The planning exercise itself is a great vision that looks forward to the mid-century and to China’s unequalled position as the largest world economy and as a civilisation whose culture and military have regained its place in the world as the leading power. The problem is that the Chinese Dream, like the American Dream, has narrative threads that can point in opposite directions. The Chinese Dream has huge narrative and cultural resources to draw on, including the discourse of Chinese cosmopolitanism that has experienced an explosion of publications recently that emphasises past empires as well as future orientations. Xi Jinping Thought has provided a long-term two-stage development plan: the first stage from 2020 to 2035 devoted to the realisation of socialist modernisation, including the achievement of the Belt and Road Initiative; and the second stage from 2035 to 2050 ‘to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful’.