.9

These crude calculations have only questionable scientific validity. More interesting than their specific conclusions are the assumptions built into the entire exercise. Technology is the keystone of Yi’s analysis. Yi explicitly makes scientific prowess an element of national power that is important as industrial capacity or military strength. He insists that technological “innovation is the primary driving force of development and the strategic [backbone] for building a modern economic system.” The “fusion point of science, technology, and industry” is now “the primary battleground for accelerated economic development.”

There is only one problem: Chinese industry imitates more than it innovates. Yi’s calculation that China will not catch up to the United States by 2049 rests on the assumption that China will continue in a development pattern dependent on the imitation of foreign technology.10 

Yi is not a hard historical determinist: his projections do not reveal what must be, only what may be—or rather, what is most likely to be if the PRC does not transform the institutional framework surrounding Chinese economic growth and technological development.11 In other words, Yi’s forecasts are more warning than prophecy. He has definite ideas on what changes might lead China to a brighter future. These recommendations are translated below. 

A few themes stand out. Like many members of the Communist Party of China, Yi believes the world is on the cusp of a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” during which advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, and artificial intelligence will transform the face of the global economy.  He believes that the scientists and researchers who pioneer these new technologies must be Chinese. China’s entire macro-economic structure must be reorganized for that end. In some cases this will require radical change. Thus Yi recommends that “the tenure system for professors in colleges and universities should be eliminated.” Only if there is “competition for jobs” at the top universities where candidates are truly “the best selected from the best” can Chinese universities “shape and educate the true scientific and technological elites that will lead the world.” In many ways, Yi’s numerous fiscal, developmental, and educational proposals are all aimed at the creation of this narrow elite stratum. If China produces humankind’s most talented scientists and technologists then everything else will fall into place. 

Another of Yi’s overriding concerns is system building. In addition to reforming its existing “education and cultural systems; fiscal, tax, finance, and investment systems; state-owned enterprise systems; and intellectual property systems,” China must build a new “techno-scientific innovation system,” “knowledge innovation system,” “knowledge dissemination system,” “innovative economic development system,” and an “institutional innovation system.”

For Yi, systems thinking lends itself to a very specific form of governance. The old model of direct government investment in emerging technologies is insufficient; technological innovation will advance fastest in the realm of commercial competition. The Party must foster an environment where firms compete against each other while drawing on government-funded basic research and the “techno-scientific infrastructure” created by the state. In Yi’s awkward phrasing, success will look like “a market-oriented industry-university-research alliance with enterprises as the mainstay.” Self-reinforcing systems like these must replace simpler top-down arrangements. Yi is confident that if reforms like these are successful, the discoveries of China’s genius-scientist class will quickly diffuse throughout the Chinese economy, serving as the engine of future Chinese power.

None of these ideas are out of step with the actual policies embraced by the Communist Party of China since Yi published his book. Xi Jinping also describes science and technology policy as the problem of “what kind of people we should cultivate.” He also sees innovation as a matter of “improving” and “establishing systems” to coordinate the efforts of universities, research institutes, and leading high-tech enterprises.12 If the shape of the “new-style whole of nation system” [新型举国体制] the Party has created to supercharge Chinese technology does not exactly match Yi’s prescriptions, there are clear parallels between the way the Party describes this system and the institutional arrangements Yi advocates below.13  It is clear that Yi Changliang is not the only Chinese communist convinced that scientific power will pave the way to 2049. 

—THE EDITORS

1. Xi Jinping  习近平, “Gaoju Zhongguo Tese Shehuizhuyi Weida Qizhi, Wei Quanmian Jianshe Shehuizhuyi Xiandaihua Guojia Er Tuanjie Zhengdou—Zai Zhongguo Gongchang Dang Diershici Quanguo Daibiao Daguo Daibiao Dahui Shangde Baogao 高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜 为全面建设社会主义现代化国家而团结奋斗——在中国共产党第二十次全国代表大会上的报告 [Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive in Unity to Build a Modern Socialist Country in All Respects—Political Report at the 20th National People’s Congress],”Xinhua 新华, 25 October 2022.
2. See Jude Blanchette, Briana Boland and Lily McElwee, “Beijing’s Timeline for ‘Reunification’ with Taiwan?CSIS Interpret: China, 26 May 2023;  U.S. Department of Defense, Military and Security Development Involving the  People’s Republic of China (Washington DC:  2023), p. 189.  
3. Xi, “Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”
4. Macroeconomic Management is an academic journal established and supervised by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission. Since its inception in 1984, the journal has published reports, analysis, and opinion pieces related to policies of economic and social development, domestic and foreign economic conditions, regional experiences, and other recommendations. Visit the journal’s website at http://www.hgjjgl.com/list-201-1.html
5. Lance L. P. Gore, “China’s ‘Mini-State Council’: National Development and Reform Commission,” EAI Background Brief, No. 614, 8 April 2011.  
6. Ibid. 
7. Yi Changliang 易昌良, Yujian Weilai: 2049 Zhongguo Zonghe Guoli Yanjiu 预见未来:2049中国综合国力研究 [Predicting the Future:  China’s Composite National Strength in 2049] (Beiijng: Zhongxin Chuban Jituan 中信出版集团 [CITIC Publishing Group], 2020), 119. 
8. Ibid., 146. 
9. Ibid., 156. 
10. Ibid., 150. 
11. Ibid.
12. Xi, “Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”
13. The official description of this whole-of-nation system is an “organizational model and operating mechanism that…leverages the decisive role of the market in resource allocation, better utilizes the role of the government, [and] better utilizes vast domestic market demand” in order to “better integrate a proactive government with an efficient market” so that China may become a “self-reliant technology great power.” See Quanmian Shenhua Gaige Weiyuanhui 全面深化改革委员 [Commission on Deepening Reform], “Guanyu Jianquan Shehuizhuyi Shichang Jinjixia Guanjian Hexin Jishu Gongguan Xinxing Jvguo Tizhu de Yijian 关于健全社会主义市场经济条件下关键核心技术攻关新型举国体制的意见 [Opinions on Improving the New-Style Whole of Nation System for Research on Key Core Technologies Under the Conditions of Socialist Market Economy],” 8 September 2022. 

Using “Made in China 2025” as an Opportunity to Accelerate the Construction of an Innovative Country

Leveraging the momentum of Reform and Opening Up, “Made in China” has become world-renowned, with Chinese products spread throughout the world. Most products display the [label] “Made in China,” which has contributed greatly to making China the world’s second largest economy. However, products made in China are primarily mid- to low-end products and OEM products.1 These products do not confer the advantages of technological innovation, which are required for industrial development; they require massive resources [to produce]; they cause serious negative externalities like environmental pollution; and to a certain extent, they weaken the competitiveness of Chinese products.

In their book China’s Next Strategic Advantage: from Imitation to Innovation, Professors George Yip and Bruce McKern from the China Europe International Business School clearly point out that [healthy] industrial development should rely on a competitive advantage in technology or innovation capacity, not on low labor costs.2 In the past, China’s manufacturing industry did not innovate and primarily copied, making it “big but not strong.” At that time, China’s strategic advantages were low labor costs and a huge domestic market. These two factors spurred China’s rapid development, but now these two factors are no longer enough. Innovation has become the focus of the Chinese government; it will make China’s manufacturing industry stronger, but it will not happen overnight. It may require 10 to 20 years.

Innovation is the propeller of modernization in human society. It is one of the most important factors in a country’s progress and development. Development is inseparable from innovation; innovation is the primary driving force of development and the strategic [backbone] for building a modern economic system. The actual circumstances of economic and technological development in today’s world also show that, on the stage of global economic competition, only countries with strong scientific and technological innovation capabilities can play a leading role in the exchange of goods and services in the global economy or lead [the direction of] global development.

Technological innovation is always important to the growth of any economic system. Industry is the primary source of economic growth and development. Without the development of industrial manufacturing, economic development would not be possible, to say nothing of the origin and existence of science and technology. The fusion point of science, technology, and industry has become the primary battleground for accelerated economic development. Once a concentrated explosion of scientific and technological invention occurs it will cause revolutionary changes in industry.

Humanity has already entered the fourth industrial revolution3–a new industrial revolution with intelligence at its core, embodied in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence,4 quantum communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual reality. The foundation [of this revolution] is computers, genetic engineering, new materials, and new energy. In his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, names unmanned vehicles (self-driving cars and drones), artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, new materials, the Internet of Things, genetic recombination engineering, and cellular fusion technology as core driving technologies.5 At a time when this new round of techno-scientific revolution and industrial transformation has not yet gained its [full] momentum, there are grand expectations for artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing and [these areas] have become the main battlefield for innovation. [In this battlefield], self-learning systems that use big data will expand the boundaries of human capabilities, strengthen internet security, and will utilize IoT technology to connect big data from users, manufacturing processes, and logistics supply chains, thereby spurring an industrial revolution in intelligent manufacturing. Explorations of “Internet +” are having a chemical-like reaction with more and more segmented industries.

Innovation leads every era. Driven by the global wave of innovation brought by the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, China has no choice but to take the path of innovative economic development, continuously improving the innovative capabilities of industrial manufacturing, daring to advance the development of this industrial revolution, and accelerating the construction of an innovative country. [Only by doing this] can China have an enormous impact on the world economy while also promoting the sustainable and healthy development of its domestic economy. Technological innovation has brought us unimaginable changes, and we must embrace innovation. We must embrace the fourth industrial revolution.

The 18th Party Congress pointed out that implementing an innovation-driven development strategy6 requires techno-scientific innovation to act as the strategic backbone for improving society’s productivity and composite national strength. This must be placed at the core of the overall configuration of national development. With the implementation of Made in China 2025,7 “Made in China” will transform into “Intelligently Made in China” and “Created in China.” [The role that] China’s development path will play on the international economic stage evolves from imitation to leadership. The secret behind this [transformation] is innovation.

Made in China 2025 aims to improve the productivity of manufacturing, expand [manufacturing] to new areas, and focus more on the research and development of high-tech products and the development of the domestic market. Under the guidance of this innovation strategy, China has made progress in many areas of techno-scientific development. In terms of overall innovation rankings, China’s international ranking rose in the 2017 Global Innovation Index Report,8 which is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, and other institutions. China’s ranking rose from 25th in 2016 to 22nd [in 2017], making China the only country among the world’s top 25 middle-income countries to be listed as a leader of global innovation.

At present, our country is still facing difficulties such as insufficient mastery of key core technologies and being trapped in the middle and at the low end of the value chain. The only way to change this unfavorable situation is to improve our innovation chain; promote collaborative innovation between industry, academia, and research entities; solve major general purpose technology problems; accelerate the rate at which new innovations are put into industrial use, and actively promote the construction of an innovative country. At the same time, [we must] continue to deepen reform of the property rights system and our techno-scientific structure, strengthen intellectual property protection, improve talent incentive policies, optimize the innovation environment, fully leverage the role of enterprises in innovation, and let innovation and social vitality burst forth through competition.

On our road to increasing China’s composite national strength over the next 30+ years, we need to continue to relentlessly pursue innovation. Only by persisting in our drive for innovation and daring to innovate and change can we break through the bottlenecks to economic growth and development and become the leader of the new industrial revolution.

To this end, we can promote innovation in the following respects:

1. Systematically build a knowledge innovation system, technological innovation system, knowledge dissemination system, and institutional innovation system, as well as supporting and auxiliary systems, with each having their own focus while also overlapping and supporting each other. Together they will form an orderly, cohesive, and open system for innovative economic development. A national innovative economic development system is, from the strategic perspective of systems construction, [meant to] comprehensively enhance the country’s innovation capabilities. [This system] is an innovative force formed through the integration and interaction of various innovation elements in the macro-innovation environment, such as culture, systems, institutions, and an innovation network composed of diverse innovative entities. [We] must avoid an innovation system “malfunction.” Reform must begin with the deep-seated institutional roots [of problems].

First: we must deepen the reform and improvement of various systems, including scientific and technological systems; education and cultural systems; fiscal, tax, finance, and investment systems; state-owned enterprise systems; and intellectual property systems. [We must] streamline policies for encouraging techno-scientific innovation, integrate diverse innovation entities, seek common social and economic objectives, and establish a linked innovation network oriented toward compatible incentives, using innovation as the key driving force for reform and development and promoting the effective allocation of social and techno-scientific resources and the integration of techno-scientific innovation.

Second: [We] must establish a comprehensive system for technological innovation that has enterprise as its mainstay, and that combines industry, academia and research with the participation of relevant government departments. This system should [serve as] a breakthrough in comprehensively promoting the construction of a national innovation system with Chinese characteristics, further optimizing the layout of China’s techno-scientific structure and the cultivation of techno-scientific talent, and stimulating the innovativeness of society as a whole. 

Finally: we must optimize the innovation environment in [policies for] reform and strategic transformation, forming an overall rationale for techno-scientific innovation and providing good institutional mechanisms and safeguards for building an innovative country and developing an innovative economy.   

2. Promote the reform of China’s enterprise-driven innovation model. In China, technological and scientific innovation has traditionally been promoted by the government. In its techno-scientific innovation system, China’s traditional innovation model has usually been promoted through government policies and direct investment, or by scientific research institutions and universities under government jurisdiction. This is a typical “government-driven model.” The government formulates policies for innovation, the government acts as the main investor in innovation, and the government allocates resources for innovation. Innovation, to a large degree, is a government task and the government plays an “omnipotent” role in the techno-scientific innovation process. However, with the gradually deepening market reforms and growth of private enterprises, the disadvantages of this government-driven model have become increasingly apparent, such as the lack of motivation among those [involved in] innovation and the low [level of] efficiency in innovation.

Therefore, on the one hand, it is necessary to change the government-driven model and reposition the government’s role in innovation.  The government [should instead] serve the important functions of supporting strategic and basic research and development, guiding the direction of technological innovation and industrial development of enterprises, and building techno-scientific infrastructure. 

On the other hand, enterprises should become the mainstay of national innovation activity and the core of the overall innovation system. Innovation capabilities are also an important reflection of corporate competitiveness. In this way, consolidating the position of enterprises as leaders in the national innovation system is an important means of enhancing the country’s innovation capacity. Only with enterprises as the mainstay of innovation will it be possible to maintain a market orientation toward technological innovation, quickly achieve the industrialization and commercialization of technological or scientific developments, and improve the market competitiveness of China’s enterprises. 

3. Promote the construction of China’s innovative economic development system. In China’s national innovation system, universities and scientific research institutions are important sources of knowledge and technological [breakthroughs], and enterprises are the primary implementers of knowledge and technology. Together, enterprises, universities, and scientific research institutions form the core of the national innovation system; each one is indispensable. The concept of non-government innovation is also an important cornerstone of improvement in China’s innovation capability and plays a significant role in driving China’s culture of innovation. In order to build an innovative economic development system, China must first build world-class scientific research institutions, world-class universities, and world-class fields of study,9 [which will] strengthen China’s original innovation capabilities and contribute to economic and social development.

First: We clarify the functions of scientific research institutions and universities. We strengthen the leading role of scientific research institutions as the backbone of the research and development of basic and frontier technologies, as well as in the research and development of general-purpose technologies. We strengthen university research in basic scientific disciplines, and [raise] a number of scientific disciplines to world-class status. [We must] guide scientific research institutions and universities to focus closely on the major scientific research tasks [prioritized by the government] and effectively integrate and optimize scientific research resources. We must form interdisciplinary and comprehensive scientific research teams, which will be a foundation for comprehensive, high-level, and international innovation in scientific research. 

Next: We must promote reform in corporate structures and in the intellectual property regime. We must strive to cultivate world-class, innovative enterprises; encourage industry leaders to build high-level research and development systems; form a complete organizational system for scientific research and new technology research and development; and consolidate high-end talent, systematically laying out an innovation chain that unites small and medium-sized enterprises, scientific research institutions, and universities within and across industries, providing comprehensive solutions for industrial technological innovation.

4. Build a professional, market-oriented technology transfer system to accelerate the commercialization of China’s scientific research achievements. In the construction of an innovative economy, a high level of focus [must be] attached to the catalytic role of a technology commercialization system, and the development of various techno-scientific services like research and development design; start-up incubation; inspection, testing, and certification; and intellectual property rights. At the same time, various nationwide specialized technology trading markets and market-oriented intellectual property trading platforms should be perfected, [allowing for] unimpeded channels of technology and intellectual property transfer.

From this it can be seen that the strategic objective of effectively promoting the construction of China as an innovative country and enhancing China’s innovation capabilities should be [as follows]: with regard to the market development of technology, establishing a market-oriented industry-university-research alliance with enterprises as the mainstay, [forming] an innovation collaborative network that incorporates non-government resources. With regard to basic and fundamental techno-scientific research, [China] should take a government-driven approach with scientific research institutions, universities, and enterprises as the backbone. With the coordination, assistance, and oversight of the government, multiple forces will work together to advance [China’s progress] on the path of indigenous innovation. 

The Strategic Choice to Enhance Scientific and Technological Strength 

Techno-scientific strength is the core component of a country’s composite national strength. Science and technology, particularly advanced science and technology with industrial uses, have become the primary driving force in social progress and have rapidly changed the international landscape. Many key high-tech areas, like outer space [exploration], deep sea development, bioengineering, information engineering, and the exploration of new energy and new materials are changing the balance of power between countries. Some countries have rapidly enhanced their composite national strength through advanced technology and the adjustments in industrial structure driven by these advances.

Currently, China’s level of techno-scientific development, particularly its high-tech capabilities, still lags behind the world’s most developed countries like the U.S., Russia, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Israel. In many respects, there is still much hard work necessary in order to shrink the gap between Chinese science and technology of China and that of the developed countries, as well as to increase the contribution of science and technology to China’s composite national strength.

1. Reform the Education System, [Raise the Caliber of] the People, and Cultivate a Techno-Scientific Elite

In the era of the knowledge economy, the most crucial component of a country’s composite national strength is techno-scientific strength. This in turn is dependent on education. Education is the fundamental element of techno-scientific strength. Enhancing techno-scientific strength is based on and carried out through the education and cultivation of talent. The more that modern production is based on highly-developed science and technology, the more it is dependent on education. The development and efficient utilization of a country’s resources is inseparably linked to science and technology, and the enhancement of techno-scientific strength is inseparably linked to the foundational work of education.

From the perspective of vertical development, China’s education has really made great progress. However, when assessed from a horizontal perspective and from the perspective of education quality, China still needs to focus significantly on the development of education and continue to implement educational reform. 

Specific reforms include the following:

1. Increase the proportion of GDP invested in education. Although China’s expenditures on education account for a growing proportion of fiscal expenditures and GDP, the proportion of GDP is still far lower than that of developed countries and is lower than the international average. Since 2009, developed countries like the U.S., UK, France, Germany, and Japan have invested over 4% of their GDPs in education. Among them, U.S. investment has reached 6.22%. In the 20th Century, UNESCO called on all countries to expend at least 6% of GDP on education by the year 2000.10 As of 2019, China’s education investment as a proportion of GDP had remained above 4% for seven consecutive years, still short of its 6% target. This is not yet at the level required for science and technology [to serve as] the foundation of education, which limits [the growth potential] of China’s techno-scientific strength. Therefore, in the next 30 years, China needs to increase investment in educational expenditures, gradually reaching 6.5% [of GDP].

2. To adapt to the requirements of future urbanization, adjust the support structures for educational funding and reorganize the layout and educational models for primary and secondary schools. In the future, with increasing urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural modernization, a large number of people will move to small and medium-sized cities. In terms of supporting educational expenses, China needs to focus on supporting the expansion of primary and secondary schools at the county level and above,11 [liberally] admit children of new [urban] residents,12 and rationally distribute [resources among] rural schools, allowing primary and secondary education to develop and strengthen in cities that are more economically and culturally developed. At the same time, [China] should, when appropriate, reduce the duration of [required] schooling, reducing primary and secondary school duration by one year each. One day for extracurricular activities could be added each week, increasing students’ opportunities to engage with society and thereby improving the caliber of students.13 [The concept of a student’s caliber] should be comprehensive, including physical caliber as well.      

The examination system and model [should be] reformed, reducing [the degree of] pure book knowledge required at the high school level and increasing the personal quality of exam questions, so as to promote the gradual improvement of students’ ability to practically apply knowledge, think creatively, and become more innovative. [We] must increase funding and support for primary and secondary schools in western ethnic minority areas and impoverished inland areas. We must alleviate weakened education caused by insufficient local financial resources. Maintaining educational equity will comprehensively improve the quality of the entire people.

3. Learn from the experience of technologically developed countries to reform China’s model of higher education. Colleges and universities are responsible for the basic tasks of preserving knowledge, disseminating knowledge, creating knowledge, and cultivating talent. Among them, a few top-notch universities also cultivate elites for the country and society, leading social progress by accelerating scientific research and innovation. Currently, China’s system of higher education has not adapted very well to the requirements of present-day developments. [Entire] fields of academic study are out of sync with the requirements for economic and social development. 

The state must vigorously promote reform and make adjustments, orient general colleges and universities to [the needs of] society, implement a system where universities improve through competition, and remove state responsibility for all educational funding, allowing the state to select key disciplines and laboratories to support. [For general colleges and universities], funding should come primarily from the schools themselves and donations; funds raised by the university may be supplemented with selective [government] support on a case-by-case basis according to the [broader] requirements of social or economic development. 

In terms of educational principles, general colleges and universities should place equal emphasis on imparting knowledge and vocational and technical training, focusing on applied sciences. [These universities] should not emphasize the cultivation of research-oriented studies at the doctoral level and post-graduate level in high-end disciplines; all graduates need to adapt to the needs of society and should [be educated in] fields that will enrich society, fulfilling society’s demand for talent at all levels.

The state should provide special policy and financial support for “985 Universities”14 and entrust them with the mission of cultivating high-end elite talent. These universities should completely divest their bureaucracies, eliminate or reduce non-teaching personnel, reform their academic system and training model, and focus on top-level, fundamental research and world-class academic research. As appropriate, less students should be enrolled in graduate programs, particularly PhD programs, so that fewer but more qualified PhDs can become the techno-scientific elites of the future.

The tenure system for professors in colleges and universities should be eliminated; there should be competition for jobs, and candidates must be selected from the best, so that the universities, for the sake of the country and humanity as a whole, can shape and educate the true techno-scientific elites that will lead the world. The historical experience of both foreign countries and China proves that the top scientific leaders are cultivated at world-class universities.

2. Establish an Techno-scientific Innovation System that is Guided by the State, with Enterprises as the Mainstay

Innovation is the primary driving force of development as well as a solid source of support for coping with risks and challenges. The enhancement of a country’s overall techno-scientific strength depends on establishing and improving mechanisms and institutions that focus on improving indigenous innovation capabilities and promoting the close integration of science and technology with economic and social development. The state should guide all of society in carrying out techno-scientific innovation in order to keep with prevailing trends and stay at the forefront of international science and technology. It should solve outstanding problems now limiting techno-scientific innovation. It should fully leverage the supporting and leading role of science and technology in building a national innovation system by transforming methods, adjusting structures, improving the people’s livelihood, and promoting harmony.

In this national innovation system, establish an institutional mechanism for enterprises to lead innovation in the research and development of industrial technology. The government should introduce various economic and social policies to guide and assist enterprises with both research and development and innovation, and boost innovation factors like technology and talent development to amass a number of innovation achievements that attract international attention, so these achievements benefit more people.   

Today, almost all developed countries use enterprise as the main component of techno-scientific innovation. With enterprise innovation as the basis, macro, large-scale, and basic scientific research projects are undertaken at the national level. For some time now, the overall levels of science and technology, research and development, and innovation in Chinese enterprises has been insufficient or at a very low level. This has impacted the techno-scientific strength of the entire country.  Because of this, China must genuinely implement measures to improve its scientific innovation system, guided by the state and with enterprises as the mainstay; accelerate reform of state-owned enterprises; and resolve issues related to state-owned enterprises, including the mechanisms, structure, property rights, and historical legacy of SOEs, in order to better solve techno-scientific innovation issues related to enterprises’ market-orientation and accelerate the commercialization of techno-scientific achievements.   

It should be noted that, in recent years, the number of publications by Chinese scientific researchers has gradually caught up with that of the United States.15 However, there has always been a gap between China and foreign countries in the average citation rate of these publications and the rate at which scientific research results are converted [to practical applications]. [China’s] current system for evaluating scientific research has made scientists unwilling to expend significant manpower and resources to convert research outcomes into practical applications; enterprises have the motivation to do so but lack the technological foundation, and it is often difficult for them to muster the necessary capability to undertake this work. 

Therefore, we must improve our system for evaluating the potential commercialization of applied technological research projects and set corresponding indicators. Scientific research institutions and universities should provide more support and services to corporate innovation. Techno-scientific personnel should be encouraged to establish technological enterprises. Enterprises should compete to conduct research and development of cutting-edge technology, based on domestic and foreign market demand and government macro-level plans – inspiring one another and competing with one another, thereby becoming the best they can be. 

This will accelerate [the development of] an techno-scientific system that is driven by the market and supported by the government. All sorts of advanced products and technologies will continually emerge, ultimately improving China’s techno-scientific strength and raising the level of [scientific advancement].    

Those who conquer themselves become stronger; those who strengthen themselves are victorious.16 Experience has repeatedly taught us that key core technologies cannot be acquired, bought, or begged for;17 innovation must rely on one’s own capabilities. What is most needed in the face of increasingly fierce international techno-scientific competition and numerous risks and challenges is a rational, scientific mindset paired with rousing action. [We must] persistently follow the path of independent innovation, eliminate the pain caused by a “lack of core and soul,”18 lay a solid foundation for innovation and development, and firmly grasp key core technologies in our own hands. By doing this, we will always be invincible and will have firmly grasped the initiative in economic and social development.

Techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong.19 To achieve the Two Centenary Goals20 and realize the Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation, [China] must persist on the path of indigenous innovation with Chinese characteristics, advance toward the world’s technological frontiers, advance toward the economic battlefield, and advance toward the needs of our country by accelerating technological innovation in all areas and seizing the opportunity of global techno-scientific competition.

In today’s world, the historical trend of economic globalization is unstoppable, and a new round of techno-scientific revolution and industrial transformation is just beginning.21 Insisting on open cooperation and common development is in line with the trend of the times and conforms with the inherent laws of techno-scientific innovation. Indigenous innovation is innovation in an open environment, which requires harnessing energy from all over the world and the power of all parties.

3. Expand Investment in Scientific Research and Actively Introduce Cutting-edge Foreign Technology

Among the components of composite national strength, science and technology are the most critical. Economic growth, military strength, culture, and education are all [necessary to] support science and technology. Increasing techno-scientific strength requires investment. The countries at the forefront of the world today are also the countries with the greatest composite national strength. [In these countries,] the rate at which science and technology has contributed to economic and military strength has grown, driving economic development and increasing military strength.

The economic development of the United States, Japan, and Germany is mainly reflected in the rate of added value from advanced technology. These countries rely on technologically-intensive industries and products with low resource inputs and high technical content to push economic development; the military strength of the United States and Russia relies on the support of high-tech weapons [utilizing] precision guidance and long-range strikes. The economy and national defense [of such a country] cannot be strong without support from high technology.

In turn, a developed economy and strong national defense [capability] can promote and guide investment in techno-scientific research and development. Techno-scientific strength cannot be improved without the impetus of robust expenditures and investment or without military competition. American investment in science and technology exceeds all other countries in the world, and the techno-scientific strength of Germany and Japan is the result of significant investment in science and technology.

Since Reform and Opening, the scale of China’s investment in scientific research has generally increased each year, and budgets at all levels have continued to increase [allocations to] scientific research each year.22 In 2018, U.S. research and development investment constituted approx. 2.8% of GDP, while Israeli and South Korean research and development expenditures accounted for as much as 4.5% of GDP. Germany’s investment in scientific research accounted for 3.13% of GDP. 

In this regard, China needs to implement and improve policies and measures to gradually increase society’s total expenditures on research and development; further increase the proportion of GDP spent on research and development; and, in the 13th Five-Year Plan and subsequent development plans, gradually align the proportion of scientific research investment with that of the United States. [With the objective of] increasing investment, [China needs to] improve its techno-scientific investment system; strengthen the deployment and coordination of techno-scientific innovation; focus on systems for technological innovation, knowledge innovation, and national defense techno-scientific innovation; improve the overall efficiency of the innovation system; emphasize investment in basic research; and increase research and development in [China’s] areas of weakness, like pharmaceuticals, software, semiconductors, and aviation. 

In terms of scientific research investment:  

1. Pay attention to: increasing the proportion of guaranteed and regular scientific research funding for scientific researchers; improving the living and working conditions of scientific researchers, particularly young and middle-aged scientific researchers; and protecting and expanding researchers’ space for free and independent thought, so they are more willing to spend time and energy on scientific research and improving academic standards.

2. Pay attention to the lack of state investment in corporate scientific research and the lack of [funding] channels available. Generally speaking, it is difficult for enterprises to [receive state research and development funding], particularly private companies that contribute significantly to productivity. The government should recognize that enterprises are the mainstay of techno-scientific innovation and are responsible for the commercialization of scientific research results, and change the excessive proportion of scientific research funding allocated to universities and invest much more in corporate research and development.

In addition, [China] must correctly handle the relationship between invention and imports. While increasing investment in domestic techno-scientific research and development, China must actively use its [plentiful] foreign exchange reserves and its monopoly over some scarce resources to make purchases from developed countries or obtain foreign countries’ advanced technologies and utility patents in exchange for resources those countries are lacking, shortening China’s research and development cycle. 

1. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sell basic components of  other company’s products.
2. George S. Yip, and Bruce McKern, China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation (Boston: MIT Press, 2016).
3. Popularized by Klaus Schwab (see note #5), the concept of the fourth industrial revolution presupposes three previous moments of momentous technological advance: the first, beginning at the end of the 18th century, saw the advent of steam power; the second, occurring in the closing decades of the 19th century, saw electrification, fossil fuels, and chemical production transform the global economy; the third, which began in the mid-20th century, occurred as calculators, computers, and digital communication technologies like the internet spread across the Earth. The next wave of  transformative technologies– usually identified with developments in biotech,  internet-of-things technology, or  artificial intelligence–will compose the 21st century’s own technological revolution, the fourth industrial revolution. This idea has improved enormously influential in China, and is now part of the CPC official line. For a discussion of the relationship between the fourth industrial revolution and CPC conceptions of the future, see CST’s translation of Jin Canrong’s “The Uncertainty of the International Situation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
4. Artificial Intelligence occupies a central role in the Chinese state’s ambition to surpass the developed nations in science and technology. In 2017, the Chinese state released an AI development plan that commits substantial financial resources to AI research and development and education programs. The plan aims to surpass the United States as the world’s leader in AI by 2030.
5. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, introduced the concept of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" in his 2016 book of the same name. Schwab argues that humanity is on the brink of a new era characterized by the convergence of digital, physical, and biological technologies. These technological changes are distinct from the third industrial revolution, which was characterized by the widespread adoption of information technologies: digital computers, automation, and the internet. The fourth industrial revolution, Schwab believes, will be characterized by a range of new technologies that fuses new digital technologies (e.g. AI) with the physical world (“internet of things”) and with biological systems. This will impact all disciplines, economies and industries, eventually challenging our ideas about what it means to be human. Klaus Schwab, Fourth Industrial Revolution (New York: The Crown Publishing Group, 2016).
6. The State Council released the Innovation-Driven Development Strategy Outline in 2016 as a top-level initiative that ties together a myriad of industrial policies related to technological upgrade. For an English translation of the strategy outline, see Original CSET Translation of “Outline of the National Innovation-Driven Development Strategy”, [中共中央 国务院印发《国家创新驱动发展战略纲要》], Xinhua News Agency, 19 May 2016.
7. Launched in 2015, Made in China 2025 is a Chinese industrial strategy that aims to transform the country into a global technological superpower by 2049. The strategy outlines ten core industries, such as robotics, power equipment and next-generation IT, that must receive substantial state aid.  Unlike previous Chinese industrial policies, Made in China 2025 is not intended to help China catch up with developed nations in established technological domains. It is also an initiative to surpass them in emerging technologies. For a detailed analysis of China’s industrial policy, see Barry Baughton, The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy 1978 to 2020 (Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 2021); and Max Zenglein and Anna Holzmann, “Evolving Made in China 2025: China’s Industrial Policy in the Quest for Global Tech Leadership,” Mercator Institute for China Studies, July 2019. For an English translation of the Made in China 2025 outline, see the Center for Strategic and Emerging Technology's Translation of “Notice of the State Council on the Publication of Made in China 2025,” PRC State Council, May 2015.
8. Sumatra Dutta, Bruno Lanvin, and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent (ed.), The Global Innovation Index 2017 (Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017). By 2023 China rose to spot #12. See World Intellectual Property Organization, Global Innovation Index 2023 (Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017).
9. Yi’s recommendation echoes the language in the “Double First Class” initiative that the State Council adopted in 2015. The initiative ​​aims to “coordinate and advance the construction of world-class universities and world-class disciplines, achieving China’s historic leap from a major higher education nation to a powerful higher education nation.” State Council, “Guowuyuan Guanyu Yinfa Tongchou Tuijin Shijie Yifu Daxue He Yifu Xueke Jianshe Zongti Fang'an de Tongzhi 国务院关于印发统筹推进世界一流大学和一流学科建设总体方案的通知 [Notice of the State Council on Printing and Distributing the Overall Plan for Coordinating and Advancing the Construction of World-Class Universities and First-Class Disciplines],” October 2015.  
10. Global Education Monitoring Report Team, World Bank, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Education Finance Watch 2023,” UNESCO Digital Library, 2023.
11. The PRC has four administrative levels: the provincial level [省级], the prefectural level [地级], the county level [县级], and the township level [乡级]. The average population size of the county level administrative zone is 399,200 people.
12.  Hukou [户口], officially known as the Household Registration System, is an administrative institution that plays a crucial role in controlling internal migration inside China. The system categorizes individuals into two primary types: rural residency and urban residency. This classification has significant implications for access to social services, education, healthcare, and employment opportunities; many millions of rural hukou holders live illegally in Chinese urban areas where it is easier to get work. These are the "new urban residents" Yi refers to; he is arguing that the route from rural hukou to urban hukou status be easier.
13. The word “quality” or “caliber” [suzhi 素质] is a commonly employed in contemporary Chinese social thought. It describes a person’s qualities measured in terms of his or her behavior, education, ethics, and life ambitions. Rudeness and bad behavior are commonly considered marks of “low quality.” Invoked in a political context, the “poor quality”–or low suzhi–of the citizenry is frequently cited as justification for autocratic oversight of the Chinese population. For more extensive discussions of the term in contemporary Chinese, see  The Australian Centre on China in the World, “Suzhi 素质,” The China Story, access 9 October 2023; Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly 186 (2006): 295–313.
14. Announced in May 1998, the “985 Universities” are a select group of universities that the Chinese government aims to elevate into world-class status through increased investment in infrastructure, faculty,and research. Since 2015, the original 985 Universities have been absorbed into a new education initiative titled “Double World-Class Project,” which aims to further enhance the global competitiveness of Chinese universities and specific academic disciplines.
15. According to the Nature Index, China has overtaken the United States as the number one ranked country for contributions to research articles published in a select group of high-quality natural-science journals in 2022. Different measures of performance show a more nuanced picture regarding citation and fraudulent research, however. For example, a 2022 report by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy shows that Chinese research comprised more of the top 1% of the most frequently cited papers than did US research between 2018 and 2020. See National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, “Japnese Science and Technology Indicators 2022,” National Institute of Science and Technology Policy Research Material No. 318, October 2022. Simon Baker, “China Overtakes United States on Contribution to Research in Nature Index,” Nature Index, 19 May 2023.For data on the number of Chinese publications since 2014, see Nature Research Intelligence, “Country/territory Tables, August 2022-July 2023,” Nature Index.
16. The saying “those who conquer themselves become stronger; those who strengthen themselves are victorious” originates from passage thirty-three of Dao De Jing, a Chinese classical text and foundational work of Taoism written around 400 B.C.
17. Yi is quoting Xi Jinping’s speech at a conference on the Chinese Academy of Chinese in May 2018. In the conference, Xi said “Experience has repeatedly taught us that key, core technologies cannot be acquired, bought, or begged for. Only by holding key core technologies in our own hand can we guarantee economic security, national defense, and other areas of security in a fundamental way.” 
Keji Ribao 科技日报 [Science Daily], “Guanjian Hexin Jishu Shi Yaobulai, Maibulai, Taobulai De 关键核心技术是要不来、买不来、讨不来的 [Key Core Technologies Cannot be Acquired, Bought, or Begged For],” October 2022. 
18. This is a reference to a comment by then-Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanghua, who said in 1999 that China’s information industry lacked both a “core and a soul.” The “core” refers to a computer chip and the “soul” to the operating system, the meaning being that China is dependent on Microsoft (basic software) and Intel (core hardware} architecture, which leaves China fundamentally insecure. Liu Li 琉璃, “Quexin Shaohun, Zhonghua Ershi Nian Zhi Tong 缺芯少魂,中华二十年之痛 [Lacking of core and soul, China’s Twenty Year Pain],” Zhihu 知乎, May 2020.
19. Yi is again quoting Xi Jinping. “techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong” is a quote from Xi’s speech at a conference of the Chinese Academy of Science in May 2021.
Zhongguo Xinwen Wang 中国新闻网 [Chinese News Online], “Keji Xing ze Minzu Xing, Keji Qiang ze Guojia Qiang 科技兴则民族兴,科技强则国家强 [techno-scientific prosperity will make the nation prosper; techno-scientific strength will make the country strong],” November 2022. 
20. First articulated in 1997 by Jiang Zemin, the "Two Centenary Goals" is a CPC slogan that vows to achieve a moderately prosperous society by the party's 100th anniversary in 2021 and build a socialist modernized country by the People’s Republic of China’s 100th anniversary in 2049. See the CST glossary entry Moderately Prosperous Society
21. See CST glossary for Great Changes Unseen in a Century
22. Chinese research and development expenditure has grown from 0.56% of its GDP in 1996 to 2.41% of its GDP in 2020. For more data, see UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Research and development expenditure (% of GDP) - China,” World Bank, September 19, 2023.

以实施“中国制造2025”为契机,加快创新型国家建设

借助改革开放的东风,“中国制造”享誉全球,中国产品遍布世界各地,大多数产品都彰显了“中国制造”的传奇,为中国成为第二大经济体立下了汗马功劳。然而,中国制造的产品主要是中低端产品和原始设备,不具备工业发展所需的科技创新优势,消耗大量资源,导致环境污染的负外部性严重,也在一定程度上削弱了中国产品的竞争优势。

中欧国际工商学院教授叶恩华、布鲁斯·麦科恩两位教授在《中国的下一个战略优势:从模仿到创新》一书中明确指出,工业发展的竞争优势应是技术或创新,而不是低廉的劳动成本。过去,中国制造业没有创新,主要在复制,因此“大而不强”。当时中国战略优势是低廉的劳动力成本和巨大的国内市场。这两个因素促使中国迅速发展,但现在只有这两项已经不够,创新成为中国政府的工作重心。创新会使中国制造业更强,但中国制造业不会“一夜之间”变强,可能需要10到20年的时间。

创新是人类社会走上现代化的推进器,是一个国家进步和发展最重要的因素之一。发展离不开创新,创新是引领发展的第一动力,是建设现代化经济体系的战略支撑。当今世界经济技术发展的实际情况也表明:在世界经济竞技的舞台上,只有科技创新能力强盛的国家才能在世界经济的交流与发展中发挥主导作用,引领世界发展的潮流。

对于一个经济体而言,科技创新对其经济增长永远具有意义,而工业是经济增长与发展的主要因素。没有工业制造业的发达就谈不上经济的发达,科学技术也没有了起源和存在的平台。科技与工业的融合成为经济加速发展的主战场,一旦科技发明集中爆发就会引起工业领域内的革命性变革。

人类已经进入第四次工业革命,即以智能化为核心,以人工智能、量子通信、物联网、虚拟现实等前沿技术为代表的新工业革命,基础是计算机、遗传工程、新材料和新能源。世界经济论坛创始人兼执行主席克劳斯·施瓦布在其著作《第四次工业革命》中,把无人交通工具(自动驾驶汽车和无人机)、人工智能、高级机器人、新材料、物联网、基因重组技术工程与细胞融合技术工程列为核心推动技术。在新一轮科技和产业革命尚未形成势头之际,人工智能、大数据、云计算被寄予厚望,成为创新的主战场,借助大数据的自我学习提升人类自身能力的边界,强化互联网安全问题,抑或借助物联网技术打通用户大数据、制造业流程大数据、物流供应链大数据,从而推动智能制造产业革命,有关“互联网+”的探索正在与越来越多的细分业态发生化学反应。

创新意味着引领时代,在以第四次工业革命到来为特征的全球创新浪潮的驱动下,中国只有走创新型经济发展的道路,不断提升工业制造的创新能力,勇于推进工业革命的发展,加快创新型国家建设,才能对世界经济产生巨大的影响,同时促进国内经济社会可持续健康发展。技术创新给我们带来的改变是不可想象的,我们要拥抱创新,拥抱第四次工业革命。

党的十八大提出,实施创新驱动发展战略,科技创新是提高社会生产力和综合国力的战略支撑,必须摆在国家发展全局的核心位置。随着“中国制造2025”的实施,“中国制造”正在向“中国智造”“中国创造”转变,在世界经济舞台上走出一条从模仿、追随到引领的发展道路,而这背后的秘诀便是创新。

“中国制造2025”提出要提高制造业的生产率,向自己以前未涉足过的领域进军,更加注重高科技产品的研发和国内市场的开拓。在创新战略的指引下,今天,我们在众多科技发展领域也取得了进展。总体创新排名方面——世界知识产权组织和康奈尔大学等机构联合发布的《2017年全球创新指数报告》,中国国际排名从2016年的第25位升至第22位,成为唯一进入前25的中等收入国家,已经成功跻身全球创新领导者行列。

目前,我国仍面临着关键核心技术掌握不足、处于价值链中低端等困境。要改变这一不利局面,唯一的道路就是要完善创新链条,促进产学研协同创新,解决重大共性技术难题,加快创新成果向现实生产力转化,积极推进创新型国家建设;同时,继续深化产权制度和科技体制改革,加强知识产权保护,完善人才激励政策,优化创新环境,发挥企业的创新主体作用,让创新等一切社会活力竞相迸发。

在未来30多年的综合国力提升的道路上,我们必须继续在创新中寻找出路,只有坚持创新驱动,敢于创新、勇于变革,才能突破经济增长和发展的瓶颈,成为新工业革命的引领者。

为此,我们可以从以下几方面着手推动创新。

第一,系统性构建知识创新系统、技术创新系统、知识传播系统和制度创新系统以及各类支持辅助系统,使其各有侧重、相互交叉、互相支持,构成一个运行有序、统一开放的国家创新型经济发展系统。国家创新型经济发展系统是从系统构建的战略视角来全面提升国家的创新能力,是各种创新要素在文化、体制、制度等宏观创新环境和多元创新主体构成的创新网络融合互动下形成的创新合力,必须避免创新系统“失灵”的困境,从深层次的制度根源入手对创新系统进行改革。

首先,应深化各类体制改革,包括科技体制、教育文化体制、财税金融与投资体制、国有企业体制、知识产权制度等方面的改革与完善,理顺激励科技创新的政策,联合多元化的创新主体,寻求共同的社会经济目标,以激励相容的导向建立联动型的创新网络,将创新作为变革和发展的关键动力,促进社会科技资源的有效配置和集成科技创新。

其次,应建立以企业为主体、产学研相结合、政府相关部门参与提供服务的综合技术创新体系,并以此为突破口,全面推进具有中国特色的国家创新体系的建设,进一步优化科技结构布局和科技人才的配置,激发全社会的创新活力。

最后,政府应在改革和战略转型中优化创新环境,以形成科技创新整体的合理性,为建设创新型国家和发展创新型经济提供良好的制度和机制保障。

第二,推进我国创新主体主导模式的改革。我国科技创新传统上偏向于政府推动。在科技创新体系中,我国传统的科技创新模式往往是通过政府政策和直接投资,或由政府所辖的科研院所和大学推动,是典型的“政府主导模式”,政府制定创新政策,政府作为创新投入主体,创新资源由政府进行分配,创新很大程度上是完成政府任务,政府在科技创新的过程中扮演着“万能”的角色。但随着市场经济改革的逐步深化和民营企业的壮大,政府主导模式的弊端开始凸显出来,比如创新执行者缺乏动力、创新效率低下等。

因此,一方面,需要改变政府主导型的创新模式,重新定位政府在创新中的角色,让政府在支持战略性研发和基础性研发、引导企业的技术创新和产业发展方向、建设科技基础设施等方面发挥重要的作用;

另一方面,企业应成为国家创新活动的主体,成为整个创新系统的核心,创新能力也是企业竞争力的重要体现。这样,牢固企业在国家创新体系中的主导性地位,这是提升国家创新能力的重要手段。只有以企业为创新主体,才有可能坚持技术创新的市场导向,迅速实现科技成果的产业化和商业化,提高我国企业的市场竞争力。

第三,推进我国创新型经济发展体系的建设。在国家创新体系中,高等院校和科研机构是知识和技术的重要源泉,企业是知识和技术的主要执行者,企业、高校和科研机构三者共同构成了国家创新体系的核心,缺一不可。民间创新的构思也是提升国家创新能力的重要基石,对推进中国的创新文化有深远的影响。对此要进行的创新型经济发展体系建设,首先,要建设世界一流科研院所、一流大学和一流学科,增强原始创新能力和服务经济社会发展能力。

明晰科研院所和大学的功能定位,增强科研院所在基础前沿和行业共性关键科学技术研发中的骨干引领作用,强化大学基础学科研究,推动一批学科进入世界前列;引导科研院所和大学紧紧围绕国家重大科研任务,有效整合优势科研资源,组建跨学科、综合交叉的科研团队,形成综合性、高水平的国际化科研创新基地。

其次,要推进企业体制改革和产权制度的完善,全力培育世界一流的创新型企业,鼓励行业领头羊构建高水平研发中心,形成完善的科学研究和新技术开发组织体系,聚集高端人才,联合行业内外中小企业、科研院所和大学系统布局创新链条,提供产业技术创新整体解决方案。

第四,构建专业化、市场化的技术转移服务体系,加快我国科研成果的市场转化。在创新型经济建设中,高度重视技术转化服务体系的催化作用,发展研发设计、创业孵化、检验检测认证、知识产权等各类科技服务。同时,完善全国各类专业化的技术交易市场和市场化的知识产权交易平台,畅通技术和知识产权转移通道。

由此可以看出,更为有效地推动我国创新型国家建设,提升我国创新能力的战略目标应该是:在技术的市场开发上,建立一个以企业为主体,以市场为导向,产学研联盟,结合民间资源的创新协同网络;在基础研究和重大科技攻关上,走一条以政府为主导,以科研院所、大学和企业为主干力量,在政府协调、辅助和监管下,多方力量共同推进创新进程的自主创新之路。

提升科技实力的战略选择

科技实力是一国综合国力的核心组成部分。科学技术尤其是高科技及其产业化正成为社会进步的第一动力,迅速地改变着整个世界的格局,高科技的许多关键领域,如外层空间、深海开发、生物工程、信息工程、新能源、新材料的探究正在改变国与国之间的实力对比。一些国家通过高科技及其带动的产业结构的调整,其综合国力得到较快提升。

目前,中国的科技水平特别是高科技能力,与世界最发达的美、俄、日、德、英、法和以色列等国相比还有差距。要缩短和发达国家的科技差距,提高科技实力对综合国力的贡献,还需在很多方面努力。

一、改革教育体制,提高全民素质,培育科技精英

在知识经济时代,一个国家综合国力中最核心的部分就是科技实力,而科技实力需要依托教育,教育是科技实力构成要素中的基础性要素。科技实力的提升是在教育、培养人才的基础上开展和进行的,现代生产越是建立在高度发达的科技基础之上,对教育的依赖程度就越高。一个国家的资源开发和高效利用离不开科学技术,科技实力的提升离不开教育的基础性工作。

中国的教育从纵向发展来看,确实有了很大的提高。但如果横向比较,从教育质量上看,中国仍需高度重视教育的发展,继续进行教育改革。

具体改革包括:

第一,加大教育投入占GDP的比重。尽管我国教育支出占财政、GDP比重不断加大,但占GDP的比例远低于发达国家,也低于世界平均水平。美、英、法、德、日等发达国家2009年起其教育投入占GDP的比重均超过4%,其中,美国已达到6.22%。联合国教科文组织在20世纪曾呼吁,世界各国在2000年实现教育支出占比达到6%。截至2019年,中国教育投入占GDP比例连续7年保持在4%以上,离6%的目标还有一定差距,还没有达到科技对教育基础作用的要求,制约着我国科技实力水平的提高,因此在今后30年内,要加大教育经费的投入,逐步达到6.5%。

第二,适应未来城市化战略的需要,调整教育经费的支出结构,重新规划中小学布局和教育模式。未来,伴随城镇化、工业化和农业现代化的发展,人口大量迁入中小城市。在教育经费支出中,要重点支持县城及以上中小学的增容扩建,广泛接纳新市民子女入学,合理布局乡村学校,让中小学教育在经济文化较为发达的城市中发展增强,同时可适当减少学制,将小学与中学阶段学年各减少一年,减少学生在校时间,可以每周增加一天的校外活动时间,增加学生接触社会的机会,以全面提高学生素质,包括身体素质在内的综合素质。

改革考试体制机制与考试模式,在高中阶段要减少纯粹书本知识,增加个人素质方面考题,以促进学生实际应用能力、创造创新能力的逐步提高。对西部少数民族和内地老少边穷地区交通不发达的中小学,需要加大教育经费支援,扶持因当地财力不足而造成的教育弱化,在维护教育公平的基础上全面提升全民素质。

第三,借鉴科技发达国家经验,改革高等教育模式。高校担负着保存知识、传播知识、创造知识、培养人才的基本任务,其中少数顶尖级名校还要为国家和社会培养精英,通过加快科学研究与创新,引领社会进步。目前,中国的高等教育体制未能很好地适应时代发展的要求,所设计的专业与经济和社会发展需求脱节。

国家应大力推进改革调整,把普通高校推向社会,实现优胜劣汰,国家不负责包揽全部教育经费,但可以选择一些重点学科与重点实验室予以支持,资金主要来源于学校自筹和社会捐助,地方财政根据本地经济社会事业的情况择优支持为辅;

在教育宗旨上,普通高校要将知识传授和职业技术培养并举,以应用科学为主,不提倡培养高端的学术研究型博士及以上的人才;所培养的毕业生要适应社会需要,大量充实到社会各领域,保证社会对各层次人才的需求。

对于“985高校”,国家要给予特殊的政策、财力支持,赋予其培养高端精英人才的使命;大学内部彻底去行政化,淘汰和减少非教师人员,改革学制和培养模式,专注于顶尖级的国家基础和世界前沿学术研究,适当减少研究生特别是博士生的招生人数,让少而精的博士成为未来科技精英;

高校教师要取消终身制,竞争上岗,优中选精,让其为国家和整个人类培养和塑造引领世界的真正科技精英。国外和中国的历史经验也证明,绝大部分顶尖级的科学领军人才都是世界一流高校培养出来的。

二、建立国家引导、企业为主体的科技创新体制

创新是引领发展的第一动力,也是我们应对风险挑战的坚实支撑。一个国家整体科技实力的增强,要靠建立和完善以提高自主创新能力为核心、促进科技和经济社会发展紧密结合为重点的机制和体制。国家要根据国际前沿和人类科技发展的大趋势,引导整个社会进行科技创新,解决制约科技创新的突出问题,充分发挥科技在转方式、调结构、惠民生、促和谐中的支撑引领作用,建设国家创新体系。

在国家创新体系中,建立企业主导产业技术研发创新的体制机制。政府要出台各种经济和社会政策对企业研发创新进行引导、帮扶,并促进技术、人才等创新要素向一批举世瞩目的标志性创新成果聚集,让创新成果惠及更多的人。

当今,几乎所有发达国家都是以企业为科技创新的主体,在企业创新的基础上,产生国家层面上的宏观、大型、基础性科研项目成果。过去一段时间,中国企业整体的科技研发创新不足或水平低下,影响了整个国家的科技实力。因此,今后要真正落实建立以国家为引导、企业为主体的科技创新体制的完善措施,加快国企改革,解决国企的体制、机制、结构、产权归属和历史遗留问题,以更好地解决企业市场导向的科技创新问题,加快科技成果的转化。

需要说明的是,近年来我国科研人员发表的论文数量已经逐步追上美国。但是这些论文的平均引用率、科研成果转化率,一直与国外存在差距。目前的科研评价体系使得科学家不愿意耗费大量人力、物力去做成果转化的工作;企业有动力但缺乏技术基础,往往很难有能力、有实力去承担转化工作。

因此,对于应用技术研究项目,应加强对成果转化情况的考核评价,设定对应的评价指标;科研院所和高等院校要更多地为企业技术创新提供支持和服务;鼓励科技人员创办科技型企业。企业应根据国内外市场需求和政府的宏观规划,竞相实施对领先技术产品的研发,相互启发,相互竞争,优胜劣汰。

这样,推动以市场为导向、以政府为支撑的科研创新体系加快运转,各种类型的先进产品及其技术就会不断涌现,最终提升国家的科技实力和科学水平。

自胜者强,自强者胜。实践反复告诉我们,关键核心技术是要不来、买不来、讨不来的,创新还是要靠自己。面对日益激烈的国际科技竞争,面对各种风险挑战,最需要的是科学理性的态度、奋发有为的行动。下定决心,坚定不移地走自主创新之路,破解“缺芯少魂”之痛,夯实创新发展之基,把关键核心技术牢牢掌握在自己手中,我们就能始终立于不败之地,牢牢把握经济社会发展的主动权。

科技兴则民族兴,科技强则国家强。实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标,实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,必须坚持走中国特色自主创新道路,面向世界科技前沿、面向经济主战场、面向国家重大需求,加快各领域科技创新,掌握全球科技竞争先机。

当今世界,经济全球化的历史大势不可阻挡,新一轮科技革命和产业变革方兴未艾,坚持开放合作、共同发展,顺应时代潮流,也符合科技创新的内在规律。自主创新是开放环境下的创新,要聚四海之气、借八方之力。

三、加大科研投入,积极引进国外先进科技

综合国力构成要素中,科技最关键。经济增长、军事增强、文化教育都离不开科技支撑。科技力量要壮大,就要有投入。当今世界排名靠前的几个国家,其综合国力之所以处于世界前列,就是由于科技对经济和军事实力的贡献率提高了,带动了经济发展和军事力量升级。

美国、日本、德国经济发达主要体现在高技术附加值的贡献率,它们靠消耗少、技术含量高的科技密集型产业、产品推动了经济发展;美俄军事强大是靠精确制导、远距离打击的高科技武器支撑。没有高科技支撑,经济和国防是强大不了的。

反过来,发达的经济和强大的国防力量又能推动和引导科技研发的投入,没有雄厚的经费投入和军备竞赛的刺激,科技实力也无法提升。美国在科技方面的投资超过了世界上其他国家,德国、日本的科技实力之所以强,得益于其科研经费的高投入。

改革开放以来,我国科研投入的规模总体上呈逐年上升之势,各级财政每年用于科研投入的力度不断加大。2018年美国的研发投入占GDP比重约为2.8%,而以色列和韩国的研发费用占GDP比重更是高达4.5%,德国科研投入占GDP的比重已升至3.13%。

对此,中国需落实和完善全社会研究开发经费逐步增长的政策措施,进一步增加科研投入的GDP占比,在“十三五”规划及以后的发展规划中科研经费占比要逐步向美国看齐。在加大投入的基础上健全科技投入体系,加强统筹部署和协同科技创新,重点放在技术创新、知识创新、国防科技创新等体系,提高创新体系整体效能;注重对基础研究的投入,加大对制药、软件、半导体、航空等薄弱领域的研发。

在科研经费的投向上:

一要注意增加科研人员保障性和经常性的科研经费投入比例,提高科研人员特别是中青年科学家的生活、工作待遇,保护和扩大他们思想自由独立的空间,让他们更乐意把时间、精力花在科研和提高学术水平上。

二要注意国家向企业科研经费过少的投入和渠道的缺乏。一般来说,企业很难参与科研经费分配,特别是那些对生产率贡献较大的民企,政府应认识到科技创新的主体是企业,由企业负责科研成果的市场转化工作,改变大学和科研机构科研资金比重过大的情况,把大量科研经费投入企业研发中。

另外,还要正确处理好发明与引进的关系,在加大国内科技研发投入的同时,积极利用我国外汇储备的雄厚实力和部分稀缺资源的垄断地位,向发达国家购买或以稀缺资源交换它们的先进科技和发明专利权,缩短我国研发周期。

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