... while horrific traffic jams are a sign of its present and future
Canadian authorities were recently alarmed to find the Chinese interested in exploring the Arctic Ocean, in a bid to get a share of the minerals beneath the thawing icecap.
In eastern Siberia, Russians worry that China is by default taking over their empty land.
The West has long seen Africa as its backyard, but Western diplomats now worry that not just Africa, but South America, too, is being lost to China.
And Western governments are concerned that the rules of the game are changing. Most worryingly, as China's brutal suppression of the once independent Tibet shows, this is not a superpower that respects Western standards on human rights.
From Darfur to Myanmar, China is cuddling up to murderous dictators.
At home, it holds mass executions of criminals with bullets in the back of the head while transplant surgeons stand by to harvest their still pulsating organs.
Yet Western governments have been in such awe of China's looming power that their response has not been to challenge its abuses, but to try to silence their own protesters at home.
From the UN to the IMF to the World Bank, the international institutions that attempt to govern the planet were made in the image of the victors of World War II. Now power is shifting from West to East, the whole liberal democratic world order will face its first serious challenge in decades.
Many fear that things could get ugly.
There is only one thing worse than an unchallenged superpower - it is a superpower with a victim mentality, which feels the world owes it a favour.
And the bitter truth is that, after centuries of humiliation in foreign affairs, there is a nationalist mood in China that the country's time has come again, that it can again claim its rightful place as the world's most powerful country.
Its comparative weakness over the last few centuries is, in fact, but a blip in the last 2,000 years, during which China was the world's most economically and culturally advanced nation.
BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign debt reached 373.62 billion U.S. dollars at the end of 2007, up 15.68 percent over the previous year, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) announced on Wednesday.
China's medium and long-term borrowing totaled 153.53 billion U.S. dollars at the end of last year, an increase of 14.17 billion U.S. dollars, or 10.17 percent, according to the SAFE.
Meanwhile, the country's short-term borrowing increased 36.46 billion U.S. dollars to 220.08 billion U.S. dollars, up 19.85 percent.
Of the total external debt, 34.89 billion U.S. dollars was the sovereign debt; foreign invested enterprises accounted for 74 billion U.S. dollars; and the amount for foreign financial institutions in China was 46.31 billion U.S. dollars.
Preliminary statistics showed all of China's foreign debt indices were under the international standard safety line in 2007,the SAFE said.
Mere peanuts on a global financial scale.
Now the USA
|The Gross National Debt|