According to CRI English, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) has announced new initiatives to foster greater understanding of science and to encourage innovation. During the ninth national congress of CAST, chairman Han Qide announced that within the next five years China will establish a new award recognizing science fiction and fantasy works.
The Galaxy Award is one of China’s highest honors for SFF, selected by the Chinese sci-fi magazine Science Fiction World. Prominent Chinese sci-fi writers include Cixin Liu (Galaxy Award winner whose novel The Three-Body Problem, translated by Ken Liu, won the Hugo Award), Lu Xun, Chen Qiufan, and Xia Jia (Galaxy and Nebula Award winner), who explains what makes Chinese science fiction Chinese:
Overall, Chinese science fiction writers are faced with a particular historic condition. On the one hand, the failure of Communism as an alternative for overcoming the crises of capitalism means that the crises of capitalist culture, accompanied by the process of globalization, are manifesting in the daily lives of the Chinese people. On the other hand, China, after a series of traumas from the economic reforms and paying a heavy price for development, has managed to take off economically and resurge globally. The simultaneous presence of crisis and prosperity guarantees a range of attitudes toward humanity’s future among the writers: some are pessimistic, believing that we’re powerless against irresistible trends; some are hopeful that human ingenuity will ultimately triumph; still others resort to ironic observation of the absurdities of life. The Chinese people once believed that science, technology, and the courage to dream would propel them to catch up with the developed nations of the West. However, now that Western science fiction and cultural products are filled with imaginative visions of humanity’s gloomy destiny, Chinese science fiction writers and readers can no longer treat “where are we going?” as an answered question.
Xia Jia adds that Chinese sci-fi was given the responsibility both of “describing a beautiful plan for the future” as well as “popularizing scientific knowledge.” To that end, Han Qide said that CAST would build more modern science and technology museums in order to improve people’s access to resources. In addition to the SFF award, CAST will also create an international sci-fi festival. CAST’s announcement is well-timed, as the 2016 National Science and Technology Week just took place in various Chinese cities during this past May.