China science chief speaks out

Vice president of Chinese Academy of Sciences defends top-down science funding

Katherine Schlatter(kmschlatter@asiabioscience.com)
Apr 28, 2005

The vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhu Chen, has spoken out in defense of the way China funds science, saying that foreign critics are not in a position to properly understand the country's policies.

In an interview with The Scientist, Chen said there was a great need for central planning in all areas of scientific research, including the life sciences. He was reacting to a series of critical editorials that appeared in a recent Nature supplement.

The commentaries, printed in both English and Chinese, blasted China's tendency to invest billions in centrally planned prestige science projects, while allowing only much smaller sums for basic science research. One editorial concluded that China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) should be dismantled. The authors, both domestic and overseas Chinese scientists, hold key leadership or advisory roles in China's major science agencies.

Chen challenged the scientists'...

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