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China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland's Future by Bill Dodson

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Chapter 1

Innovation Nation

The interview with the reporters from Liaoning province had been an easy one, Fang Shimin considered; a simple case of fraud. He had exposed the self-anointed Taoist “Supreme Master” Li Yi as a fake. Li and his 30,000 adherents had claimed throughout 2010 that he could sit underwater for two hours while holding his breath in a lotus position and could withstand 220 volts shot throughout his body, as well as other impossible feats. Fang simply laid the facts out before the reporters: Li had practiced the underwater stunt in front of cameras in Chongqing ten years before while encased in glass, insulated from the water; and there was no objective evidence of Li ever surviving electrification.1

Fang stepped out of the hotel onto the wide Beijing sidewalk into a hot, mid-afternoon August day filled with the cacophony of traffic noise, blaring horns, pedestrians talking on their cell phones, and street vendors hawking fruit, vegetables, sunglasses, hair clips, and the like. Sometimes he missed the blandness and isolation of his life back in California, when he simply went to his biochemistry lab at the Salk Institute, put in long but fruitful hours, and then went home. When royalties from patents began to flow in, he decided to return to China to pursue work that would benefit his society, making it a better place for the country’s countless millions who had not been as fortunate as he. Applying the scientific method used in Western institutions and combining ...

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