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Jason Pontin

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Going to China. Need Guanxi!

On June 17th, I am going to Shanghai for a few days. I have been to China twice before, and to Hong Kong thrice - but not since 2000. There are three purposes to my trip. I want to find…

  • June 10, 2005

On June 17th, I am going to Shanghai for a few days. I have been to China twice before, and to Hong Kong thrice - but not since 2000. There are three purposes to my trip. I want to find out:

1. Is intellectual property really respected in modern China?

2. What is the state of Chinese scientific research? I have blogged on this subject before, but I wonder: is the spirit of open inquiry sufficiently established in China to permit real peer review of findings? There is an argument, proposed by Horace Freeland Judson (the author of the classic The Eighth Day of Creation), that the Confucian tradition and its successor, gerontocratic collectivism, are ill-suited to free debate.

3). Most generally, could China become the dominant source of innovative technology and scientific discovery in the 21st century?

But I need help! This is a shout-out to our Chinese readers. I have a number of meetings arranged, but I want more. I need instant Guanxi (the Chinese word for connections). Devoted readers, if there are any people in Shanghai that I must meet, please write and tell me. Introductions would be helpful, of course.

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