Recent years have witnessed a great leap forward in China's scientific and technological development. An array of achievements such as the launch of the prototype space station Tiangong, the dives of the manned submersible Jiaolong, and the discoveries of the 500-meter aperture spherical telescope Tianyan are symbols of China's burgeoning power in science and technology.
How is China able to achieve so much? What is the impact of this scientific development on the rest of the world? After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, a blockade was imposed on China's scientific and technological development, a restriction that remains in some fields today. It is therefore a surprise that China has achieved extraordinary scientific and technological breakthroughs on its own.
There are three key factors responsible for these achievements: a government strategy to rejuvenate the nation through science and education, a policy of valuing talent and a peaceful domestic environment.
Since the first strategy was put forth in 1995, scientific and technological innovation as well as education have been a priority. The belief that "science and technology are primary productive forces" is rooted in the minds of all Chinese people. The second policy was formally proposed in 2003. The Chinese Government has continuously increased support for the development of science and technology in order to implement these two strategies.
In 2016, China's investment in science and technology hit 1.57 billion yuan ($249.3 million), posting an annual growth rate of 11.1 percent and ranking second only to the United States in the world. Various programs are underway to attract top-notch talent. By the end of 2016, the number of graduates returning from abroad had exceeded 2.65 million, and that year alone hit 432,500, an increase of 159,600 compared with 2012. The two strategies have greatly encouraged people's passion for innovation and creativity across numerous fields.
Over the past four decades, the policy of reform and opening up has boosted China's economic growth, while a foreign policy of peace has provided the foundation for making breakthroughs in science and technology.
A developed economy and first-rate science and technology are the indispensable pillars of a prosperous and strong China, while a peaceful road of development is the choice China has made to reach modernization. Given this, the country's economic and scientific takeoff is a cause for celebration not just in China, but for the community of nations across the world.