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To Awaken A Sleeping Dragon


Navneet Bhushan

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA: INTERROGATING POLICIES AND PROGRESS
By Varaprasad S. Dolla
Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 352, Rs. 805.00

VOLUME XXXIX NUMBER 10 October 2015

Today, in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, it is nearly impossible to not hear something or the other about China every day. To realize that China was just a sleeping country with secondary if not tertiary impact on the world economy just three decades back is beyond belief for the new generation. Contemporary China has moved ahead and integrated into the global economy with such silent momentum that the emergence of China as the most important economic power has come as a surprise to most. Arguably, history has not seen such a major transformation of a country in such a short span of time through purely non-military means. It is but natural that this rapid rise should become a subject of study across the world in multiple dimensions. In this period there have been many published reports on China—her revival, economic and industrial progress, political and ideological evolution, social structures, foreign policy, military might and infrastructural development. The current state of China can be attributed to the revival of China initiated by Deng Xioping starting 1978. Many published works have described Deng’s reforms, their impact on China and the path of Chinese evolution. However, focused studies of Science and Technology (S&T)—its connections and impact on China and its economic revival have started emerging lately. In contemporary China as envisioned by Deng in 1978, science and technology have indeed played a pivotal role. Especially the extent of freedom provided to scientists and technologists in Deng era and even afterwards, have been unprecedented as compared to Communist China. One key aspect of the role of the state in Chinese S&T policy and progress that has not been visible in these studies is the impact, implications and integration of ‘havenots’, ‘poor’ or the marginalized to the Chinese S&T. The book by Varaprasad S. Dolla fills the lacuna in a comprehensive manner. The book ‘interrogates S&T from the prism of the marginalized and underprivileged’. It highlights a rather peculiar aspect of the convergence of the capitalistic system as reflected in ‘corporatization of S&T’ even in the ‘socialist’ system of governance that is promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party. The topdown state, as reflected in socialist/Communist China incorporated the elements of ‘western’ capitalism of free-market economy and ‘free thinking’ S&T as designed by Deng to evolve into a hybrid system of socialism ...


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