Chapter 1

China the Dragon

Over the centuries, numerous statesmen and world leaders in their dealings with China have warned that China would be a major power at some point in the future and to be reckoned with. High expectations bordering on fear of the rise of China go back hundreds of years. When Marco Polo traveled through China at the end of the 13th century, he marveled about the new world he had encountered and of the fortunes that could be made there. Some hundreds of years later, Napoleon made similar reference to the sleeping dragon, which would arise one day from its sleep: Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will astonish the world.

As one observer reflecting on the sleeping dragon noted:

Nearly two centuries later, this dragon ...

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