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[BEIJING] Most Chinese people think science and technology can play a positive role in society, and many are extremely optimistic about what science can achieve, according to a report released this week (29 May).

Its authors analysed data from a survey carried out in 2005. They found that more than one in five people thinks China could solve all of its problems with science and technology alone.

"Those who have extreme optimism about science and technology are mostly rural residents or those with low education levels," says lead researcher He Wei of the China Research Institute for Science Popularization.

The 2005 survey involved 8,570 adults aged between 18 and 69. Some of its other findings were revealed in a separate report last month (see TV is top for finding out about science in China).

According to the report, 41 per cent of people surveyed said the country could become stronger and richer only by using science and technology. Eleven per cent thought science and technology had caused more negative than positive effects.

The report also says that 87.5 per cent of those surveyed believe science and technology will give future generations a better quality of life.

Although the survey shows that science and technology are viewed favourably in China, He says there is a need for science communicators to "help people understand the relationship between science and society".

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