Friday, November 21, 2008

As a potential superpower, it is China’s right to close the gap in space technology with the US

By China Watcher

It is already a known fact that China is seeking accomplishment in space over the past decade and, it is possible that they may even pay a huge sum of money to acquire the necessary technology to close the gap with the US in this important scientific field, which to a certain extent, is a measure of a country’s high technology advancement.

Last week, a naturalized US citizen, of Chinese origin, is charged for violating the US Arms Export Control Act from 2003 to 2007 for providing “valuable assistance” in the design and development of a cryogenic fueling system (including pumps, valves, transfer lines, refrigeration equipments and components critical for liquefied hydrogen) for future space launch vehicles to be used at the heavy payload launch facility located in the southern island province of Hainan. He has also been accused for arranging for Chinese officials to visit various European space launch facilities and hydrogen production/storage facilities (yes, European owned and not US).

I would not call this as espionage as spun wildly by the US media (they just love to do this every time it involves China) with such reports constantly following a very familiar theme that the Chinese are “evil” (and communists in particular) and, they will use whatever means to acquire the technology to be used militarily to strike at the US and its residents. Why must the Chinese attack the US if it is not provoke? Isn’t the US the most powerful military in the world with a strong global presence? This is all hyped-up phobias with a hidden agenda.

A political analyst put this appropriately by saying that the accused did not “steal” the technology but he has breached his employment terms using his personal knowledge, overstepping the arm control laws, to generate income for himself. This kind of shady business deals are transacted daily all over the world that would include the Arabs, Russians, Indians, Iranians and Israelis but nothing was as much played up by the US media as those that concerns China. Why? Possibly, China is the only visible country in this world that would pose a strong threat to the US continued dominations in the political, economic, cultural and scientific realms in the future.

Does the world needs a country voted by only 250 million people to decide the world’s fate with a population of more than 6 billion? A multi polar world with the US, China, Russia and probably the EU is more tenable and accepted than one that is overly dominated by a single power.

The accused is one of the few persons of Chinese origin being systematically prosecuted by the US’s Justice Department. Let this be a clear warning to all bright Chinese students and for those dream of making the US as their home that getting a citizenship is not an insurance that those constant surveillance activities are kept out of your life especially if you are engaged in a high technology related employment.

A lot of the new scientific improvements seen in the US to a certain degree were contributed by scientists of Chinese origin who graduated from the US and reside in the country (About 26% of MIT students are of Asian origins) since the 80s. The trend of graduated students moving back to China is on the increase and in a survey conducted more than 40% of the Chinese students in the US is keen on contributing to the scientific development of China. Can the US stem the flow of this massive brain power in due course? Ultimately, the “imported” Chinese will be able to develop indigenous technology for the homeland and hopefully, China may not need to source its technology from the fearful US anymore.

There is no doubt that the US will continue to strengthen its monitoring mechanism and also, to enhance its arms control laws to deal with this so called “high technology proliferation” to China. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has stated in its annual report to lawmakers that aggressive Chinese space programs are allowing Beijing to more effectively target U.S. military forces. The report is hypothetical and it treated China as an “enemy”.

The US claimed that whatever technology gain by China in the course of cooperation with them will immediately be applied to China’s Military, which are deemed not “peaceful” because it is a communist state which ultimately threatens the freedoms which has made these successes possible.

The US has made no complaints about seeking technology cooperation with Russia, which is deemed a “democracy”, but the recent differences over the placement of defense shield right in front of Russia’s doorstep had created suspicions. Does a “democratic” state and a one-party state made any differences on technology cooperation? Even if China is a democracy, I still do not think the US would cooperate fully with one that does not share close values with them.

China will be forever a strong competitor to the US and, in a zero sum equation; one country’s gain is another loss to the other. China must follow Russia in developing its own technology. The increased spending on Research and Development in China bodes well for the development in this direction.

The new US President-elect Barrack Obama said in one of its campaigns during the US Presidential election that China is rising and it is not going to go away and added that Beijing is "neither US enemy nor US friend; they're competitors." Probably the many US neo-cons should take note of this. And I would point out also that China will definitely close the gap in technology between the US and them and it is their right to do so and not a single country would be able to take that right away by using man-made restrictions.

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