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China presents top awards to outstanding scientists
2009/01/09

China's 2008 State Top Scientific and Technological Awards on Friday went to neurologist Wang Zhongcheng and chemist Xu Guangxian for their outstanding contributions to technological innovation.

President Hu Jintao presented the two 5-million-yuan (730,000 U.S. dollars) awards to the scientists at the Great Hall of the People.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in a keynote speech that scientific and technological strength decided the country's destiny and its modernization would depend on the development of science and technology.

Wen said knowledge and technology were important factors in sustainable development, especially during the present global financial crisis.

He urged science and technology workers to help businesses and rural areas to speed up development and become productive. They should help improve management, develop new products and technologies, and actively involve themselves in economic development.

Wang Zhongcheng, 83, a native of east China's Shandong Province, is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the Neurosurgery Science Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Xu Guangxian, 89, a native of east China's Zhejiang Province, is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and former president of the Chinese Chemical Society.

Hu Xiaojun, vice-director of the State S&T Award Office under the Ministry of Science and Technology, said the 2008 awards recognized the awardees' foundational achievements and created a pro-innovation environment.

Foundational innovation was considered a common highlight of winning projects this year. The 2008 Awards for technological invention and for scientific and technological progress won 840 invention patents in total.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway project received a State Special Award for Scientific and Technological Progress. The Experimental Advanced Super-conducting Tokamak (EAST) nuclear fusion reactor project and 25 other scientific achievements shared the first prize for scientific and technological progress.

Two farmers who specialize in seed development were among the winners. Shen Tianmin, a wheat-breeding farm expert from central China's Henan Province, and Zhai Yanju, a corn-breeding farm expert from east China's Shandong Province, shared the second prize for scientific and technological progress.

The ceremony was jointly held by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

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