Experiencing China's Rapid Development

湖南省科技厅 www.picloot.com 时间:2021-10-26 【字体:

James Elroy Edginton (PHOTO provided by the author)

By James Elroy Edginton

As a keen futurologist, and amateur science technology hobbyist since childhood, my last 12 years of living in China have witnessed its incredible, world-leading leaps forward in once-futuristic cutting-edge technologies in multiple areas, ranging from mobile phones and 3D-printing, to renewable energy sources and infrastructure.

My Chinese wife and I had the honor of attending the 70th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 2019, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. At an award ceremony in Changsha, I attended a ceremony for Science & Technology Creative Communication, during which I was supposed to meet up with the intellectual giant Yuan Longping, but unfortunately he could not attend due to ill health.

Working at the Hunan University of Arts and Science as a foreign teacher, I have had many opportunities to converse with a wide range of academic colleagues from diverse disciplines, such as economics, philosophy and nuclear physics, which has been both exciting and challenging. Meanwhile, I was invited to travel to Guangdong with a group of foreign experts, visiting various installations including the world -leading China Spallation Netron Source facility. I have helped professionals such as specialist medical doctors, as well as those working on new types of nuclear power plants with translations on research, along with high-level public officials and a language expert from Tsinghua university.

It is of immense interest and with great enthusiasm that, as an amateur keen on technologies, rather than a specialist, I could help people as I bring my own type of expertise into play. This is something I find unique to China, since such opportunities just didn't exist for me in the UK. Part of the reason for this is the open and rapidly advancing nature of the Chinese system, which I fully embrace. Having worked in the UK in several sectors of the economy, including the Civil Service as well as the National Health Service, I have found that successful assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation/re-evaluation are key to the ongoing process of advancement, and so it mustn't be forgotten that China is a place where 100 year plans of such a nature are the norm.

In my time in China, I have kept track of the country's cutting-edge technologies, as well as monitored its successes in desert greening, food self-sustainability and renewable energy production and transmission, such as developing high-yield and salt-tolerant strains, and synthesizing starch from CO2 at the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology. Such ground-breaking projects are just a few examples providing further proof that China has become a world player in the field of science and technology.

Other examples could include China's prowess regarding "clean meat" or lab-grown meat technology acquisition & adoption, infrastructure projects, such as record-breaking rail networks to Xizang, and the world's largest HEP Dam at 3-Gorges in Hubei, space research, such as crop-growing in space, China's own Space Station, the world's largest Radio Telescope, FAST in Guizhou, landing of a Mars Rover, Zhurong, the world's first 3D -printed homes & cars, CRISPR gene-editing technology, the world's deepest submersible, the Jiaolong, coupled with a permanent undersea research facility in the South China Sea, as well as restructuring coral reefs using artificial alternatives, and the list goes on.

There are certainly challenges ahead, such as combating China's plastic pollution problem, marine habitat loss, an aging population, spreading and deepening China's soft-power and the necessary future transition from the traditional "factory" to the localized on-demand 3D-print. However, given the heart-warming nature of China's political system, under the great leadership and guidance of President Xi Jinping and the CPC, as well as its successes (rice crops grown in salt-water in Heilongjiang, former deserts in Inner Mongolia, such as Mu Us Desert, have now disappeared and been transformed into green oases and so on), and willingness to share, these challenges are sure to be conquered with the same successful determination as those that went before.

I feel so emotionally proud of China, with all its successes, following all its struggles, on a daily basis. This year, China succeeded in eliminating absolute poverty throughout the country, and all across China people are responding favorably to the course on which China is set — the CPC is the most popular party in the world, and if there were such a contest, President Xi would surely be the most popular and successful leader on the planet!

(James Elroy Edginton is now a teacher at Hunan University of Arts and Science, who comes from Britain.)