Napoleon was right. Okay, so he was tragically wrong deciding to go on his long march to Moscow. But over China he was spot on.
The actual words and the timing of his quote vary but they all match. Example: Historians say that in 1803 he once pointed on a map to China, then a distant and little-known place, and said: “Here lies a sleeping giant. Let him sleep, for when he wakes he will shock the world.”
No question Napoleon was basing his concerns on the reports of Jesuit missionaries who had then been in China for two centuries, some of them with the ear of the emperor as confidantes in the Forbidden City.