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'China not world leader in science, tech, can't fool itself; won't beat US'

The large gap in science and technology between China and developed countries in the West, including the US, should be common knowledge, and not a problem

China and US

China and US

Press Trust of India Beijing
In a rare public criticism, a top editor of an official Chinese publication has said the country is fooling itself if it thinks it will soon overtake the US as a world leader in science and technology and questioned the hype created by state-run media about China's achievements in this sector.
The large gap in science and technology between China and developed countries in the West, including the US, should be common knowledge, and not a problem, Liu Yadong, Editor-in-Chief of Science and Technology Daily, which comes under the supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said.
But it became problematic when the people who hype (China's achievements) fooled the leadership, the public and even themselves, Liu was quoted as saying by Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. He was delivering a speech at a science and technology seminar in Beijing last week.
Liu's comments came amid US President Donald Trump's move to impose restrictions on high tech collaboration with China coupled with demand to increase Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection for America's investment in the country.
One example of the hype which Liu was referring to was an article by the official Xinhua news agency that was widely circulated last autumn hailing China's four new great inventions, namely high-speed rail, electronic payments, bike sharing and online shopping - even though none of them actually originated in the country, the Post report said.
Liu said despite the technological achievements China had made, there were still many obstacles for it to overcome before it could pose a serious challenge to more advanced nations. These included "a lack of theoretical scientific knowledge, a skills deficit in some areas, and insufficient patience and perseverance to see projects through".
He observed given the prevailing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington, that the way in which some people had oversold China's technological achievements and potential had fuelled the concerns felt, and now being aired, by many Western nations.
Among the products that are likely to be subject to the latest tariffs threatened by Trump are the ones manufactured under the Made in China 2025 banner, the Post report said.
His comments followed the publication of a series of articles by Science and Technology Daily that identified 29 key technologies in which China was lagging behind other countries, it said.
One of the articles cited the problems caused by the US government's ban on American companies selling parts and software to Chinese telecom and mobile phone maker ZTE in the wake of its export control violations. The White House later lifted the ban after ZTE agreed to pay a USD 1.4 billion fine and restructure its management.

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First Published: Jun 27 2018 | 7:47 PM IST

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