China has over the past five years achieved remarkable accomplishments, said several leading U.S. experts on China at a recent roundtable in Boston.[Special Coverage]
"The past five years under Chinese President Xi Jinping's leadership have indeed witnessed a kind of technological revolution, especially an IT revolution that has brought amazing changes to China," said Elizabeth Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute.
Technological advances have had a profound impact on the Chinese society, enabling people to hail a cab, book air and railway tickets, order takeout or even buy groceries with simply a cellphone, Perry said based on her first-hand observations during a trip to China this summer.
"I think there is little doubt that China's era of technological progress and prowess is indeed a historic turning point for China, a major consequence not only for China but also the world," the veteran China expert said.
Perry also acknowledged the promotion of renewable energy and the expansion of Chinese educational institutions as a major trend in the country, and that Chinese know-how is also gaining a foothold overseas.
"Here in Boston the red line and the orange line are about to introduce modern subway cars from Changchun," Perry said, referring to a northeastern Chinese city.
The military was another area raising during the discussion.
"Over the past couple of years we've seen an absolutely remarkable attempt to carry out military reform," said Joseph Fewsmith, an international relations professor at the Boston University.
Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, said that China is playing a greater role globally, and has set out clear objectives for its economy.
Saich also shared his idea on what China's "new age" would look like, sketching out features such as increasing its technological and education prestige.
"I think one of the things for us in higher education to be looking for is when in fact Cambridge, Massachusetts isn't the place people want to come for higher education, but Beijing is or Shanghai is," Perry said.
"So the extent to which China can convert its political and economic power into intellectual power, I think, is the real test of whether it is in this new age," she said.
But as China's role in the world grows larger, it needs to further adapt. That means locating the dynamic areas in society and making full use of their advantages, said Saich.