China wants to win the race in science and tech. It may not work, some experts warn

by Dannie Peng at

Hou Jianguo, head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was on a mission in the days after the Lunar New Year holiday, visiting research institutes in Beijing and Wuhan, as he urged them to take up the call from President Xi Jinping and speed up efforts to seize the high ground in science and technology.

Xi’s call itself is not new – it can be traced back to 2013. But this time the narrative from the top has appeared more aggressive. At an annual agenda-setting CAS conference, Hou urged scientists to “bolster the spirit of qiang”, saying that 2024 was a crucial year for China.