The scope and scale of the Chinese march is enormous. As the ever cerebral David Aaronovitch pointed out in The Australian recently, China is even making sure the march continues by buying up the world’s oil and gas reserves, spending almost $40 billion on energy assets last year.
In fact, in terms of both population and economic growth, what is happening in China is like trying to count the stars in the night sky. Seeking to understand what it all means has led to some fascinating theories.
A few years ago, Martin Jacques left his readers in no doubt: the title of his absorbing and provocative book was simply When China Rules The World. The West, he argued, is about to be challenged – economically and also morally, politically and ethically – by a non-Western superpower for the very first time. China has long regarded itself as being at the centre of the world and the West should be prepared as the Chinese seek tribute from others as acknowledgement of their inherent superiority.