Original article by Arif Nizami in Pakistan Today can be found here.

The China that I saw last week is a far cry from the country that I had first visited with Prime Minister Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto in May 1976. At the time one of the few hotels in town was the Peking hotel where the Pakistani delegation accompanying the prime minister was put up.

Men and women, both were attired in Mao suits plying mostly on bicycles. There were only a few cars on the roads belonging mostly to communist party officials. The first premier of China, Zhou Enlai had died back in January the same year, while Mao Zedong the chairman and founder of modern China was gravely ill.

Bhutto was the last head of state or government who got an audience with Mao when he was suddenly whisked away from an opera performance in his honour to meet the Great Leader. A few months later Mao died and with that an era ended.

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Dalian, in China is blessed with reputable Maritime University affiliated with World Maritime University Malmo, Sweden. The product of Dalian University is compatible to world standard, so is the ship building industry which has grown to the extent that newly-built ships are competing with South Korea and Japan. The stringent quality standard of international classification societies are complied to deliver a product inferior to none.

It was also amazed to see the Shenzhen Port, a marshy land, transformed into container port handling 10 million TEU, with only 3.7 square kilometres of land. The port has 22-metre draft and handled largest container ship of China Shipping of 19100 TEUs. The technology is the most up-to-date as sitting in Yantin International Container Terminal (YICT) play with joy sticks to control the handling containers with no gantry’s operators. The in-house built software is used, instead of branded ones, promising efficiency. The maximum time of a trailer in port is restricted to 30 minutes, whilst train logistic is connected to port as well.

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There has been a steady stream of books about how Western primacy has been fading in a more pluralist and structurally transformed world. Many of these have intensified the ongoing foreign policy debate in the United States about ‘declinism’ – the relative diminution in America’s power and place in a changing global landscape.

Some works focused more on whether America’s hour of power had passed. Others surveyed a wider canvas to examine what the rise of the rest means for managing a more complex and uncertain world. Many writers have contributed to our understanding of how power shifts are reshaping the world. They include Kishore Mahbubani, Fareed Zakaria, Joseph Nye, Martin Jacques, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Richard Haas.

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