Premier Li Keqiang on Monday congratulated herbal expert Tu Youyou on winning the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, the first Chinese woman national to win a Nobel prize in science.
"Tu's winning the prize signifies China's prosperity and progress in scientific and technological field, marks a great contribution of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to the cause of human health, and showcases China's growing strengths and rising international standing," Li said in a congratulatory letter.
Li praised Chinese scientists, including medical researchers, for their long-term, dedicated work and numerous achievements.
He also encouraged them to implement the national strategy of an innovation-driven economy, and to seek greater progress in the most advanced scientific and technological projects.
Tu was visited Monday evening by officials with the China Association for Science and Technology and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, entrusted by Vice Premier Liu Yandong.
The All-China Women's Federation also sent a congratulatory letter to Tu, hailing her as the pride of all Chinese women.
Tu, born in 1930, shared the prize with Irish-born William Campbell and Japan's Satoshi Omura for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria, the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute announced Monday.
The pharmacologist discovered Artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua after the announcement, Juleen R. Zierath, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, said that Tu's "inspiration from traditional Chinese medicine" was important.
"But what was really critical was that Tu Youyou identified the active agent in that plant extract," said Zierath, adding "there was a lot of modern chemistry, bio-chemistry attached to this to bring forward this new drug."
On China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, the landmark news has been forwarded by at least tens of thousands of users and received numerous "thumb-ups."
"The drug saved many lives, especially in Africa. I began to know about it after I came here (Africa). It has little side effects and is not easy to develop resistance," said "Feitianfancao" who was identified as an employee with a trade company by the microblog service.
Netizen "Shengxiaxohuiyi" wrote, "Now I feel truly proud of being a medical student." "At this moment, I cried," wrote another.
Tu's achievement has propped up the public's confidence in the country's scientific development. "So many years we've waited, and finally we see it happen! Is it a signal of a fresh-new age?" user "Zhangguoxun001" said.
In 2012, Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature.