Collaboration or Confrontation: Cooperation or Conflict

Jerry Grey
4 min readSep 26, 2022


Different approaches to the future of technology

It’s a little known but true fact that the USA is so afraid of China’s tech that they’ve banned NASA from working with China — actually, that’s wrong, in 2011, Congress passed a law, called the Wolf Amendment, banning China from working with NASA!

What this means is that when China went to the moon, it was ok for NASA to ask China to share the tech with them but it wasn’t ok for China to be part of the International Space Station. Time Magazine, in the days before it was anti-China (May 2015) wrote an interesting article about the silliness of it all.

Indeed, as the article pointed out, China “may” be a threat, but what kind of threat? According to the University of California, Institute on Global conflict and cooperation’s (UCIGCC) website it’s that: “China’s efforts to use its space program to transform itself into a military, economic and technological power may come at the expense of US leadership and has serious implications for US interests”.

If we could utilise technology to travel back in time to 2013, we’d find there was a very different perspective on China. In a brilliant report from CNN explaining the peaceful intent and willingness to cooperate from inside China’s space exploration team, nothing at all related to any threat to US interests. This point of view carried all the way through to the most senior levels of government with even the Ministry of Defence stating: “The Chinese government has always advocated the peaceful use of outer space, it opposes space weaponization and an arms race in outer space. This position will not be changed”. So, to any observer who cares to look carefully, they’ll see China’s words, China actions and China’s history all point to the same thing: China isn’t a threat, it’s cooperating and sharing where it can.

It seems however, that the worst possible nightmare of the UCGICC has actually come true, China has already transformed itself into a military, economic and technological power. The US may feel this is at their expense but in fact, it’s all been caused by their own paranoia. Why, for example did China design, manufacture and launch its own space station? China are now leading the US in a range of fields such as inventions, patents, innovations and technology leaps as well as growing its economy faster than the USA. Furthermore, China’s military is growing faster than the USA and has overtaken the US in the number of ships, missiles, air defences and is years ahead in hypersonic technology. It’s hard to believe that any of this would have been achieved independently if America hadn’t ostracised China from their own technology advances, had they been willing to cooperate, the US would be sharing this technology instead of apparently trying stealing it.

Yet here’s the interesting thing: China still speaks of cooperation; it still prefers trade to hostilities. Friendship not enmity. It’s very well worth reading the speech made just last week by President Xi to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the speech included 5 points:

Political Trust; Win-win cooperation; Equality between nations; Openness and inclusiveness; equity and justice.

Compare this to the threatening, fear inducing and even some racist anti-Chinese speeches coming from American leaders such as Ted Cruz. Tom Cotton and presidential wannabe, Mike Pompeo who gave a speech that even the normally right leaning Brookings Institute declared to be surreal. Even Biden’s most recent speech in Philadelphia had nothing positive to say except, if the government can destroy MAGA Republicans, things will get better. Based on their words and without a doubt their aggressive actions, confrontation is very much the way of the future for America while China has never issued a threat, except to criminals and terrorists or people wishing to destroy the harmony that China creates by separatist actions.

The cooperation China speaks of is further exemplified by an upcoming meeting called the Greater Bay Science Forum which will take place in Guangdong later this year. As the 2021 Forum concluded with a theme of: “Exploring the Future, Sharing Scientific Achievement”, President Xi addressed a letter to the Forum expressing his desire for strengthening reasearch and deepening collaboration on key scientific projects for the benefit of mankind.

This is hardly the kind of theme or approach from the top level of government which can be considered in any way threatening unless of course you mean it threatens your supremacy and causes you insecurities because you have a different view of how science and technology should be used.

The Theme for the 2022 Science Forum hasn’t been announced as yet, but I’m willing to bet it will be related to positive advances and cooperation. Let’s see what it will be and look forward to learning how the world cooperates in this, one of the most important arenas for the future development of a peaceful and cooperative world.



Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences