INDEPENDENT INNOVATIon -- For the cynical "INTEREST GROUP" theorists, the above key words currently in favor in China, like the earlier "market economy with Chinese characteristics", are all ephemism, pretty words to cover up the real intention: to justify any decisions that depart from following the footsteps of the West, strict efficiency considerations, international professional standard procedures, dictations of the market mechanism and optimal economic options, so as to let certain local or national powerful interest groups, albeit not the best players with the best proposals, to benefit or prevail. Could the latest decision to reward the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail project, estimated to worth RMB150 billion, to a local consortium (who is supposed to develop the technology and management based on the independent innovative principle (meaning a China self-developed or at least proprietory technology) instead of the 3 earlier bidders from France, Germany and Japan a typical example of the power of the powerful local interest groups?There are more and more noise against opening up banking and financial sectors. Is it really about national interest, or just tactics of powerful local interest groups? Maybe a bit of both. Similarly, retaining media ownership control in the hands of state-owned groups and not allowing private sector entry are for reasons of national security and ideological control, or just because the state-owned big players like CCTV want to continue their hugely profitable monopoly position? For the less cynical set, hopes are still pinned on an autonomous state, especially the central government. If the state is neutral, then it is a matter of rationally debating policies and ideologies and finding the best solutions while resisting the corrupting influence of the powerful interest groups. Among intellectuals and scholars, the pro-reform groups are facing ever more vocal criticism from the anti-reform (read anti-capitalism, anti-West) groups. The latter of course welcomes the "independent innovation" slogan, taken the words at face value. This idea is underpinned by the ideology of CHINA EXCEPTIONALISM among certain Chinese NEW LEFT(read nationalistic and Maoist). There are advocates from both the liberal reformist camp and the new left camp that demand the state to provide more PUBLIC GOODS, as in the case of transfer payments to the countryside and underdeveloped areas. Lofty ideas, such as CYCLING ECONOMY (industialization and growth without waste and pollution), have been in open circulation on government statements. On the more official side, if you believe in the state as the do-gooder, it is always comforting to hear time and again what sensible things Zheng Bijian, former deputy head of Central Party School, had to say. Zheng said in a April forum in Beijing and was quoted by Xinhua: "We must transcend from the old model of industrialisation and advance to a new one; transcend from the traditional ways that great powers have emerged from, as well as the cold war mentality that defined international relations along ideological lines; and transcend from outdated modes of social control and build a harmonious socialist society." These "THREE TRANSCENDS" are admirable, daunting and without precedents, and that means China has to be really, really independent innovative, in the best sense of the word.