Skip to main content Accessibility help

Planning for science and technology in China and India



Planning for science and technology was a global phenomenon in the mid-twentieth century. A few countries drew up comprehensive five-year plans adapting from the Soviet model: China and India were two new developing countries to do so. In this paper we examine the early efforts at national planning for science and technology as seen in the Chinese twelve-year science and technology plan (1956–1967) and the five-year (1974–1979) science and technology plan of India. These are two historically distinct moments globally and two separate attempts specifically. What tie them together are the goals both sought to accomplish: of science- and technology-led industrialization and development, many times in comparison and sometimes in competition with each other. We show that these two incomplete exercises show us the complex histories of institutions and processes that confirm state-led faith in and engagement with science and technology.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Planning for science and technology in China and India
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Planning for science and technology in China and India
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Planning for science and technology in China and India
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.


Hide All

1 Andrew Brown, J.D. Bernal: The Sage of Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 392–399, esp. 399.

2 ‘Science Policy Resolution 1958’, at, accessed February 2016.

3 ‘Xiang jishu geming jinjun’ (March on a technological revolution), Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 3 June 1958, p. 1.

4 For a recent discussion of the rise of India and China in the context of international science see, for example, Jon Agar, Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012, pp. 509–516.

5 See Robert S. Anderson's comprehensive mapping of the science establishment in India in Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks and Power in India, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010; see also the last chapters in Gyan Prakash, Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000; and David Arnold, Science, Technology and Medicine in India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. For planning and development see Benjamin Zachariah, Developing India: A Social and Intellectual History, 1930–1950, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005.

6 Jagdish Sinha, Science, War and Imperialism: India in the Second World War, Leiden: Brill, 2008, pp. 52–53; and Jahnavi Phalkey, Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth-Century India, Delhi: Permanent Black, 2013, pp. 61–64.

7 Phalkey, op. cit. (6), pp. 66–76.

8 The National Planning Committee comprised twenty-four subcommittees on Rural Marketing and Finance; River Training and Irrigation; Soil Conservation and Afforestation; Land Policy, Agricultural Labour and Insurance; Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Horticulture and Fisheries; Crops – Planning and Production; Rural and Cottage Industries; Power and Fuel; Chemical Industries; Mining and Metallurgical Industries; Manufacturing Industries; Industries Connected with Scientific Instruments and Engineering Industries; Labour, Population; Trade – Internal and Foreign; Public and Industrial Finance; Currency Exchange and Banking; Insurance – Individual and Social; Transport – Road, Rail, Air and Water; Communications – Post, Telegraphs, Telephones, and Radio; National Housing; Public Health; Education – General and Technical; and finally Women's Role in the Planned Economy.

9 Meghnad Saha to Jawaharlal Nehru, 7 October 1938, Saha Papers, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

10 Meghnad Saha to Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, 29 March 1940, Saha Papers, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

11 Between July 1940 and December 1943 the following twenty committees were constituted under the CSIR: Glass and Refractories Committee; Electrochemical Industries Committee; Industrial Fermentation and Biological Products Committee; Dye-Stuffs Committee; Fuel Research Committee; Vegetable Oils Committee; Cellulose Research Committee; Heavy Chemicals and Chemical Industries Committee (Including Fertilizers and Salts); Pharmaceuticals and Drugs Committee; Plastics Committee; Atmospheric Research Committee; Essential Oils Committee; Metals Committee; Internal Combustion Engines Research Committee; Distillation and Other Chemical Plants Committee; Applied Physics Committee; Radio Research Committee; Statistics, Standards and Quality Control Committee; Leather Research Committee; Building Research Committee.

12 ‘Proceedings of the National Institute of Sciences of India’ (1944), p. 10, The volume contains papers from the symposium of 27–28 September 1943 held in Calcutta. See V.V. Krishna, S.S. Bhatnagar on Science, Technology and Development, 1938–54, New Delhi: Wiley Eastern Ltd, 1993, pp. 13–15.

13 NISI further suggested that the National Research Council be organized under four boards – Board of Scientific Research, Board of Agricultural Research, Board of Medical and Public Health Research and Board of Engineering Research – all of which would organize research committees in turn to inform research in the national laboratories. On Visvesvaraya see Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, Reconstructing India, London: P.S. King & Son Ltd, 1920; Visvesvaraya, Planned Economy for India, Bangalore City: Bangalore Press, 1934; Visvesvaraya, Nation Building: A Five Year Plan for the Provinces, Bangalore City: Bangalore Press, 1937; Visvesvaraya, Reconstruction in Post-war India: A Plan of Development All Round, Bombay: The All-India Manufacturers' Organisation, 1944. His appreciation for ultra-nationalist reconstruction was not exceptional; many in India among the nationalist leadership viewed Japanese, Italian and German governments of the interwar period favourably.

14 Meghnad Saha, ‘Experience as a member of the Indian Scientific Mission – 1946’, in Collected Works of Meghnad Saha, vol. 4 (ed. Santimay Chatterjee), Delhi: Orient Longman, 1993, pp. 489–504, 496.

15 Saha, Meghnad, ‘Department of Scientific Research’ (1948), Science and Culture (1993) 14, p. 155. See also Editorial, Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research (1947) 6(12), p. 1.

16 A Scientific Consultative Committee was also established (December 1944) to advise the department and the government on matters of science policy. See Editorial, ‘A central organisation for scientific research’, Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research (1945) 3(9), pp. 382383.

17 Four laboratories were recommended: the National Physical Laboratory, the National Chemical Laboratory, the National Metallurgical Laboratory and the Central Glass and Ceramic Institute. In addition, a National Trust for Patents and a Bureau of Standards and Specifications were also established.

18 Editorial, ‘National Research Council’, Science and Culture (1947) 13, p. 123.

19 M.S. Thacker took over following Bhatnagar's death in 1956; he left for the Planning Commission in 1962 and was in turn was succeeded by Hussain Zaheer. This close nexus with the Planning Commission would continue until the mid-1970s.

20 Baldev Raj Nayar, India's Quest for Technological Independence, vol. 1: Policy Foundation and Policy Change, New Delhi: Lancers, 1983, p. 439.

21 It was not always the case that the CSIR fell under the Ministry of Education. Its location moved thus: under the Department of Scientific Research established in 1948; in 1951 this became the Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research; in 1957 the ministry was merged to form a Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, which within a year led to a Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs (1958). In five years this too was merged into the Ministry of Education, with a further dissolution of the Department of Scientific Research. This was the state of affairs in 1970.

22 As chair of the Atomic Energy Commission of India (AECI), and secretary (DAE), Bhabha was responsible for the following institutions: the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Rare Minerals Survey Unit and Indian Rare Earths Limited, and finally also for reactors built and purchased by the AECI. See Anderson, op. cit. (5), Chapters 11 and 14; Phalkey, op. cit. (6), Chapter 5.

23 On 8 February 1955, Foreign Minister Molotov of the USSR accepted Nehru's (and Zhou Enlai's) Panch Sheel – the five principles of non-alignment to be followed in Indian foreign policy. See Zachariah, op. cit. (5), pp. 214–252, esp. 216.

24 ‘The man between’, Time magazine, 14 February 1955 available at,9171,807012,00.html, accessed 6 April 2016.

25 For an analysis of Bhabha's speech see Itty Abraham, The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb: Science, Secrecy and the Postcolonial State, New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1998, pp. 98–106.

26 See Arunabh Ghosh, ‘Accepting difference, seeking common ground: Sino-Indian statistical exchanges 1951–1959’, in this volume.

27 Arunabh Ghosh, ‘Making it count: statistics and state–society relations in the early People's Republic of China, 1949–1959’, PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 2014, p. 314.

28 Industrial Policy Resolution, 30 April 1956, at, accessed March 2016.

29 Industrial Policy Resolution 30 April 1956, at, accessed March 2016.

30 Anderson, op. cit. (5), pp. 254–257.

31 The other members of this newly constituted committee were the physicist K.S. Krishnan, director of the National Physical Laboratory; the electrical engineer M.S. Thacker, who succeeded Bhatnagar as director of the CSIR; the physicist Daulat Singh Kothari, who chaired the Defence Research and Development Organisation; B.P. Pal of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research; and the physician C.G. Pandit of the Indian Council for Medical Research.

32 ‘Science Policy Resolution’, op. cit. (2).

33 ‘Science Policy Resolution’, op. cit. (2).

34 Anderson, op. cit. (5), p. 256.

35 The Indian delegation was invited to visit the Soviet Union at the Atoms for Peace meeting in Geneva. Khrushchev and Bulganin visited India in February 1960, and were given a tour of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Bhabha also led an Indian delegation to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1960. In February 1961, Bhabha announced that the Soviet Union had agreed to build a reactor for India. In a public statement, Bhabha mentioned inspections required by the IAEA for reactors coming in from the USA as an ‘infringement upon Indian sovereignty’. Since the Soviet Union was not a member of the IAEA and ‘hailed the opposition of India and other non-aligned Afro-Asian nations to IAEA controls over their nuclear development programs’, not going to the Americans, Bhabha claimed, appeared agreeable to both the Indians and the Soviet Union. An Indo-Soviet agreement was signed on 7 October 1961. The Hindu, 3 February 1961; The Statesman, 7 October 1961, quoted in Arthur Stein, India and the Soviet Union: The Nehru Era, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969, pp. 180–182.

36 Srinath Raghavan, ‘The fifty year crisis: India and China since 1962’ in ‘India 2012’, Seminar (January 2013) 641, at

37 Quoted in Anderson, op. cit. (5), p. 265.

38 Anderson, Robert S., ‘Patrick Blackett in India: military consultant and scientific intervenor, 1947–72, Part II’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (1999) 55, pp. 345359; Anderson, , ‘Patrick Blackett in India: military consultant and scientific intervenor, 1947–72, Part I’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (1999) 53, pp. 253273.

39 Anderson, op. cit. (5), p. 273.

40 Srinath Raghavan, ‘Indira Gandhi: India and the world in transition’, in Ramachandra Guha (ed.), Makers of Modern Asia, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2014, pp. 215–243.

41 For a comprehensive view on science policy and science institutions see Balwant Bhaneja, Science and Government, the Nehru Era: Accountability of Science Policy in India, New Delhi: National Publishing House, 1992; and Ward Morehouse, ‘Sarkar and Vigyan: problems and prospects of government and science in India’, unpublished manuscript, 1967.

42 Dhruv Raina and Ashok Jain, ‘Big Science and the university in India’, in John Krige and Dominique Pestre (eds.), Science in the Twentieth Century, Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1997, pp. 859–878; Bhabha, Homi J., ‘Science and the problems of development’, Science (1966) 51, pp. 541548.

43 Natarajan, R., ‘Science, technology and Mrs Gandhi’, Journal of Asian and African Studies (1987) 22, pp. 34, 98–115, 99–100. Natarajan finds that the Indian science and technology plan compares globally only to the design reform campaign by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (1964). See also Rangarajan, Mahesh, ‘Striving for a balance: nature, power, science and India's Indira Gandhi’, Conservation and Society (2009) 7, pp. 299312.

44 Indira Gandhi, Selected Speeches of Indira Gandhi: January 1966–August 1969, New Delhi: Publications Division, 1971, p. 5.

45 Indira Gandhi Abhinandan Samiti, The Spirit of India, vol. 1, Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1975, pp. 205–206.

46 R. Chandidas, Ward Morehouse, Leon Clark and Richard Fontera, India Votes, New York: Humanities Press, 1968, p. 7. Incidentally, the United States advised Taiwan, around the same time, to invest 1 per cent of GDP in research and development.

47 Sanghavi, Nagindas, ‘From Navnirman to the anti-Mandal riots: the political trajectory of Gujarat (1974–1985)’, South Asian History and Culture (2010) 1, pp. 480493; Pravin N. Sheth, Nav Nirman and Political Change in India: From Gujarat 1974 to New Delhi 1977, Bombay: Vora, 1977; David Hardiman, ‘Tribute to Kanu Bhavsar: activist, researcher, therapist’, Economic and Political Weekly (21 February 2015) 50(8), available at

48 Nayudamma, Yelavarthy, ‘Developing patterns of industrial R & D culture’, Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research (1973) 32, p. 271.

49 Aqueil Ahmad, ‘Science as a management problem’, Economic and Political Weekly, 3 August 1968, pp. 1214–1217.

50 Ahmad, op. cit. (49), p. 1214.

51 The inadequacy was highlighted in the third Science Round Table (1970) when Gandhi met with leading scientists and engineers (the previous meetings were held in 1958 and 1963). The Round Table recommended the creation of an additional National Council for Scientific Research as well as the establishment of a dedicated Ministry of Science and Technology. The Administrative Reforms Committee, in the very same year, made equally pointed and controversial suggestions for the reorganization of science administration.

52 Natarajan, op. cit. (43), p. 239. COST proceedings were not without controversy. Two notes of dissent on COST assessment of where R & D in India fell short of implementing goals stated in the Science Policy Resolution were submitted by Homi Sethna of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Kakkadan Nandanath Raj of the Economic Weekly; and another by Vikram Sarabhai, chair of the Atomic Energy Commission. Sethna and Raj recalled, ‘An earlier draft of the Report had referred to feudalism in this sphere: this to our mind, is the correct description of the values and methods of decision making in evidence in most of these institutions … We believe that unless this issue is directly faced and resolved, much progress cannot be made in the near future.’ Sarabhai was brutal: ‘Behaviourly [sic] our performance clearly indicates that the policy makers at the top, responsible for organisation and commitment of resources for development, do not have an appropriate understanding of the purpose and content of the Science Policy Resolution (1958) and the investments that are required in order to derive returns from the effort … The failure of the Planning Commission in not recognising the meaningful applications of science and technology as investments for national development and for not according appropriate priority for undertaking these tasks.’ See ‘Proceedings of the Third National Conference of Scientists, Technologists and Educationists’, New Delhi, 1971, pp. 261–279.

53 This was also the time when there was tremendous pressure from the United States for the Indians to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty; Indira Gandhi, The Years of Endeavour: Selected Speeches of Indira Gandhi, New Delhi: Publications Division, 1975, p. 422.

54 See Bhaneja, Balwant, ‘India's science and technology plan, 1974–79’, Social Studies of Science (1976) 6, pp. 99104.

55 The budget for research and development over five years was estimated at Rs 1725.61 crore and the plan was expected to generate employment for 120,000 scientists and technologists. A crore is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to ten million.

56 Twenty-seven dedicated panels with 233 working groups were assigned to each of the twenty-four sectors, which included agriculture, heavy engineering, natural resources, marine resources, chemical industries, consumer industries, village and Khadi industries, housing, health, transport, fuel, power etc. The number of working groups varied: heavy engineering had fourteen working groups and village and Khadi industries had only two.

57 In the period leading up to the science and technology plan, foreign exchange was scarce. Three committees reviewed the import of technology between 1966 and 1971, and as a result a Foreign Investment Board was set up (1973) to evaluate the appropriateness of foreign collaborations and imports. See Alam, Ghayur, ‘India's technology policy and its influence on technology imports and technology development’, Economic and Political Weekly (1985) 20(45–47), pp. 20732080.

58 Bhaneja, op. cit. (54), p. 101. For an overview see ‘Science in underdeveloped countries: world plan of action for the application of science and technology to development’, report of the Advisory Committee on the Application of Science and Technology to Development, 24 November–5 December 1969. The advisory committee were consultants to the UN and otherwise located at the Institute for Development Studies and Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex (a topic well deserving of its own history). The regional plans set goals for the following development sectors: science policy and planning (creation and expansion of infrastructure for research and development); natural resources; food and agriculture; industry, transport and telecommunications; housing and urban planning; health; education and population. There appears to be no significant resemblance between the two documents – the Indian document carries detailed project plans drawn up by various national laboratories.

59 Vladislav P. Kotchetkov, ‘Science and technology policy in the United Nations system: a historical overview’, in P. Lorenzano, H.-J. Rheinberger, E. Ortiz and C. Galles (eds.), History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, vol. 4, Oxford: EOLSS Publishers Co. Ltd, 2010, pp. 208–232.

60 Bhaneja, op. cit. (54), p. 101.

61 Bhaneja, op. cit. (54), p. 100.

62 Bhaneja, op. cit. (54), p. 103.

63 Nayar, op. cit. (20), p. 463.

64 Ashok Parthasarathi suggests that the NCST did manage to rein in the Department of Atomic Energy by asking for a revision of their ‘non-nuclear’ research projects and asking them to take an allocation cut. See Ashok Parthasarathi, Technology at the Core: Science and Technology with Indira Gandhi, New Delhi: Pearson Education, 2007, pp. 54–57.

65 V. Siddhartha, ‘Private science and public policy’, in K.D. Sharma and M.A. Qureishi (eds.), Science, Technology and Development: Essays in Honour of A. Rahman, New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1978, pp. 68–87, 73.

66 Bhaneja, op. cit. (54), p. 102.

67 Sherlock, Stephen, ‘Railway workers and their unions: origins of 1974 Indian railways strike’, Economic and Political Weekly (1989) 24(41), pp. 23112322; Dutt, V.P., ‘The emergency in India: background and rationale’, Asian Survey (1976) 16(12), pp. 11241138.

68 Jayaprakash Narayan, ‘Towards total revolution, Patna, 5 June 1974’, in Jayaprakash Narayan: Selected Works, ed. Bimal Prasad, vol. 10 (2009), New Delhi: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and Manohar Publications, pp. 286–294; and ‘Gist of J.P.’s speech in Hindi at a mass rally at Patna on 5 June 1974’, Everyman’s, 22 June 1974. See also Chandan Gowda, ‘The idea of “total revolution”’, Bangalore Mirror, 16 October 2015, available at, accessed April 2016.

69 For the Gandhian vision of development in the context of arguments for science-led industrialization see Zachariah, op. cit. (5), Chapter 4, ‘The debate on Gandhian Ideas’, pp. 156–210; Prakash, op. cit. (5), Chapter 7, ‘A different modernity’, pp. 201–226; and Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse, London: Zed Books, 1986, particularly Chapter 4, ‘The moment of manoeuvre: Gandhi and the critique of civil society’, pp. 85–130.

70 The emergency was a twenty-one-month period when Indira Gandhi held power of rule by decree. Parliament was suspended, as were civil liberties and freedom of the press, all on grounds that ‘national security was threatened by internal disturbance’. This came even as the emergency on grounds of external threat to national security during and following the war leading to the formation of Bangladesh (1971) was yet to be lifted. See, among others, Emma Tarlo, Unsettling Memories: Narratives of India's ‘Emergency’, London: Hurst, 2003; Masani, M.R., ‘India's second revolution’, Asian Affairs (1977) 5, pp. 1938; John, Mary E., ‘The Emergency in India: some reflections on the legibility of the political’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (2014) 15, pp. 625637; Williams, Rebecca, ‘Storming the citadels of poverty: family planning under the Emergency in India, 1975–1977’, Journal of Asian Studies (2014) 73, pp. 471491; Clibbens, Patrick, ‘“The destiny of this city is to be the spiritual workshop of the nation”: clearing cities and making citizens during the Indian Emergency, 1975–1977’, Contemporary South Asia (2014) 22, pp. 5166; Rajagopal, Arvind, ‘The Emergency as prehistory of the new Indian middle class’, Modern Asian Studies (2011) 45, pp. 10031049.

71 Rao, U.R., ‘An overview of the “Aryabhata” Project’, Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences Section C: Engineering Sciences (1978) 1(2), pp. 117133, available at On the Chinese and Indian space programmes, also see the Asif Siddiqi article in this volume.

72 Granville Austin, Working a Democratic Constitution: A History of the Indian Experience, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, Chapter 17.

73 Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, New York: Basic Books, 1973, p. 20.

74 For more details on science and politics surrounding the making of China's twelve-year science and technology plan see Wang, Zuoyue, ‘The Chinese developmental state during the Cold War: the making of the 1956 Twelve-Year Science and Technology Plan’, History and Technology (2015) 31(3), pp. 180205.

75 Wang, op. cit. (74).

76 Entry on 3 March 1950, in Pang Xianzhi and Feng Hui (eds. in chief), Mao Zedong nianpu (Chronicles of Mao Zedong), Beijing: Central Documentation Press, 2013, pp. 98–99.

77 Mao Zedong, ‘On the people's democratic dictatorship’, People's Daily, 1 July 1949.

78 Mao Zedong, ‘On correctly dealing with internal contradictions within the people’, based on a speech on 27 February 1957 and published in People's Daily, 19 June 1957, p. 1.

79 On scientists under Stalin see, for example, David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939–1956, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

80 Fan Hongye, ‘Zhu Kezhen riji tanmi: Yuanzidan de gushi ying cong 1952 nian jiangqi’ (Secrets from Zhu Kezhen's diaries: the story of the [Chinese] atomic bomb should start from 1952), Zhonghua dushubao (A Chinese Newspaper for Readers), 30 December 2004, available at, accessed April 2016.

81 Shi Zhe, Zai lishi juren shenbian (At the Sides of Historical Giants), Beijing: China Central Documentation Press, 1991, pp. 572–573.

82 Entry for 30 September 1954, in Pang Xianzhi and Feng Hui, Mao Zedong nianpu (Chronicle of Mao Zedong's Life), 6 vols., Beijing: Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Documentation Research Office, 2013, vol. 2, p. 289.

83 Entry for 19 October 1954, in Pang and Feng, op. cit. (82), vol. 2, p. 302.

84 Entry for 21 October 1954, in Li Ping and Ma Zhisun (eds.), Zhou Enlai nianpu 1949–1976 (A Chronicle of Zhou Enlai 1949–1976), 3 vols., Beijing: Central Documentation Press, 1997, vol. 1, pp. 421–422, 422.

85 See entries for 14 and 15 January 1955, in Ge Nengquan (ed.), Qian Sanqiang nianpu changbian (A Detailed Chronicle of Qian Sanqiang), Beijing: Science Press, 2013, pp. 249–252. See also Zuoyue Wang, ‘Physics in China in the context of the Cold War, 1949–1976’, in Helmuth Trischler and Mark Walker (eds.), Physics and Politics, Berlin: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2010, pp. 251–276; and John Lewis and Xue Litai, China Builds the Bomb, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991, pp. 38–39.

86 See Guo Jinhai, Yuanshi zhidu zai zhongguo de chuangli yu chongjian (The Establishment and Reconstruction of the Academician System in China), Shanghai: Shanghai Jiaotong University Press, 2014, pp. 295–334.

87 Wang, op. cit. (74).

88 Wang, op. cit. (74).

89 Wang, op. cit. (74).

90 Zhang Baichun, Yao Fang, Zhang Jiuchun and Jiang Long, Sulian jishu xiang zhongguo de zhuanyi 1949–1966 (Technology Transfer from the Soviet Union to China, 1949–1966), Jinan: Shandong Education Press, 2004, pp. 181–204.

91 Wang, op. cit. (74).

92 Mao Zedong, ‘Zai mosike gongchandang he gongrendang daibiao huiyi shang de jianghua’ (Speeches at the conferences of delegates of communist and labour parties in Moscow), 14, 16 and 18 November 1957, in Mao Zedong, Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao (Mao Zedong's Writings since the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 13 vols., Beijing: China Central Documentation Press, 1992, vol. 6, pp. 625–647, 635.

93 Mao, op. cit. (92), p. 635. Entry for 9 November 1957, in Pang and Feng, op. cit. (82), vol. 3, p. 241.

94 Pang Xianzhi, Jin Chongji and others, Mao Zedong zhuan 1949–1976 (A Biography of Mao Zedong, 1949–1976), 2 vols., Beijing: Central Documentation Press, 2003, vol. 1, pp. 761–804, 815, 824.

95 Pang, Jin and others, op. cit. (94), vol. 1, p. 824.

96 Wu Heng, Keji zhanxian wushinian (Fifty Years on the Scientific and Technological Front), Beijing: Science and Technology Documentation Press, 1992, pp. 205–207; ‘Zhonggong zhongyang dui guojia kewei dangzu “guanyu yijiu liuling nian kexue jishu fazhan jihua de baogao” de pishi’ (Chinese Communist Party central instructions on the ‘report on plans for scientific and technological development in 1960’ by the party group of the State Science Commission), in Jianguo yilai zhongyao wenxian xuanbian (Selected Important Documents since the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 20 vols., Beijing: Central Documentation Press, 1992–1998, vol. 13, pp. 17–18.

97 Lorenz Luthi, The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008; Shen Zhihua, Sulian zhuanjia zai zhongguo (1948–1960) (Soviet Specialists in China, 1948–1960), Beijing: Xinhua Press, 2009.

98 Pang, Jin and others, op. cit. (94), vol. 2, pp. 1023–1024.

99 The text of the ‘14 Points’, dated 20 June 1961, is reprinted in Jianguo yilia zhongyao wenxian, op. cit. (96), vol. 14, pp. 514–570.

100 Liao Xinwen, ‘1962 nian guangzhou huiyi de qianqian houhou’ (Around the 1962 Guangzhou conferences), Dang de wenxian (Documents of the Party) (2002) 2, pp. 13–21. Chen's speeches are reprinted in the same issue, pp. 3–12. Zhou's speech is reprinted in Zhou Enlai, Zhou Enlai xuanji (Selected Works of Zhou Enlai), 2 vols., Beijing: People's Press, 1984, vol. 2, pp. 353–369.

101 See, for example, Nie Rongzhen, ‘Guanyu guojia kewei jiguan gongzuo de jianghua’ (A talk on the work of the State Science Commission staff offices), 23 December 1963, in Nie, Nie Rongzhen keji wenxuan (Selected Papers on Science and Technology by Nie Rongzhen), Beijing: National Defence Industrial Press, 1999, pp. 486–507, 487.

102 Wu Heng and Yang Jun (eds.), Dangdai zhongguo de kexue jishu shiye (The Scientific and Technological Enterprise of Contemporary China), Beijing: Contemporary China Press, 1991, pp. 114–119.

103 Nie's report on the plan and the top leadership's approval are included in Jianguo yilai zhonyao wenxian, op. cit. (96), vol. 17, pp. 497–515.

104 Zedong, Mao, ‘Zai tingqu Nie Rongzhen huibao shinian kexuejishu guihua shi de jianghua’ (Statements while being briefed by Nie Rongzhen on the ten-year plan for science and technology), Dang de wenxian (1996) 1, pp. 3435.

105 Xie Guang and others (eds.), Dangdai zhongguo de guofang keji shiye (National Defence Science and Technology Enterprise of Contemporary China), 2 vols., Beijing: Contemporary China Press, 1992, vol. 1, pp. 46–51.

106 ‘Chen Boda tongzhi canguan beijing shi wuxiandian qijian yanjiusuo hou suozuo de zhishi’ (Directives from Comrade Chen Boda while touring Beijing Institute of Radio Electronics Instrumentation), 21 April 1965, in Kexue geming (Scientific Revolution: A Magazine Published by the Revolutionary Rebels Alliance of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), initial issue date 25 June 1967, p. 32. See pp. 23–36 for various speeches and letters of Chen on the issue in 1964–1966. Chen became the head of the powerful Central Cultural Revolution Group during the early years of the Cultural Revolution in 1966–1969 before losing Mao's favour in 1970. See Ye Yonglie, Chen Boda zhuan (A Biography of Chen Boda), Beijing: Writers’ Press, 1993.

107 Fan Hongye, Zhongguo kexueyuan biannianshi (A Chronological History of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), Shanghai: Shanghai Science and Technology Education Press, 1999, pp. 199–200.

108 Qian Linzhao and Gu Yu (chief eds.), Zhongguo kexueyuan (The Chinese Academy of Sciences), 3 vols., Beijing: Contemporary China Press, 1994, vol. 1, pp. 141–167.

109 On this debate see Lina, Wang, ‘Gaige kaifang chuqi zhongguo kexueyuan “banyuan fangzhen” zhizheng’ (The debate over the mission statement of the Chinese Academy of Sciences during the early years of the era of reform and opening up), Kexue wenhua pinglun (Science and Culture Review) (2010) 7(6), pp. 522.

110 ‘Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu kexue jishu tizhi gaige de jueding’ (Resolution by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on reforms of the scientific and technological system), in Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (ed.), Xin shiqi kexue, available at, accessed December 2015.

111 Ahmad, Aqueil, ‘Science and technology in development: policy options for India and China’, Economic and Political Weekly (1978) 13(51–52), pp. 20792089.

112 Arunabh Ghosh, ‘Before 1962: the case for 1950s Sino-Indian history’, unpublished manuscript.

113 George Perkovich, ‘The measure of India: what makes greatness?’, Seminar Magazine (September 2003) 529, at, accessed 27 July 2015.

114 Sharma, Dhirendra, ‘Growth and failures of Indian science policy’, Economic and Political Weekly (1976) 11(51), pp. 19691971.

115 Among others see Clarke, Sabine, ‘Pure science with a practical aim: the meanings of fundamental research in Britain, c.1916–1950’, Isis (2010) 101, pp. 285311. Benoit Godin, ‘The linear model of innovation: the historical construction of an analytical framework’, Project on the History and Sociology of S&T Statistics Working Paper 30, 2005.

116 Nathan Rosenberg, Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983, esp. Chapter 7, ‘How exogenous is science?’.

117 David Edgerton, ‘“The linear model” did not exist: reflections on the history and historiography of science and research in industry in the twentieth century’, in Karl Grandin, Nina Wormbs and Sven Widmalm (eds.), The Science–Industry Nexus: History, Policy, Implications, New York: Watson, 2005, pp. 31–57; David Hounshell, ‘Industrial research: a commentary’, in Grandin, Wormbs and Widmalm, op. cit., pp. 59–65.

118 Gandhi, op. cit. (53), p. 427.

119 ‘Science Policy Resolution’, op. cit. (2).

120 See Wang, op. cit. (85).

121 Ahmad, op. cit. (111), p. 2085.

We want to thank Jon Agar, Jennifer Altehenger, Sabine Clarke, Valeska Huber, Guo Jinhai, Cathryn Johnston, John Krige, Jon Wilson, Roland Wittje, Xiong Weimin and the two referees for their comments on this paper. We are grateful to our colleagues in the Intersections collaboration, especially Sigrid Schmalzer and Arunabh Ghosh, for their generous engagement with our project.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed