‘Fault Lines On The Face Of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great’ - Excerpt 41
"Any great nation needs to rely on creativity and innovation in order to leave its mark on history as well as to drive its economy. For China’s economic miracle to continue, it is imperative to re-discover its native sense of inventiveness, the same inventiveness that created China itself.
However, the country’s leaders know that a truly creative and free-thinking population will also be much more likely to demand innovation in politics as well as industry, meaning the Party remains wary of too much reform. Democracy is a great energizer of invention, but is a step too far for the present government.
Instead, the Party has sought to channel national innovation into paths that will bolster its own hold on power. Rather than allow any form of ‘blue skies’ thinking (that is, free and undirected scientific enquiry), the Party directs innovation and a huge amount of finance into politically impressive projects such as its space program. Whereas in the United States, cash and ingenuity results in creativity (as in the case of Microsoft, for example), in China the government’s money directs all things, which usually dampens the sparks of innovation."
So where is China’s inventive streak? The nation that gave the world the compass, paper, the printing press, gunpowder - what has it created in the last few hundred years?
I see that I got precisely zero answers to an earlier question, in which I asked how Taiwan could possibly 'part of China' be when it had its own laws and leaders. So I’ll try a simpler question.
Which of my nationalist Chinese readers can tell me what China has invented to make the world a better place in the last century or two?
And while China provides the biggest show of all, the Olympic games, still its captive colonies suffer. 'T' for Tibet and 'X' for Xinjiang, every chance you get.
‘Fault Lines On The Face Of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great’ - Excerpt 42
China’s space program put the nation’s first man in space in 2003 (more than forty years after the Russians did it) and in 2005, Hu Shixiang, deputy chief commander of the space program, said China would put a man on the moon and build a space station within ten to 15 years.
Projects such as this contribute very little to the sum total of human wellbeing, and they certainly do not make the life of the average Chinese citizen any better – indeed, the life of the average Chinese citizen becomes worse given that billions of dollars poured into space projects becomes unavailable to provide the schools, hospitals and social welfare that rural China so desperately needs. This money also siphons off research funding for scientists who are working on projects of real benefit.
The space program unites the Chinese people with a feeling of pride, and it is this pride the Party uses to leverage its grip on power. Yet national self-esteem is only one aspect of China’s rush into space. China’s wish to put a man on the moon has perhaps more to do with Chinese desires for military expansion into space.
Sadly, the vast majority of Chinese people quickly smile and register self-satisfaction when the space race and the new arms-in-space race is brought up in general conversation. For them, the allocation of billions of dollars of research funds to vanity projects, when domestic matters require creative solutions to real problems, is totally acceptable.