China's rise is a commonplace of our times. The last major state on earth ruled by a Communist party appears set to dominate the planet, surpassing an anaemic west and owning the 21st century. After the temporary economic downturn of 2008, its growth has soared once more to make it the planet's second biggest economy. Everything about it is huge, starting with its 1.3 billion people. Its Communist party is the planet's biggest political movement; it contains 55% of the world's pigs; its people smoke 38% of the cigarettes consumed on earth.
So it is very easy to be swept away by the apparent inevitability of China's dominance, especially for those who were let down by the Soviet Union's failure to get the better of the United States and now see a new champion in the east.