Sciences in Communist China: A Symposium Presented at the New York Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, December 26-27, 1960

By Sidney H. Gould | Go to book overview

Agricultural Science

RALPH W. PHILLIPS and LESLIE T. C. Kuo, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.


Introduction and Background

The evaluation of agricultural science in Communist China is a complex undertaking. China is a large and varied country, extending across some 35 degrees of latitude, and with extreme ranges in elevation and in precipitation. Consequently, many types of agriculture are practiced. Although China has always been and still is an agricultural country, agricultural science had advanced only to a very limited extent up to the end of World War II. Therefore, the development of agricultural science must be viewed not only against the overall developments in the world but also against the level which prevailed when the Communist regime seized power.

Developments during the last decade must be considered in relation to the arena of political thought and action wherein they have taken place. An agrarian civilization has been uprooted and transplanted in new political soil. The agricultural science which has grown up during this process has been shaped to meet the needs of political and sociological change; the political masters could hardly permit the development of independent scientific thought.

Agricultural science is itself not an entity, but a complex of fields, and within each field many sciences contribute to the area of endeavor serving that field, and in a sense the sciences combine to constitute a new area of science for each field of work. So, even the simplest approach involves an examination of developments in a number of major fields of work.

A further difficulty is the lack of precise, dependable information. Although the authors have been able to draw upon many

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