7 November 2022

China is betting on scientific excellence

There are two great powers in the world. That includes both military and economic strength - and the two powers are USA and China

Still today USA is much stronger in its economy and also in military force, although statistics still claim Russia would be in the second place in the latter dimension - a claim shown to be wrong by Ukraine. Therefore it was interesting to read about ideas of Xi Jinping in China.

According to the article, Xi opened the Communist party meeting - where he was nominated to his third period as a president of the country - by saying that "regard science and technology as our primary productive force, talent as our primary resource and innovation as our primary driver of growth". That is: China has become to a situation, where they aim to increase their technological readiness above all other countries in the world.

Actually they have been looking for that already for quite a while. During the last years their intention has been to increase the R&D intensity by at least seven percent every year, and if that continues until 2035, it could reach the average of 2,7 percent for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from the current 2.4 percent of gross domestic product. 

There are, however, obstacles in China´s way towards the leading power of the world. Russian attack to Ukraine has warned political West from relying too strictly on Chinese products, which may reduce monetary income and investments to Xi´s empire. And at the same time, restrict the spread of western innovations to China. 

Even more difficult obstacles might appear from the Chinese cultural tradition restricting criticism towards elder colleagues, which decelerates the spread of novel innovative ideas. Also the decrease of Chinese population due to former one child policy may increase burden to people in working age and cause serious instability in the society. And that would certainly affect negatively also the scientific realm. 

Despite all these obstacles, in my opinion Xi´s decision to bet on scientific excellence is wise. Even if any of the fears turns real, scientific approach is the the best option to find solutions. 

That should also be remembered in the USA, where many universities have fallen to a crisis caused by ultraliberal ideology ("wokeism") questioning even many scientific facts and demanding their replacement with politically correct beliefs. Even though the purpose of liberals may be good, they have forgotten the fact Chinese have realized: a stable, competitive and ultimately fair future can only be built on scientific truth. 

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