Once upon a time there was a great Chinese leader who decided to carry on his shoulders the titanic task of turning his country into a world power. In order to do this, he asked his fellow citizens full confidence in their decisions, which involved sacrifices such as the acceptance of greater control over the Internet, their travels, their purchases, their businesses and, in general, their own lives. The thing is that he, and only he, knew what was good for them.
His subjects, some more convinced than others, obeyed, since for them it was more important to improve their living conditions rather than to enjoy unfamiliar freedoms and that, according to some, could plunge into chaos a country accustomed to the tutelage of its rulers.
Then, the great leader spoke with the small leaders of the neighbouring countries to explain to them how they should manage some issues that in the past had confronted their peoples. He “convinced” them that it was best for China to take charge of controlling the adjacent seas and the chains of nearby islands, since all that had always belonged to their country. In addition, he promised roads, bridges and power plants to develop their countries and thus be able to buy Chinese products. Finally, he showed them that this distant friend, United States, who had once promised them protection, was no longer trustworthy, and that he would not come to their aid if, for any reason incomprehensible to human reason, they challenged the authority of the emperor.
To “help” the most remote barbarian peoples of the empire, China launched the initiative of the “new silk route” with which it aimed to connect Europe and Asia commercially. He lent a lot of money to these countries in exchange for it to be used to hire the emperor’s companies to build highways, bridges, railroads, power plants and industrial centres. But most of them could not cope with their loans and the empire had to assume its political and economic tutelage to promote development in the continent.
The Europeans, who were much further away from civilization, in the recent past had had the fortune to discover very powerful war magics that allowed them to humiliate the Middle Kingdom for 100 years. The new emperor knew that he still needed to take that magic to be the only recognized interlocutor under heaven. That is why he drew up a plan to attract European sorcerers to China. First he offered them the possibility of using the abundant inexpensive labor of the empire to make their spells cheaper. Later, when the Chinese subjects had money to buy them, the emperor offered the foreign magicians access to their domestic market in exchange for the secret formula of some of them. But the Europeans still kept for them the most avant-garde and powerful magic.
For decades, the astute emperor waited crouched under eternal promises of market liberalization and advances regarding human rights, giving the impression that his empire would develop according to the Western model. Until one day, the fragile systems of democratic government of these barbarian peoples began to crack with independence, unplanned corruption and the vindication of utopian freedoms poisoned by the ignorance that flourishes in wealthy societies. Then, the emperor, taking advantage of the successive economic crises that devastated the old continent, managed to get that cutting-edge magic that until that moment marked the difference between them.
Over time, China was accumulating political influence thanks to its economic capacity and managed to improve the best of the European magics and multiplied its war potential. This was built over several decades and became its best guarantee against the breach of the old promises, that already only would respect for those countries that demonstrated their condition of good vassals.
Up to here the history of how China recovered in the 21st century its rightful place as the center of the world. And just as at the time it seemed impossible for the US lose its global hegemony, now it is unthinkable that the Asian empire collapses.
However, in all empires, as well as companies, the worst enemies are inside. And who knows if the new generations, who will no longer need to improve their living conditions, will begin to demand freedoms and rights that, taken to the extreme, will revive the phantoms of independence, unplanned corruption and disaffection towards the political classes that, in another time, caused the fall of the old Europe. Of course, in this case, everything will be with “Chinese characteristics”.