Doomed by decoupling. The West falls further behind. By: Godfree Roberts. Member of the China Writers’ Group.

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We are decoupling from China and, a fortiori, from its technology, and from the 130 countries in its currency, trade and defense alliances. Highlights from 2023 suggest that we are far behind – and the gap is widening.


In 2023, China’s economy grew by $1.6 trillion, more than the rest of the world’s combined – while the USA borrowed $3 trillion to fund $300 billionGDP growth. Real wages grew 4.7% and demographics will remain healthy through 2043. 21 million tourists flew during Golden Week and spent $3 billion in Xinjiang alone. Hangzhou hosted more athletes at the Asian Games than the Olympics and domestic brands Anta and Li-Ning outsold Nike and Adidas


Young Science became the world’s #3 journal and is rapidly overtaking incumbent leaders Nature and Science. With a $228 billion corporate R&D budget, 3 million Chinese scientists applied for almost as many patents as the rest of the world combined, and utterly dominated the top 1% of most influential papers. Huawei’s R&D budget alone is larger than the US CHIPS and Science Act.


Researchers there cured thalassemia, reversed autism and aging, provided Covid immunization with a dry powder aerosol, curednasopharyngeal cancerconstipationatherosclerosis and improved Alzheimer’s memory and functionality. They grew human kidneys in pig embryos and oversaw the first live birth of chimeric monkeys

Hard Tech

Scientists created the first graphene semiconductor, while Betavolt began shipping an atomic energy battery that powers consumer devices for 99 years. 

Huawei mastered 7nm chip production (Intel still has not), replaced WiFi with 6x faster NearLink, took Apple’s #1 spot in the world’s largest market with a phone using 90% domestic components. Chinese chip foundries bought 62% of machinery equipment domestically this year, vs. 47% last year, and produced the first integrated neuro-memristor and the first 232 layer flash memory. Researchers set a record for high-rate quantum key distribution, showed off the first ambient superionic hydride ion conductor, the first primate brain-computer interface and an integrated neuro-memristor chip that will make  circuit boards obsolete. 

Macro inventions included the first waterless nuclear reactor, the most powerful solid-fuel rocket, the first liquid oxygen/methane rocket (it lifted 6 tonnes into sun-synchronous orbit), the world’s only Mach 30 wind tunnel, lasers generating high-energy beams indefinitely, and the first high-orbit Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite for 24×7 weather observation

The country installed 80 million kW of PV and PV generated 300 billion kWh nationwide, 30% above 2022. CATL’s EV batteries get 400 km on 15 min. charge and 700 km. on a regular charge at all temperatures. In addition to installing 290,000 industrial robots – more than the rest of the world combined – it put AESA radars on $8,000 farm drones (only four countries can make them – for fighter jets). Its 800 million 5G subscribers are served by 3.2 million base stations and integrated 5G industry applications into 67 economic categories with 100,000 application cases. Tibet’s 5G service surpassed California’s.


In the wilderness that covers 42% of China’s landmass, conservationists counted 70,000 Tibetan antelopes, 3,400 Przewalski’s gazelles, 5,000 golden snub-nosed monkeys and 1200 Snow Leopards.

Wind powered 15% of China’s energy and PV generated 300 billion kWh, up 30% on 2022, and factories produce 30,000 tons of green hydrogen annually. Gasoline demand peaked in 2023, and diesel will peak this year.


mBridge, the Hong Kong-based digital currency platform that allows countries to trade in their own currencies, completed its millionth international transaction. 152 countries signed BRICS agreements and boosted mutual trade by 19% and lifted 40 million people out of poverty. The BRI News Network began broadcasting to 107 countries


A hypersonic missile flew around the planet, launching and retrieving a mystery vehicle. The world’s most powerful radar chip makes planes and ships visible off Australia coast and the first terahertz submarine detectortracks submarines’ bubbles

Sans parole

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