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Key science projects criticized for `retarded progress'

CHINA'S major projects in its 15-year scientific and technological development program initiated in 2006 is progressing very slowly, a political advisor said today.

The State Council, or Cabinet, approved the last major scientific and technological project late last year, he said. "It means we have spent one fifth of the time to start up the program."

"In addition, no substantial research and study have been conducted on many projects so far," Wu Hequan, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said at a plenary meeting of the top political advisory body.

China planned to inject 500 billion yuan (US$73 billion) in the National Program for Medium- and Long-Term Scientific and Technological Development, aiming to make breakthroughs in a host of core technologies including large airplanes for civil service, core electronic devices, development and use of nuclear energy and advanced numerically controlled machine tools.

Wu, also vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, blamed lack of efficiency in the multi-level administrative systemas the direct cause for the "retarded progress".

"The major projects involve a wide range of sectors and a large number of institutions, which adds difficulties to inter-department coordination," he said.

"And relevant regulations have not been improved to meet the current demand of the key projects," he said.

Wu proposed a leading team headed by Cabinet leader to act as more efficient coordinators, a mechanism that was proved successful for the Beijing Olympics.

Drawing experiences from the manned spacecraft program, he also suggested creating the posts of general director and general engineer for the 15-year program.


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