A newly unhindered China invest billions for a scientific edge
Last year, Zhao Bowen was part of a team that cracked the genetic code of the cucumber. These days, he's probing the genetic basis for human IQ. Zhao is 17.
Centuries after it led the world in technological prowess -- think gunpowder, irrigation and the printed word -- China has barged back into the ranks of the great powers in science. With the brashness of a teenager, in some cases literally, China's scientists and inventors are driving a resurgence in potentially world-changing research.
Unburdened by social and legal constraints common in the West, China's trailblazing scientists are also pushing the limits of ethics and principle as they create a new -- and to many, worrisome -- Wild West in the Far East.
A decade ago, no one considered China a scientific competitor. Its best and brightest agreed and fled China in a massive brain drain to university research labs at Harvard, Stanford and MIT.
But over the past five years, Western-educated scientists and gutsy entrepreneurs have conducted a rearguard action, battling China's hidebound bureaucracy to establish research institutes and companies. Those have lured home scores of Western-trained Chinese researchers dedicated to transforming the People's Republic of China into a scientific superpower.
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