The China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) is the largest national non-governmental organization of scientific and technological workers in China, which also serves as the bridge that links the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to the country's science and technology community. Through its member societies - 207 in number - and local branches all over the country, the organization maintains close ties with millions of Chinese scientists, engineers and other people working in the fields of science and technology.
The history of CAST can trace back to the eve of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 when a number of the nation's primary scientific and technological organizations were gathering at a meeting to call upon the country's science and technology community to dedicate all their efforts to the building of New China. The meeting led to the birth in 1950 of two new national organizations -- All-China Federation of Natural Science Societies and All-China Association for Science Popularization. In September 1958, the two organizations decided at their joint congress to merge into a unified single organization - the China Association for Science and Technology.
Since its inauguration, CAST has made significant contributions to the prosperity and development of science and technology, to the popularization of science and technology among the public, to the emerging of large numbers of professional talents, and to the overall economic and social development in China.
As the bridge linking Chinese science and technology community with the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, CAST is a constituent member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), where it joins the nation's political parties and other social groups in the state affairs of political consultation, policy-making and democratic supervision.
The highest leading organ of CAST is the National Congress that meets every five years and the National Committee elected by it. The President of the present National Committee is Prof. Wan Gang. The Secretariat appointed by the National Committee is responsible for the daily work of CAST, which is headed by the Chief Executive -- Dr. Shang Yong.
CAST devotes itself to boosting the development of science and technology in China and enhancing science literacy of the whole nation, organizes and encourages scientists and engineers of the country, through its affiliated organizations, to conduct academic exchange, science popularization and scientific and technological consulting and other activities according to the country's science and technology development strategy, accelerate the emergence of scientific and technological talents, voice the opinions of science and technology professionals and firmly safeguards their legitimate rights.
CAST maintains cooperative relations with scientific and technological organizations of many countries and, as the representative of Chinese science and technology community, are members of ICSU, WFEO and many other international scientific and technological organizations. In 2004, CAST was granted consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.