Congress report highlights role of innovation

By DUAN DANJIE / 11-03-2022 / Chinese Social Sciences Today

Leadership of Heilongjiang University watches the opening session of the Congress in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, on Oct. 16th. Photo: CFP

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened in Beijing on Oct. 16th. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a report on behalf of the 19th CPC Central Committee to the Congress. Teachers and students of colleges and universities watched the live broadcast of the opening session of the Congress, and studied the Congress report. 

Pursuing high-quality education

The great transformation over the past ten years of the new era marks a milestone in the history of the Party, of the People’s Republic of China, of reform and opening up, of the development of socialism, and of the development of the Chinese nation. “The great achievements of the new era have come from the collective dedication and hard work of our Party and our people.” The sonorous and powerful voice of General Secretary Xi Jinping resounded through the Great Hall of the People. 

The opening day of the Congress coincides with the 71st anniversary of the founding of East China Normal University. “This is a special day for us, with double joy and double inspiration!” Mei Bing, Party secretary of the university, exuded her excitement when being interviewed by CSST. Education has been a foundational force behind the past decade of historic changes in the new era. This decade is also a “remarkable decade” in which the cause of higher education has made historic achievements and undergone structural changes. 

In future, we should maintain the firm strategic resolve of the “four unwavering,” Mei continued. We must never waver in upholding the overall leadership of the Party and the socialist orientation of school running, in taking serving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as an important mission of education, in carrying out the basic task of fostering virtue through education, and in developing high-quality education that meets the people’s expectations. 

More importantly, we should grasp the historical initiative of “three seizures,” Mei added, i.e., to seize the next five years which will be strategically crucial for getting our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start, to seize the deepening stage of building more world-class universities and disciplines by 2030, and to seize the development opportunity of becoming a leading country in education and talent by 2035. “With great effort and determination” in a new era of “great potential,” we should make greater contributions to the glorious cause of “building a strong educational system” and “building a powerful nation through promoting education.” 

Enhancing innovation capacity 

“We must regard science and technology as our primary productive force, talent as our primary resource, and innovation as our primary driver of growth.” “We will continue to give high priority to the development of education, build China’s self-reliance and strength in science and technology, and rely on talent to pioneer and to propel development. We will speed up work to build a strong educational system, greater scientific and technological strength, and a quality workforce.” In his report, Xi specifically pointed out that “education, science and technology, and human resources are the foundational and strategic pillars for building a modern socialist country in all respects,” which resonated strongly with teachers and students. 

After listening to the report, Li Yuanyuan, a delegate to the Congress and Party secretary of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, was highly encouraged. Advanced-level research universities, as an important part of national strength in strategic science and technology, shoulder the responsibility and mission of cultivating talent for the Party and the country. They need to entertain “the top priorities of the country,” and put into play the main force of basic research, the main position of talent cultivation, and the source of major scientific and technological breakthroughs. With serving major national needs as the strategic direction, they are expected to continuously enhance China’s innovation capacity, and carry out original and pioneering scientific and technological research to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields. 

Li suggested taking innovation systems and mechanisms as strategic support, exploring systems and mechanisms of scientific and technological innovation that suit the characteristics of universities and that fully utilize the new system for mobilizing resources nationwide, and providing a strong institutional guarantee for scientific research. In addition, we should cultivate a pool of high-level talent as our strategic force, carry out the basic task of fostering virtue through education, improve our ability to nurture talent at home, attract the brightest minds from all over, and speed up the building of a major global talent center and innovation hub. 

According to Yu Jihong, a delegate to the Congress and director of the International Center of Future Science at Jilin University, there underlies deep meaning as the CPC Central Committee strategically put together education, science and technology, and talent for integrated deployment and promotion, which points the way and path for the future development of China’s education, science and technology, and talent. We should unite more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, resolutely take on the major responsibilities and missions of fully implementing the strategy for invigorating China through science and education, the workforce development strategy, and the innovation-driven development strategy. Staying confident and building strength, upholding fundamental principles as well as breaking new ground, we should strive to achieve major breakthroughs in forward-looking basic research and leading original and pioneering research. It is necessary to constantly improve innovation in core technologies in key fields and the ability to nurture first-class talent at home, contributing to speeding up work to build a strong educational system, greater scientific and technological strength, and a quality workforce.