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China is making rapid progress in science and technology, but it still has a long way to go to be recognised as a leading scientific country.

In this article, Mu-ming Poo, director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, argues that cultural factors, such as deference to authority and existing paradigms, are a major barrier to scientific breakthroughs in China.

The most urgent task in building the country's research institutions is the creation of an intellectual atmosphere that is conducive to creative work, he says.

Link to full article in Nature

Reference: Nature 428, 204 (2004)