The ‘Great Leap Forward’ of Public Scientific Literacy in China

Zhu, Xiaomin


From 1992 to 2015 China investigated Chinese public scientific literacy and attitudes to S&T nine times. Originally, the framework of investigation of indicators was almost similar to investigations in Science Indicators initiated by Jon Miller in the 1970s. However, from 2005 to 2015 with more and more Chinese characteristics of related investigations, we find that the scientific literacy level of the Chinese public increased almost two times every five years. And the aim of the 13th five-year National Planning of Chinese public scientific literacy level has been set at 10% in 2020, which means the data will be double again in another five years in the future. According to the eighth investigation in 2010, 3.27% Chinese people have scientific literacy, which shows 14.67% people master scientific knowledge, 9.75% master scientific methods, and 64.94% worship the scientific spirit. How do we understand the last number which is so conflicted with the common sense of science sociology? Which side is lying: public, science, or investigation? This paper will talk about the problems in these investigations which are really unreasonable and even could be a big scandal if we compare with other countries’ similar investigations and make an objective analysis of those data and results.

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