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Why has China been Passing the U.S. in Science and Technology?

Source: 科技日报 | 2023-03-30 14:53:48 | Author: 汤哲枭

Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) is located in southwest China's Guizhou province. (PHOTO: VCG)

The most frequently cited causes of China getting ahead are money, ideology and brains. Let's see Professor John F. Copper's answer:

Already China's economy is bigger than America's if measured in purchasing power parity. Certainly, China's currency will remain stable and in terms of it being a global currency will obviously grow. Trade is more and more conducted in China's yuan, especially in oil and other resources.

Another factor is the difference in ideologies and government planning in the two countries. In China, the government makes specific plans to improve science and technology, names those plans, and works with determination and drive to realise the goals set.

In the U.S. planning improvements in science and technology are influenced by equity concerns that distract in terms of time and efficiency to reach objectives, not to mention the extra costs involved.

Third, is the component of progress in science and technology called brains. The top universities in China outshine America's best in genius students, and China has nine times the number of advanced students pursuing STEM majors compared to the U.S. according to recent data.

British scientist Joseph Needham several decades ago in a still famous book entitled Science and Civilisation in China wrote that in the past China produced half of the innovations and breakthroughs in the world in science. Perhaps history is repeating.

--John F. Copper, professor of international studies at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.

Editor: 龚茜

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