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The Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country’s leading science and technology organisation, has adopted a new code of ethics governing the behaviour expected of its members.

The so-called ’10 commandments’ state that scientists should “put the interests of the State, the people and all mankind, above everything else, and be model scientific and technical workers”.

In a report describing the adoption of the code of ethics, People's Daily says that the scientific community has — like the rest of Chinese society — suffered during the recent emergence of a market-based economy from the occasional “neglect of morality and even moral degradation”.

According to the president of the academy, Lu Yongxiang, academicians should energetically promote the scientific spirit, provide assistance to young researchers, and engage in the public communication of science. He added that they should “exercise strict self-discipline in science morality and the style of study, to become the examples of scientific and technical circles”.

Lu Yongxiang was speaking during a meeting of the academy last week at which 56 new members were elected. The fact that this is less than the 60 that can be appointed each year under the academies rules — and that 3 of these were under the age of 40 — is being quoted as evidence of the academy's desire to reform its operating procedures by being more selective in its appointments, and encouraging young scientists.

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