'Scientific superpower’ or not, China won’t stop walking road of innovation
Published: Jun 20, 2024 11:05 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

In 2019, the Economist magazine published an article with the headline "Can China become a scientific superpower?" Today, that question has been unequivocally answered by that same publication, in an article titled "China has become a scientific superpower." 

The comparison is quite intriguing, as it vividly demonstrates the West's changing attitudes and complex emotions toward China's scientific and technological growth.

"The old science world order, dominated by America, Europe and Japan, is coming to an end," the Economist magazine declared. It may be too early to reach such a conclusion, because the reality is far more complicated than the Economist's judgment, but its report can still serve as a reminder to the Western world that China's progress in scientific research can't be ignored. 

China has become an important force in the scientific arena. It is unnecessary for the West to create a strong hypothetical enemy for itself. Cooperation is an optimal choice.

While China is making steady progress in scientific and technological innovation, the country is also actively promoting international cooperation. We sincerely hope that Western countries can keep an open mind when dealing with China, and enhance cooperation rather than obstruct China's technological development.

The progress of any country in science and technology should be viewed as a valuable contribution to the development of global scientific and technological innovation. The stronger technological capabilities China develops, the greater value cooperation can create.

The Economist's report said that China today leads the world in the physical sciences, chemistry, and Earth and environmental sciences. China and the rest of the world have broad potential for cooperation in such areas. In the meantime, the Economist's reports serve as a reminder to China that the Western perception of China's technological growth is changing. 

Although The Economist doesn't represent broad public opinion in Western society, it is believed that compared with 2019, more Westerners now agree with the viewpoint that China has become a scientific power.

In the face of China's scientific and technological growth, some Western countries, especially the US, may adopt a zero-sum mindset toward global scientific and technological progress.

We have noticed that since the US tried to artificially push "decoupling" of the American and Chinese technology ecosystems, many US business organizations and people have raised concerns and doubts. But the US is still moving forward on the wrong path. 

This reflects Washington's anxiety and lack of confidence in the face of China's rise. If the view of China becoming a scientific superpower becomes mainstream public opinion in Western society, it will undoubtedly increase Washington's anxiety and prompt it to strengthen its strategic suppression of China's high-tech industries. China should be prepared for a long-lasting trade conflict.

Washington's restrictions and suppression cannot stop China's development and only serve to strengthen its determination and ability to be more self-reliant and technologically innovative. Regardless of whether or not China has become a scientific power, it cannot slow down, but should accelerate the pace of technological development and innovation.

Technological innovation will maintain the competitiveness of China's industry chains, particularly in high-end and booming sectors such as semiconductors and clean energy. 

As China enters a new stage of development, attention is increasingly focused on new quality productive forces that can support high-quality growth. Despite the West's pressure, China will stick to innovation-driven development.

In recent decades, China has been achieving rapid technological progress, but we shouldn't let Western praise go to our heads, but should instead strive to narrow technological gaps with Western countries and promote technological innovation to guarantee stable long-term economic growth.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.