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

Chemical Engineering

L. C. PAN, Chemical Construction Corporation, New York City

Before the Chinese Communist Party came into power, the science of chemical engineering was taught in Chinese universities and research work was carried out by government-supported institutions as well as in the laboratories of private industries. Since the Communist takeover, although there is no longer opportunity for on-the-spot observation, a glimpse of the state of science and technology related to chemical engineering may be obtained by reading Chinese publications. At least forty of these were brought to our attention either directly or through Science Abstracts of China, published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Some of these articles are fully up to Western standards. There are in Communist China regular local and nationwide conferences on chemical technology devoted to various subjects, such as synthetic fibers, plastics, and rubber. There were instances of Communist Chinese engineers improving the design of chemical plants built with Soviet aid. In the chemical equipment field, China can now manufacture high-pressure vessels and gas compressors of specifications comparable to those made in the United States. In soda ash manufacture China claims even larger capacities per unit equipment and higher efficiencies than those in Western countries. In most other fields, such as petroleum refining, synthetic liquid fuels, petrochemicals, and high polymers, although there are a number of plants built with Soviet assistance or East German aid, the technological developments are meager, and it may take years for Communist China to catch up with the achievements of the Western World.

Before the Communists took control, China had on the mainland 227 institutions of higher education and 133 scientific research institutes, each covering a broad section of the sciences and

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