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By Thomas F. O'Neill

Science and Technology Advancements

Most Americans resent the vast amount of cheap goods landing on U.S. store shelves with the ‘made in China’ labels. They also resent the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs to China. At the same time, however, Americans are buying the Chinese made products due to the low-price.

The average American is also unaware that the U.S. companies that moved to China have actually contributed to China’s economic boom.

Over the past 20 years more than 400 million people in China have moved out of poverty into China’s middle class. That is more than the entire U.S. population and it’s China’s middle class that is driving their country’s economy. The goods that are coming to the U.S. from China are deliberately being kept at low-cost for the American, consumer market, but mostly for America’s shrinking middle class.

Many in the U.S. view China as an undeveloped country that perception of course is false. What they don’t realize is American consumers have helped China become the second largest economy in the world. The cities in China are large and modernized they are also designed to attract tourist from all over the world including America.

The majority of Americans are also unaware that China is becoming the number one superpower, economically, and in the area of Science and Technology. As China’s economy continues to grow so too are vast sums of money going into their country’s research and technology.

China now has two rovers studying the lunar surface of the moon, although, recently one of the rovers is having major mechanical difficulties and may not complete its mission.

China’s goal, however, is to have the first female astronaut land on the lunar surface by 2025.

The Chinese also have the fastest supercomputer in the world. It would take a laptop computer approximately 480 years to accomplish what China’s supercomputer can accomplish in less than one second. This technology will eventually lead to superfast internet servers and vast amounts of data sharing among China’s Schools, Universities, and Government agencies. However, China has also been accused of using similar technology to steal sensitive data from U.S. companies and various foreign agencies throughout the world.

One key area of research that’s drawing vast sums of money from the Chinese Government is the area of genetic engineering. They are now using and developing highly sensitive equipment to scan, read, and sequence human genes. This is nothing new but the amount of money being poured into this research is giving China an edge over private companies in the U.S. China now has the resources in terms of manpower, and equipment, to carry out their research quickly and efficiently.

Genetic engineers have been doing research on animals in China for decades but China has recently made some remarkable breakthroughs. They have for instance produced mice with human brains in order to do brain research. Genetic engineers have spliced genes from Jellyfish and mice to create mice that glow in the dark. They have also produced Chimpanzees with human eyes and ears in order to do optical and auditory research on them.

China is also spending vast amounts of money in the area of cloning - imagine one day in the future - a person discovers they are suffering from heart disease. A private medical doctor extracts some of that person’s genes and sends them off to a lab. Then, in a matter of weeks or months the patient can have a bran-new cloned heart transplanted in them free of all defects.

Failing organs in the future may very well be replaced with cloned organs and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia, might be cured with cloned neurons. Some of China’s top genetic engineers believe this can become reality in the next 20 to 30 years.

The vast amount of money being poured into research, especially, in the field of Science is certainly giving China the upper-hand. I’m sure this has become a huge concern for the U.S. Government because no one in America would want to see China as the number one Superpower, especially, when it comes to advanced Technology.

Many Scientists in China envision a future with cloning factories, providing huge medical benefits, where human organs can be cloned and perhaps genetically altered to benefit the patient’s individual needs.

Scientists in China have already learned a great deal from cloning animals and from performing genetic research on those animals. This is being done in order to gain insight on how to produce stronger and healthier species of animals. This is also giving the Scientists insight on how to potentially cure various human diseases on the genetic level. Scientist are giving various animals genetic traits in order to do medical research on them.

Many Government agencies in the U.S. are beginning to question the moral and ethical ramifications of China’s research. For most Americans this sort of research makes for good science fiction - now leading toward - science reality - with unknown consequences.

The Chinese company BGI is now the leading company in the world for animal cloning. The company (BGI) also has the most sophisticated gene splicing machines. They have bought an American company that produced the machines for research and development. The Chinese, however, have found new ways to produce the machines much more cheaply and now they have the largest number of gene splicing machines in the world.

BGI’s ambition is to use their machines to read and sequence genes in order to improve human health. They are also discovering new ways to improve crop yields, and produce stronger and healthier livestock for farming through genetic sequencing. The company (BGI) is always discovering new ways to use genetic engineering for industrial use in creating new and healthier foods for human consumption.

How science and technology is evolving in China and the direction it is taking has many questioning whether we are ready for this sort of technology and now that cloning can be done should it be done?

When it comes to animal research and the foods we eat much oversight needs to be put in place. The critics are questioning whether the oversight is sufficient in China, especially, when it comes to animal safety and food consumption.

The Chinese, however, believe their growth in scientific knowledge may lead not only in healthier human beings but possibly the eradication of world hunger.

I like to tell my students at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School, in Suzhou, China, that knowledge is only as useful as its proper application and the wise know how to properly apply their knowledge for the greater good.

Let us hope that China’s advancements in science and technology can be used wisely for the greater good as well by enhancing the lives of those in need not only in China but globally.

But only time will tell ……

    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:

    Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


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