China is achieving landmarks in science and technology at breakneck speed.
The country sent its first cargo spacecraft into space, realized satellite-based distribution of entangled photon pairs over a record distance, launched its first X-ray space telescope, displayed its first home-grown large passenger jet C919 with a successful maiden flight, and transferred its first domestically-built aircraft carrier from dry dock into water this year.
Such a string of achievements shows the country’s innovation-driven development strategy is paying off.
China has been striving to upgrade its industrial structure and shift its economy toward a growth model that draws strength from innovation as its competitive advantages in low labor and raw material costs are being eroded.
The government has set innovation as the core of its 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), with the aims to become an “innovation nation” by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050.
The latest Global Innovation Index showed that China rose three spots to 22nd place on the list of the world’s most innovative nations in 2017, the only middle-income country to join the top 25 innovative economies.
A Long March-3C carrier rocket carrying the 23rd satellite in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) lifts off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on June 12, 2016. China launched the satellite to support its global navigation and positioning network. (Xinhua/Yang Zhiyuan)
Photo taken on June 27, 2016 shows the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or “FAST”, at night in Pingtang County, southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Construction of the world’s largest radio telescope FAST started in March 2011. The telescope will be used to detect and collect signals and data from the universe. (Xinhua/Liu Xu)
Photo taken on Oct. 19, 2016 shows the screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center. The two Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng (L) and Chen Dong salute in the space lab Tiangong-2. The astronauts onboard the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft entered the space lab Tiangong-2 on the morning of Oct. 19. (Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua)
China’s newly-developed heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5 is in transit at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province on Oct. 28, 2016. China launched the Long March-5 on Nov. 3, 2016 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center. (Xinhua/Sun Hao)
Composite photo taken on Dec. 9, 2016 shows a satellite-to-earth link established between quantum satellite “Micius” and the quantum teleportation experiment platform in Ali, southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The world’s first quantum satellite “Micius” was put into use after four-month on-orbit tests. China launched the satellite on Aug. 16, 2016. It is nicknamed “Micius,” after a fifth century B.C. Chinese philosopher and scientist. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)
Photo taken on April 22, 2017 shows the Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft docking with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab on a screen at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing. The Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft, China’s first cargo spacecraft, was launched on April 20 from Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Sijiang)
Jia Jia, an interactive robot in traditional Chinese outfit, talks through internet with Kevin Kelly on screen in Hefei, capital of China’s Anhui Province, on April 24, 2017. Kelly is founding executive editor of Wired magazine. Jia Jia was invited as a special reporter of China’s national news agency Xinhua to conduct the man-machine dialogue with Kelly. Jia Jia was unveiled in 2016 by the robot research and development team of the University of Science and Technology of China. It took the team three years to develop this new-generation interactive robot, which can speak, and move its lips and body. (Xinhua/Guo Chen)
On April 26, 2017, China’s second aircraft carrier is transferred from dry dock into the water at the launch ceremony in Dalian shipyard of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. in a northeast city of Dalian. The new carrier, the first domestically-built one, came after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2012. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
Professor Lu Chaoyang (C) of the University of Science and Technology of China checks the operating status of the quantum computing machine with his students at a lab in Shanghai on May 3, 2017. Chinese scientists have built the world’s first quantum computing machine that goes far beyond the early classical — or conventional — computers, paving the way to the ultimate realization of quantum computing. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)
China’s homegrown large passenger plane C919 taxies on a runway ahead of its maiden flight in Shanghai on May 5, 2017. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
Photo taken on May 24, 2017 shows a solar drone on its test flight. China has successfully tested near-space flight of its largest solar drone. With a wingspan of 45 meters, the solar-powered drone is capable of flying at an altitude of 20 to 30 kilometers, and cruising at a speed of 150 to 200 km per hour for a long time. The unmanned aerial vehicle will be used mostly for airborne early warning, aerial reconnaissance, disaster monitoring, meteorological observation and communications relay. (Xinhua/Bai Guolong)
China’s manned submersible Jiaolong is prepared to dive in the Yap Trench in the west Pacific on June 13, 2017. The dive is the final one in China’s 38th oceanic scientific expedition, marking the end of a four-year tentative application phase of the submersible. (Xinhua/Liu Shiping)
Photo taken on June 20, 2016 shows Sunway TaihuLight, a Chinese home-made supercomputer, in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province. Performing 93 quadrillion calculations per second, Sunway TaihuLight dethroned China’s Tianhe-2 from the top in a list of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world. Sunway TaihuLight, with 10,649,600 computing cores comprising 40,960 nodes, is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2, which has a performance of 33.86 quadrillion calculations per second, or petaflop/s. The new system is developed by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi. (Xinhua/Li Xiang)
China launched its first X-ray space telescope, Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), on June 15, 2017 to observe black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts. The photo taken on May 17, 2017 shows that researchers are checking the thermal control system of the telescope in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. (provided by China Academy of Space Technology)
A China’s new bullet train “Fuxing”, making its debut on the Beijing-Shanghai line, pulls out from Beijing South Railway Station on June 26, 2017. A CR400AF model departed Beijing South Railway Station at 11:05 a.m. for Shanghai. At the same time, the CR400BF model left Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station for Beijing. The new bullet trains, also known as electric multiple units (EMU), boast top speeds of 400 kilometers an hour and a consistent speed of 350 kilometers an hour. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)
Photo taken on July 9, 2017 shows China completed a 60-day trial of mining gas hydrates, commonly known as combustible ice, in the South China Sea, marking breakthroughs in human’s search for alternative clean energy sources. Started from May 10, the mining operation in waters near the Pearl River estuary has beaten previous expectations and set world records in both the length and total amount of extraction, according to the China Geological Survey Bureau. (Xinhua/Zhu Xia)
Editor: Gao Shan