Self-Reliance Sought in Science, Defense
(Source: China Daily; issued Oct 16, 2018)
Participants in a top-level meeting requested on Monday that important research and engineering programs adopt more domestically developed technologies and equipment to boost the nation’s capability in science and technology.

The meeting of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development of the Communist Party of China Central Committee stressed that research and engineering programs with strategic significance can effectively cultivate innovation in science and technology.

Top leaders at the meeting asked researchers to make all-out efforts to develop key technologies and concentrate their strength to make breakthroughs.

These programs should be based on domestically developed equipment, which can be continuously upgraded, according to a statement published after the meeting, which was presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Meeting participants demanded that government departments streamline procedures to facilitate private enterprises’ participation in the defense industry. Authorities should create a fair and open market for private firms to take part in competition for defense contracts, and should also protect private enterprises’ lawful rights, according to a statement.

They requested acceleration of legislation for civilian-military integration and said outdated terms should be changed or abolished. The leadership by the CPC Central Committee over important programs must by enhanced to better coordinate input of resources, they said.

The Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development was founded in January 2017 by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, marking the first time the top leadership established a dedicated body on civilian-military integration.

However, State-owned defense contractors still dominate the research, development and production of weapons and equipment for the People’s Liberation Army. Xi has repeatedly stressed the significance of integration, saying it concerns national security and development. Under his instruction, civilian-military integration has been raised to a national strategy.

Since late 2012, when Xi was elected the Party’s top leader, the number of private companies with a license to design and build military equipment has increased by nearly fivefold, from about 500 to more than 2,400.

The PLA now publishes its needs in technology, equipment and services on a procurement website regularly. Many private firms have been given military contracts.

The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which oversees China’s defense industries, has also reduced restrictions on private businesses in the defense sector

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