- China leads US in research of 37 out of 44 key technologies followed by an Australian think tank.
- These critical and emerging technologies span a range of sectors, including defence, space and energy.
- The advance of Chinese research in these areas could have implications for democratic nations.
China has a ‘breathtaking lead’ ahead of the United States in high-impact research on critical and emerging technologies, according to a Canberra-based independent think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute, or ASPI.
The world’s second-largest economy leads the United States in researching 37 of 44 critical and emerging technologies in defence, space, energy and biotechnology – including research into aircraft engines advanced, drones and electric batteries – ASPI said in its Thursday Report. The US State Department partially funded the study.
ASPI found that for a few areas, the world’s top 10 research institutes are all in China, and they collectively generate nine times more high-impact research papers than the second-ranked country, namely United States in many cases. In particular, China has the edge in defense and space-related technologies, ASPI said.
“Western democracies are losing out in global technological competition, including the race for scientific and research breakthroughs,” says the report, led by the institute’s senior analyst, Jamie Gaida.
ASPI said China’s advance is the product of “deliberate design and long-term policy planning” by The administration of President Xi Jinping and those who preceded him.
The report’s authors warned that the dominance of Chinese research in strategic sectors could have negative implications for democratic nations.
In the immediate future, this advance could allow China to “take control of the global supply of certain critical technologies”. In the longer term, China’s leadership position could propel it to excel in almost any industry, including technologies that don’t yet exist, according to ASPI.
“Unchecked, it could shift not only technological development and control, but also global power and influence to an authoritarian state where the development, testing and application of emerging, critical and military technologies are not open. and transparent and where they cannot be scrutinized by independent civil society and media,” the think tank said.
ASPI urges governments around the world to collaborate and invest more in research to catch up with China. He also recommended measures such as visa controls for visitors to research facilities to limit “illegal technology transfers” to China and said governments should consider “tight limits” on the movement of researchers. experts in strategic sectors.
“Recruiting personnel to lead research programs, for example, on defense-related technologies in adversary states poses a clear threat to a country’s national security,” ASPI said. He added that serious national security risks must be identified before movement restrictions are implemented, as they must be weighed against a person’s right to freedom of movement.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.