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New Chinese Science Policies Anticipated

In the ongoing Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress, Nature News says Chinese leaders are expected to announce new science policies. President Xi Jinping, who is also seeking at these meetings to eliminate presidential term limits, aims to make China the world leader in science by 2050, it adds.

Dalian University of Technology's Yutao Sun, a policy expert, tells Nature News that the Chinese government views science and technology as key strategies for innovation and development and that he expects leaders to continue their support of basic research, particularly into biomedicine, artificial intelligence, and electric vehicles. At the same time, Cao Cong from the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, says changes would likely be made to merge government science and technology institutions into one ministry system that would heighten oversight and planning.

Nature News notes that China's spending in the sciences doubled between 2011 and 2016, and that it now spends 2.12 percent of its gross domestic product on research and development. However, it also says that its top-down approach could be detrimental as it uses science as a political and developmental tool, and doesn't enable researchers to pursue varied interests.

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