(This Huan Qiu Shi Bao Editorial was carried in the on-line edition in English, the Global Times, as well under the title “Lunar Probe, Eliminating Poverty, China did both”. Editing/stylistic differences apart, the omissions/additions in the Chinese original, as compared to the version put out in English, are shown below through italics font for words/phrases/sentences included in the original in Chinese but not in the English version and strike-throughs for those included in the English version but not in the Chinese original.)
Image released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the orbiter-returner combination of China’s Chang’e-5 probe approaching the ascender. Photo: Xinhua
The Chang’e-5 capsule carrying rocks and soil from the moon landed safely on Earth early on Thursday. This mirrors China’s comprehensive technological progress. Of course, it is not the only pride for China’s 2020. In November, the last few impoverished counties, all in southwest China’s Guizhou Province, have eliminated absolute poverty, a decisive result towards achievement of China’s goal to achieve a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
China is the most populous developing country in the world. It is very difficult to realize coordinated progress among various sectors. With a limited budget, China has multiple tasks at the same time – it has to encourage development of high-tech abilities, in order to open up space and provide impetus for social advancement; at the same time, to strive for improving people’s livelihood, and embedding social fairness at the topmost level in the design of national strategies.
For a long time, some people believe have doubted that China has not done enough to balance these developments. Voices have existed that China invested excessive resources to fields such as aerospace. Despite difficulties, compared to other countries, China has tried its best to reach a (good) balance and has achieved positive results.
Since China implemented the reform and opening-up policy, the most prominent and well-known national goal has been achieving a moderately prosperous society. People’s livelihood and fairness and justice have always been the focus of attention in Chinese society. The science and technology strategy of rejuvenation of the country is closely intertwined with people-centered economic development. In recent decades, the Chinese have not been making advances in aerospace with their belts tightened, and the lunar exploration project is by no means a “political vanity project” – it is well within the ability of Chinese society.“
The progress in high-tech areas such as aerospace has pushed up China’s strategic competitiveness overall. At the same time, people are living better lives. Without the concurrent advancement in high-tech areas, China’s prosperity would lack a backbone and long-term guarantee.
As an emerging major power, China’s per capita GDP is not the highest among developing countries in the G-20. But China’s major scientific progress in recent years is undoubtedly the most prominent among developing countries and developed countries in general. China is a large country, and this has exerted its unique incubation advantages of size in promoting major technological progress. This is gratifying.
China has long implemented a market economy, but has maintained the guiding role of the government. This prevents our market economy from languishing and hovering at a low level, and also prevents us from being satisfied with the low-end prosperity of the global value chain. The Chinese nation’s self-motivated spirit continues to release momentum, successfully supported by the country’s system. Thus, we can move forward in a balanced manner and with a clear sense of direction.
China does not have a “technology-only development theory” and has not regarded technological development or achievements in aerospace as an overriding goal. Nor has China formed a circle of high-tech elites in society, divorced from the general Chinese public in the country and resulting in divisions and antagonism between the rich and the poor. Compared with China, India’s current aerospace engineering (program) would seem to be much more difficult. But the Indian people have chosen to explore the Moon and Mars and, no matter how difficult that is, it is their choice.
China’s high-tech development still has a long and arduous way to go. We may need to devote more resources to cutting-edge technologies such as aerospace.
Frankly, the Chinese public has principled support for this, but such support has not been fully transformed into preferential treatment of high-tech industries and talent in these fields. There is still a lot of room for us to continue our efforts in this area.
For China to achieve modernization, it is essential that our space technology to be fully world class, making advances of a fundamental nature. There are unlimited possibilities in space, and most resources that support the human being’s future development must be outside the Earth. We need to travel to space step by step, and our good, fair and just social governance will provide strength for this. Our ambitions and dreams will inspire us to persevere. Chang’e-5 is just the beginning.