Tuesday, 15 September 2009


There's a couple of sound bites that I always use when people ask me about China because I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Beijing and previously in Shanghai. I got to really think about those difficult questions that aren't easy to answer, or rather, I had many attempts to answer them and get a little better each time. One of them, and it still applies from the bottom of my heart because Beijing taught me that the people there are among the finest that one could wish for as future Leviathan capital city of the planet managing the largest population in one fell swoop is that 

"China is both a few years old, and a few thousand years old at the same time"

I say this because it's one of the most exciting countries on the planet and viscerally feels like a young country. Yet at every conceivable juncture the history of thousands of years in is evident in the customs, the pride, the food, the language and on and on it goes. It permeates the air, the posture of the people and is dense with a high viscosity should you ever get into the sensitive topic of culture in China.

The other quote that I use is more to tame the excesses of a young country (that I love) when considering the responsibilities it will need to face much quicker than any empire philosophical or otherwise to date.

"No country will grow faster, larger and older than China in the history of the world"

Now this might be a slight stretch as I think Italy is doing remarkable demographic time-bomb things as far as an aging population goes but in principle; in terms of size China is the fastest story ever. This incredible graphic below from the ever remarkable All Roads Lead To China Blog is as good as it gets for telling the story visually.

china demographics