Scientific mindset

Charles Lieber leaves federal court after he and two Chinese nationals were charged with lying about their alleged links to the Chinese government, in Boston, Massachusetts, US, 30 January 2020. (Katherine Taylor/Reuters)

US must not be naive about intentions of China’s Thousand Talents Plan

The recent conviction of former Harvard department head Charles Lieber has cast the spotlight once again on China’s Thousand Talents Plan to attract global scientific talent to contribute their expertise to China. The American scientific community is pushing back against some of the US government’s harsh reprisals, but Hu Hao says strong action is warranted as the threat of authoritarian regimes seeking to gain technical knowledge to threaten democratic and liberal values is real.
In this file photo taken on 6 March 2021, demonstrators throw masks into a fire during a mask burning event to protest Covid-19 restrictions, at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, US. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images North America/AFP)

How the pandemic overturned my understanding of Americans

Like many of us experiencing pandemic days, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai spent the last two years living quietly. Even now, scenes on television are rife with pandemic news in the US. Watching health workers refusing to get vaccinated or the population spurning masks in defence of their freedoms, Cheng wonders why some people are willing to be “martyrs” for the cause they believe in. Or worse, are they just foolishly courting the virus? Maybe this really shows a great gulf in attitudes between the East and West.
This photo shows Yuan Longping in 2006, at a press event with Chinese media. (CNS)

Chinese academic: Why the CCP honoured Yuan Longping, the 'father of hybrid rice'

China's “father of hybrid rice”, the late scientist Yuan Longping, was conferred the Medal of the Republic by the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng concludes that amid science and technology debates and praises of Yuan's achievements, the CCP's award demonstrates that the true goals of science are to improve the lives of the people.
A colour supplement of Le Petit Journal from 1900 shows the Allied troops attacking Beijing.

[Picture story] The Boxer Rebellion: A wound in China’s modern history

The Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th century goes down in history as proof that if the Chinese are weak, the West will take advantage and China will pay the price. It is a constant reminder to the Chinese of their past humiliations and guides their dealings with the West today. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao shares illustrations of the tumultuous times during that period.
Staff members examine the return module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in Siziwang Banner, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on 17 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

China’s strides in technology good for US and the world

Adherence to IP protection and the rule of law are common and valid concerns of US and Western practitioners doing business in China. Commentator Deng Qingbo says that in that light, China’s recent stated focus on technological innovation should be cheered, as science, rational thinking, abiding by the rules, and even democracy often go together. At the same time, the Chinese need to better communicate their desire to share the fruits of their technological advancements with the rest of the world.
Traditional Chinese medicine has its believers and detractors. (Hedy Khoo/SPH)

Western medicine or Chinese medicine? China's TCM regulations spark debate

TCM treatment is said to have played a role in the fight against Covid-19 in China. The Beijing authorities recently sought public views on a set of proposed regulations on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which includes articles that mention punishments for those who “defame and slander” TCM. A furore ensued as the public worried about the expansiveness of the proposed law. Oxford University visiting researcher Hayson Wang thinks hard about what lies at the nub of the issue and what TCM proponents must do to bring TCM practice into the mainstream.
A woman wears a face mask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus as she looks at her mobile phone near the entrance of the Peking University People's Hospital in Beijing on 21 February 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Visiting the doctor as a foreigner in China: I wish they will not become complacent

Lianhe Zaobao’s Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu recounts her recent visit seeking medical treatment in Beijing in times of Covid-19. She extrapolates from her experience of being initially turned away and sounds a reminder to officials not to let complacency or a wish to maintain a positive recovery record lead to China facing a recurrent rash of outbreaks.
A man wearing a face mask crosses a road in Wuhan. China has not handled the Covid-19 epidemic well, and its shortcomings are showing. (Reuters)

Covid-19 epidemic exposes China’s shortcomings

Researcher and commentator Wei Da says the recent coronavirus situation serves to remind China that self-reflection and finding the right balance between four key variables — democracy, scientific thinking, rule of law and religion — are greatly needed.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wearing a mask and protective suit speaks to medical workers as he visits the Jinyintan hospital where the patients of the new coronavirus are being treated following the outbreak, in Wuhan, January 27, 2020. (Reuters)

Wuhan coronavirus: China needs less politics, more science

Political analyst Zheng Yongnian says adopting a scientific approach in their daily lives would help the Chinese better cope with tests such as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Refusing to take ownership, the people blame the system, as if it was omnipotent and infallible. He warns that if individuals do not adopt the clear-eyed rationality of science, take a good hard look at themselves and chip in their own capacities, China will continue to lack the stoicism and initiative it needs from all quarters to cope with crises.