Not for the first nor the last time, I regret the long-ago death of Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who is one of China’s acclaimed heroes.

He devoted 60 years to setting up schools and thousands of industrial co-operatives there. He wrote of them “fitting into the vast landscape of rural China”. His slogan was: “Yo Banfa!” – “There is a way.” He retained independent views in a country where such attitudes were suspect – and still are. His mana was unquestioned.

In particular, I remember a long conversation with him in Beijing in 1983, when he talked gloomily of his deep misgivings about China’s dogmatic one-child family policy. He feared for the effects on the domestic and family life of the nation he loved, a doubt amounting to communist heresy.

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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.

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Updated and expanded new Chinese edition just released.

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Turkish edition just published!

When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China’s ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

New edition available now from:

Amazon UK
and all good booksellers.

US second edition is available now via: 

Amazon US