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The 1st General Assembly

The inaugural assembly marking the founding of the CAS Academic Divisions (CASAD) was held in Beijing from June 1 to 10, 1955. A total of 199 CASAD Members were present at the conference (34 were absent with leave). State leaders Zhou Enlai, Dong Biwu, Chen Yi, Lu Dingyi and Li Jishen attended the meeting and delivered speeches. Also present at the meeting were leaders of governmental departments, national science academy delegations from the former Soviet Union and Poland, scientists from the former Czechoslovakia, former Democratic Germany, Mongolia, Hungary and Japan, Soviet experts in China, as well as leaders of China’s research bodies, universities and CAS institutes.

The founding President of CAS Guo Moruo made an opening statement and a work report of CAS. After recalling the development of China’s natural sciences, philosophical and social sciences since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, he analyzed the status quo and problems of China’s science and put forward the guidelines and policy measures for future science research. The report also made suggestions on 10 priority fields for CAS during the national First Five-year Plan period, namely, atomic energy and its peaceful application, designing studies for the construction of new steel and iron complexes, hydrocarbon geology and petroleum exploration, seismology, investigative surveys on the valleys of big rivers, investigation and research of the tropical flora, China’s natural and economic regionalization, antibiotics, basic theories on China’s transitional epoch, and Chinese history and ideology in modern and contemporary times.

CAS Vice Presidents Wu Youxun and Zhu Kezhen, CAS Division Directors Yan Jici and Pan Zinian made work reports respectively on behalf of the Divisions of Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry, the Division of Biological and Earth Sciences, the Division of Technological Sciences, and the Division of Philosophical and Social Sciences.

In his report, CAS Vice President Zhang Jiafu explained the Draft Outline of the CAS Development in the First Five-year Plan. The heads of the Soviet and Polish delegations delivered academic reports while Vice Premier Chen Yi and the head of CPC Department of Publicity Lu Dingyi gave a talk on the political situation of the time. The State Commissioner of Planning Zhang Xi delivered an introductory report on the national First Five-year Plan.

Premier Zhou Enlai addressed the conference, saying, according to the new Chinese Constitution, CAS would no longer be a component of the State Council, but an independent research institution and a leading organ in academia. He urged Chinese scientists to rally under the CPC leadership, learn from advanced science and technology in the world, and spare no efforts in upgrading their research levels to achieve China’s overall objectives in the transitional period.

The meeting saw the formal establishment of the four academic divisions: physics, mathematics and chemistry; biological & earth sciences; technological science; and philosophical and social sciences. Members of the standing committees of the divisions were elected. The participants discussed the reports of the CAS president and CASAD, the outlined scheme for the CAS development during the First Five-year Plan, and work priorities set for each division in 1955. A total of 39 research papers were presented and deliberated at the meeting. In addition, many considerate ideas and constructive suggestions were aired regarding such issues as the name-lists of the CASAD members, organization of related research bodies, introduction of the CAS membership system and the CAS Executive Committee. The General Resolution at the Inauguration of CASAD was unanimously adopted.

The meeting summarized the basic experience of scientific research over the past five years, made clear the guidelines, tasks and major measures for Chinese science in coming years, established the academic leading organ and strengthened the CAS leadership. Scientists present at the meeting gained a further understanding of the policies of the Party and the government and became more united.