The Chinese quickly figured out -- probably with Tsien's help -- that even with his extensive knowledge and experience, they would not be able to create a missile program immediately. There were no factories in China that could easily produce the complex materials they would need. There were no major wind tunnels, no engine test sites or launch sites, no university research institutes devoted to jet propulsion. There were not even indigenous textbooks on the subject.
When Tsien grasped the full extent of the backwardness that existed in Chinese science, education, and national defense, even his enthusiasm waned. "[We] had no research team personnel and metalworking workshops," Tsien wrote. ". . . At that time my thoughts completely changed, from optimism to pessimism. I really felt that in scientific research it would be difficult to progress even an inch, and I was worried to death about it. . . . I didn't know how to struggle in a difficult environment . . . how to start from scratch."
Four decades later, China possesses the third largest nuclear missile arsenal in the world and has become one of the greatest arms suppliers to the Third World. It is the only country other than Russia to have intercontinental ballis-