chapter  1
41 Pages

Rising China and its integration with the changing world economy: Wei Xia and Liming Wang

The words attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, as he cast his eye over a map of the world in 1803, provide some insight into European perceptions of China at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, a time when the balance of the global economy was about to undergo a dramatic shift westwards. Pointing to China, the ambitious young leader of a rising France is said to have declared: “There is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep. When he awakes, the world will shake.” While the metaphor of a slumbering China can be overstated and is hardly an accurate reflection of centuries of highly eventful political, social and economic history, it carries some currency in the way it captures the sense, in China’s past, of relative detachment from the changing world outside.