For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?
Whither China post #8 – Question 6 – But how about innovation. Can you have that without democracy?
Willy Lam and others maintain that internet restrictions and other CCP constraints are anathema to building an innovative economy. China is impressive on technical hardware, as noted by Timothy Beardson in Stumbling Giant: The Threat to China's Future, but it lacks non-hierarchical scientific culture, a fertile institutional framework, and critical thinking for innovation. My own view is that Beardson and even Willy Lam are coming at this question from a perspective too old to take account of China now, in the second and third decade of the century. Can China innovate now? One need not think about this for a moment to answer.