July/August, 1980

China on the Move in Science: Feudal but not Futile

Paul A. Schuette

China has exerted a powerful pull on adventurous Americans for well over a century. First there were the Yankee traders and merchants. Then came the missionaries, the teachers. Now and again, we even sent in the Marines. The Revolution ruptured those varied relationships for more than 20 years, but the interest in China seems to have come back to full flower since Fine hand polishing of a multifaceted scanner used in thermal imaging systems done on a treadle wheel at the North China Optical Factory, Beijing. resumption of full diplomatic relations with China in January 1979. But none of this really explains why our scientists are trooping off to China in ever-increasing numbers to visit universities and institutes, to meet, to lecture. China may rank as a world power on the basis of sheer bulk and numbers but hardly in terms of scientific achievement. So what is the attraction? Simple curiosity is certainly one factor.

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