People of many nations, languages, and ethnicities visit this blog for information and ideas about advanced nanotechnology... but perhaps not in China.
That's because China's government encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to ban access to material deemed subversive, according to this article.
Simply using terms like "human rights" and "democracy" may be enough to prevent millions of people from reading our blog. China's estimated online population is 87 million, second only to the United States.
What does this kind of oppression mean for the future of nanotechnology, and especially for responsible global management of molecular manufacturing? As we have shown before, cooperation among many nations could be essential. Without it, the world may be unable to avoid economic disruption, social chaos, an unstable arms race, or worse. Unless these and other dangers are effectively prevented, great benefits for humankind also may be lost.
Will the Chinese government be willing to work with others to achieve safe use of nanotechnology? If so, it could require a new attitude on their part toward democracy and human rights. We hope that will be possible, because all our fates may be at stake.