I wrote the following commentary upon my return visit from China in September 27, 2009. Confucius has taught China well. Especially with respect to grave-digging.
The Mystery of China
Having recently visited China one can only make the following observation, “China is making history, building a future and setting the pace for global economic reform, all within the same time and space”. It is a nation with a 5,000 year old history, a culture full of genius, tales and legends and a historical contributor to the saga of mankind. The “I Ching”, probably the oldest human manuscript, even predicts the cataclysmic date of December 21, 2012. Ignoring China would be akin to ignoring your left foot.
When Marco Polo travelled east and discovered this Dragon in the mid thirteenth century he could not have imagined the importance of China, then and now. It is a nation that has been fragmented, torn apart by war and conflict, exiled from the community of nations, suffered deep poverty, lost 20,000,000 civilian lives in a little known WW2 holocaust and was humiliated by Anglo-Saxon suppression.
Great Britain and America fight the good fight when it comes to drugs but one should really come to terms with the fact that the Anglos were really flying high on opium in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not only was opium legal in Great Britain but its trade disputes ultimately lead to a century and a half of Chinese suppression and the annexation of Hong Kong. The Opium Wars were the complete opposite of the war on drugs today – the government and trade barons made opium a lucrative commodity then and perhaps it is so today.
But how did this lost brother wake from the ashes? Was it simply good politics by its current communist vision, pressure from the so-called Democratic nations to invoke more socialist reforms, or simply a pawn in the nation-building of “Capitalist Economies”. I recall a speech by Roberto Benigni when he accepted the academy award for his classic movie ‘La Vita e Bella”. He remarked that the greatest gift his parents gave him was the gift of poverty. China was so well endowed with this gift that it became a willing pawn in the democratic capitalist game of corporate greed. But who won?
Black Monday and 911 are a reminder that our capital markets, and those who drive them, are filled with corruption, greed, murder and chaos. When financial wells run dry the leeches of Wall Street go water-witching for new ones. China was and is that new well. The critical question is whether or not China has sucked the leech dry and taken command of the well. This 5,000 year old culture may have been a novice at capitalism but it certainly learned well from Confucius – “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves”.
With a strong economy, immense human resources, a political system that harnesses every opportunity, a military that rivals the USA and Russia and a yearning for respectability, China has emerged not as a pawn of Wall Street but rather the opiate of Wall Street.