Part 1 -- The History of China
Before we discuss individual technological developments, you should read the following three essays that will give you a historic context for these developments.
Concise Political History of China, an online article by Paul Halsall compiled from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on America Online, http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/chinhist.html
Chinese Periodization in Light of Economic Developments by Paul Halsall, http://www.mastep.sjsu.edu/history_of_tech/chinese_chronology.htm
China, Technology and Change, an article by Lynda Shaffer, from the World History Bulletin, Fall/Winter, 1986/87, http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/shaffer.html
China's Gifts to the West by Professor Derk Bodde, for the Committee on Asiatic Studies in American Education
Reprinted with permission in China: A Teaching Workbook, Asia for Educators, Columbia University, http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/song/readings/inventions_gifts.htm
Part 2 - Science and Technology in China
Science in China has a long history and developed quite independently of Western science. Needham (1993) has researched widely on the development of science and technologies in China, the effect of culture, and the transference of these principles, unacknowledged, to the West. The Chinese contribution to Western science is particularly interesting because it serves as a center of controversy about the roots of Western science.
According to traditional Western scientists, the roots of science and the scientific method is in Greece and Greek thought. There is a tendency among scientists to claim that not only modern science, but science in general, was characteristic of European thought. The accompanying argument in that all scientific contributions from non-European civilizations were technology-based, not science-based...