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

Chemistry

ARTHUR J. Yu, Thiokol Chemical Corporation, Trenton, New Jersey

When the Communist Party took power in mainland China on October 1, 1949, chemistry in its various branches of activity was in a weak and disorganized state, mainly for two reasons. First, the Chinese economy had always been an agricultural one. Second, the long years of foreign and civil wars since 1929 had drained the national wealth and prevented successful industrialization on a large scale. Thus, the occupation of mainland China did not provide the Communist regime with much chemical technology nor with a large number of chemists and chemical engineers.

The Communist government was determined to industrialize the country and, knowing the importance of science and technology in a modern society, it soon established the Chinese Academy of Sciences, known also as Academia Sinica, to provide scientific and technological support for national development. As a result of the subsequent trade barrier between China and the Western world, the necessity of developing a self-sufficient country in a short time became more and more urgent. Thus in conjunction with a series of five-year plans for economic growth, a Twelve-Year Plan For Science Development ( 1956-1967) was announced by the Science and Technology Commission of the State Council. The Academy of Sciences was given the role of planning and supervising all research and development, and of training enough scientists and engineers to carry out the plan on time. With the support of the government and the guidance of the Academy, science and technology have made great strides in the last few years.

Chemistry, as a basic science, is no exception. If the quantity,

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