Chapter 1: China Becoming a Technological Superpower: A Narrow Window of Opportunity
A ‘NOBEL’ THOUGHT It is a dark winter evening in Stockholm. It is 10 December 2004 and it is time for the yearly Nobel Prize Festival that is always held in the Stockholm City Hall. More than 1300 people have assembled in the grand Blue Hall, and the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Xu Guanhua, is seated at the centre table, which is reserved for guests of honour. Soon he will listen to the speeches of the Nobel laureates who have received the 2004 prizes in medicine, physics and economics. His thoughts this evening may have included a number of reﬂections on China’s future development of science and technology. In the coming year the Chinese government will make the ﬁnal decision on the contents and direction of the 2020 Science and Technology Plan that has been the focus of intense deliberations for the past couple of years. He may wonder how soon China’s scientists will enter the podium and describe how they were able to scale the scientiﬁc pinnacles that qualify for a presence in this forum. He may reﬂect on how institutions should be changed, what resources should be allocated and how scientists should be identiﬁed and selected to move beyond the present scientiﬁc frontiers. Earlier in the week he has received the news that a Chinese company, Lenovo, an early spin-off from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has acquired the personal computer division from IBM. In the same week he has...
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