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China Table of Contents


Linking Technology and Economics

As they have accumulated experience in dealing with foreign corporations, Chinese economic administrators and enterprise managers have become better able to negotiate contracts that, while not full joint ventures, still permit the necessary training and consultation in the use of foreign technology. By the late l980s, the transfer of foreign technology had become a normal commercial transaction. To an increasing extent, policy and practices for technology transfer were becoming part of general economic and foreign trade policies. China faced problems in assimilating technology in the factories that imported it and in deciding which foreign technologies to import. It was becoming clear to Chinese planners and foreign suppliers of technology that these problems reflected overall deficiencies in technical and management skills and that they were general economic and management problems. The solution to these problems was increasingly seen by Chinese administrators as lying in reforms of the economy and industrial management. The effort to import and assimilate foreign technology thus served to help unify technology policy and economic policy and to overcome the problems of the separation of science, technology, and the economy, which China's leaders had been trying to solve since the early 1950s.

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Because of the continuity of the issues affecting China's science and technology, many of the studies carried out in the early 1960s are still useful. Among these are Leo A. Orleans' Professional Manpower and Education in Communist China, Wu Yuan-li and Robert B. Sheeks' The Organization and Support of Scientific Research and Development in Mainland China, and Cheng Chu-yuan's Scientific and Engineering Manpower in Communist China, 1949-1963. Richard P. Suttmeier's 1974 Research and Revolution: Science Policy and Societal Change in China sets out most of the basic policy choices for science in China. Articles by Suttmeier and Denis Fred Simon cover most aspects of current science policy. Science in Contemporary China, edited by Orleans, assesses the state of science in China as of 1980. Rudi Volti's Technology, Politics, and Society in China and K.C. Yeh's Industrial Innovation in China with Special Reference to the Metallurgical Industry provide good overviews of China's science and technology system. Current news of policies and achievements in science and technology is available in such Chinese sources as Beijing Review, China Daily, and China Exchange News. Chinese reports and discussions of science and technology policy are translated and published in the Joint Publications Research Service's China Report: Science and Technology. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of July 1987