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China pushes ahead with homegrown science and technology

CHINA WILL FOCUS on developing independent science and technology resources. This will provide “new productive forces”, leader Xi Jinping said at the Two Sessions, the country’s annual parliamentary meetings.

The plan to upgrade the economy with Chinese homegrown technology emerged as a key theme at the series of gatherings which end today [Monday 11 March 2024].

Xi raised the technology theme several times during the previous week. He talked about it at a provincial level discussion on Tuesday, and at a discussion with scientists on Wednesday. On Thursday, he urged military representatives to integrate hi-tech development with the PLA’s normal activities to comprehensively “enhance strategic capabilities in emerging areas”.

The move to create home-grown technology was widely seen as a non-aggressive “turn the other cheek” response to a campaign by the United States to make multiple countries work together to deprive China of the high-end semiconductors it needs to continue its “miracle” level of development.


Improving communications was another theme that emerged strongly. The National People’s Congress 14th Standing Committee’s annual “work report” said that the committee had direct contact with 418 local representatives, known as “deputies”. Deputies are elected by their local societies around China, and include representatives from all 56 ethnic groups. The list includes people from various cultures, spiritual groups, and regions. Hong Kong has 36 deputies.

Furthermore, a push for more consultation centres inspired provincial and municipal people’s congresses to provide more venues for public input. This means there are more than 6,500 local legislative outreach offices, expanding channels available for directly hearing the views of the general public on legislation.

It was also evident that good use was made of the consultation process over the past year. The committee solicited 24 rounds of public opinion on draft laws and received more than 200,000 suggestions from all sectors of society in the past 12 months, the meeting was told.

This type of consultative democracy is seen as a good model for developing societies, as it provides stability and long term planning while also allowing for input from ordinary citizens from all over the country. It also avoids the problems of short-termism that have bedevilled many nations.


There were also references to the work needed to get China’s story out to the world. Over the past year, the NPC sent 57 delegations to 65 countries for official visits. “It has clearly become more confident and proactive in the work of overseas promotion,” said Hong Kong delegate Professor Hu Shao-ming.

This is clearly necessary, given the western-centric nature of the so-called international media, which presents all news concerning China through a narrow and often hostile “western lens”.

Earlier in the week, Professor Hu Shao-ming submitted a proposal for the city’s deputies and local artists to join these journeys. The Hong Kong team members have a high standard of language skills, he said, and can clearly explain concepts such as how “one country, two systems” policy works to benefit people in the city and the country.

Professor Hu’s five proposals were mentioned in an earlier article but more details are provided below.


First, Hong Kong delegates can be invited to join NPC leaders’ tours outside China.

The situation around the world is increasingly complex, and some western media outlets consistently smear China. Hong Kong delegates can speak out to deliver the truth. The result will be the strengthening of friendship and enhancement of communications with other countries.

Second, Hong Kong can host “the Belt and Road Games” – a major sports event to which all Belt and Road participating counties can be invited to join.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most important national strategies,” Professor Hu said. “Hong Kong has world-class sports venues, top-notch management teams, and rich experience in organizing large-scale international competitions.”

This would benefit all sides. “We can build long-lasting friendships through sports and cultural exchanges, and maintain long-term cooperative relations with Belt and Road countries,” he said. The proposed Belt and Road Games could be held in Hong Kong every four years.

Third, Hong Kong can participate in a joint project to construct, operate and use world-class environmentally-friendly waste treatment facilities in the Greater Bay Area.

Cities in the region already have challenges in landfill management, and this would solve them. Furthermore, the area is technologically savvy, which means that it can use the energy created by incineration for power generation. This could have significant economic and social benefits, Professor Hu said.

Fourth, Hong Kong can act as host to national-level sports events. There is already a precedent for this, Professor Hu pointed out. The 2023 China Tennis Tournament Hong Kong Open, a national event, was held in the city in mid-November 2023 and proved to be successful.

“More national-level sports events can be held in the SAR to bring people in the Mainland and in Hong Kong closer,” he said. “It could also attract the global spotlight and foster sports and cultural exchanges.

Fifth, Hong Kong can benefit from a gradual expansion of Individual Travel Scheme to more Mainland cities, and take advantage of more integration with the Greater Bay Area.

From the British era onwards, there have been limitations on the number of people from the mainland who can visit Hong Kong. But that has changed. For some years, large numbers of people visit through a policy that sends organized groups—but China now also runs an Individual Travel Scheme for some cities, giving mainland tourists more flexibility.

China recently expanded the list of cities under the Individual Travel Scheme to Xi’an and Qingdao.

Restrictions on Mainland visitors’ travelling to Hong Kong can be further relaxed gradually, Professor Hu said. The current “one trip per week” arrangement for Shenzhen residents to visit Hong Kong can be further expanded to other cities in the Greater Bay Area. This will “deepen overall integration,” he said.

The Two Sessions this year marked the 75th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, a period of remarkable development. China was poorer than many African nations in the 1940s—and now is the world’s biggest economy measured by purchasing power parity.

Image at the top by Edward Jenner/ Pexels.

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