The Security Environment and China’s Strategy for Technological Advancement: Between Technological Dependence and Technological Autonomy
38 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 4, 2020
China’s strategy for technological advancement since 1949 can be divided into four distinct phases, alternating between technological dependence and technological autonomy. Why does China pursue technological autonomy in some periods but adopt technological dependence in others? This paper argues that when the security environment intensifies, the strategy of technological autonomy prevails. In contrast, when China’ security environment relaxes, it is inclined to adopt technological dependence as the alternative strategy. Although the anarchic nature of the international system compels the state to pursue technological autonomy, the relaxed security environment makes the strategy of technological dependence possible. By examining the four phases, from the “lean to one side” of the 1950s, and “fighting with both fists” in the 1960s, to the “open door” and the post-Cold War era, this paper seeks to demonstrate how the security environment has reshaped China’s technological strategy, including the First Five Year Plan, the Third Front construction, the technology transfer in the 1980s and the launching of “indigenous innovation”. To this end, it is necessary to investigate the security environment.
Keywords: Security Environment; Technological Strategy; Technological Dependence; Technological Autonomy; China-U.S. Relations; China-Soviet Relations
JEL Classification: O21, O31, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation