China a leader in science after 40 years of “Reform and Opening Up”

World Today

In centuries past China was a scientific force – credited with inventing paper, gunpowder, the compass and the umbrella. And now, after 40 years of reform and opening up, China has once again taken a leading role in science and technology. CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

“In the past 40 years of reform and opening up in China, we have shifted the role from tracking the development of science and technology to catching up and now even taking the lead,” said He Lin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China had only a bare-bones space program in 1978, but is now poised to make advancements that may benefit all of mankind. China has quickly become a leader in cutting edge technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and medical research.

“We have yielded pleasing results in creating new medicines in recent years. For example, we have just passed the third phase of clinical test of medicine for Alzheimer’s disease. It will be world leading after receiving investment and being put into application,” Pan Jiaofeng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

According to the U.S. Government’s National Science Foundation, China spends more than $400 billion a year on research and development. That’s second only to the United States, and it’s on track to pass the U.S. in R&D spending by the end of 2018.

Read the U.S. National Science Foundation report “The Rise of China in Science and Engineering.”

Since 1978, more than 5 million Chinese pupils have studied abroad, and nearly half a million foreigners currently study in China. This opening up has created a valuable two-way flow of information and knowledge.

Engineering is the most popular post-graduate field of study in China, which is already the world’s largest producer of peer-reviewed science and engineering articles. The country’s emphasis on STEM fields is creating a highly educated workforce focused on innovation.