Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

I Wor Kuen

6,000 attend National Science Conference

China sets high goals for science and technology

First Published: Getting Together, Vol. IX, No. 5, May 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

From March 18 to March 31, 6,000 scientific and technical workers from all over China took part in a National Science Conference in Peking. It was the largest and most advanced of its kind ever held in China.

The conference was called by Chairman Hua Kuo-feng to build on the spectacular progress the Chinese people have made since liberation and help China achieve the goal of bringing its scientific and technological level up to the most advanced standards in the world by the year 2000. Chairman Hua called on the Chinese people to work even harder to “raise the scientific and cultural level of the entire Chinese nation.”

To implement this call, the conference passed a “National Plan for the Development of Science and Technology for the Years 1978-1985.” The plan sets forth such goals as establishing research institutes to promote development in areas such as computer technology, high-energy physics, and semi-conductor science. Post-graduate training and education in many scientific fields is to be strengthened, contacts with outstanding foreign scientists will be promoted, and advanced-level scientific instruments are being built. A timetable for the achievement of China’s scientific goals has been set up, along with the specific steps necessary to accomplish them.

A major accomplishment of the conference was to clarify the role of science and technology in a socialist society. This question was distorted and confused by the “gang of four,” who claimed that raising China’s scientific and cultural level would lead to capitalist restoration. They proclaimed that “the more knowledgeable, the more reactionary” and that they preferred “laborers with no culture.”

At the conference, Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping reaffirmed the teachings of Marx, Lenin, and Chairman Mao on the question of science and summed up the lessons learned in the struggle against the “gang of four.” He pointed out that science and technology in themselves have no inherent class nature. They are part of the productive forces of a society. They help determine what the society is able to produce and what it can provide for its people. It is the class nature of the social system that determines what use is made of science and technology.

The need for an advanced and continually expanding scientific level in a socialist society is very great. Under socialism, where the workers control the means of production and themselves reap the fruits of their own labor, there is no limit to what man can produce. The more advanced the scientific and technological level of a socialist society, the quicker it can move ahead and the greater its ability to contribute to human progress. Without advanced science however, expansion of the productive capabilities cannot go forward, and the whole society falls back.

For China or the other socialist countries to be scientifically weak would put them at the mercy of the two superpowers, and would be a serious set-back for the world’s people.

The necessity of combining the struggle to raise the scientific and technical level of society with class struggle was emphasized by Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping, who explained China’s contributions in this area. In the 29 years since liberation, The Chinese Communist Party has directly trained over 90% of her own science and technical workers.

About three-fourths are from the working people and constitute a sizable contingent of the proletariat.

As for science workers from intellectual backgrounds, Teng pointed out that under socialism, these intellectuals objectively serve the proletariat. The conference delegates reiterated the need to create favorable conditions for intellectuals to work for the good of the society, and the need to continue struggling with them to transform their world outlook to that of the working class so that they can become both “red and expert.”

The entire conference was conducted in a spirit of revolutionary determination. It signalled a great advance for China’s development and guaranteed the strengthening of China’s science and technology.