By Qin Sun Stubis
Once upon a time in the land of China, there lived a mighty creature called a dragon, whose breath was made of burning fire. He could soar in the air and dive into the sea, and was capable of making rain and churning up fierce winds. And, he was versatile, for he could appear as big as the sky or as small as a centipede if he so wished.
It was said that all emperors, from dynasty to dynasty, ruled with power derived from him. The Chinese people leaned on him for luck and protection. The Middle Kingdom soon became known as the Land of the Dragon, and its people, the dragon’s descendants.
In 1949, the dragon summoned his power of invisibility and retreated when China was conquered by Socialism, for myth and politics didn’t mingle. For a quarter of a century, an iron curtain barred the world from looking inside the heart and soul of this nation. What She endured, few knew. When She finally re-emerged in the late 1970s, everyone watched in awe, and with excitement, eager to get reacquainted with this mysterious, reclusive country, like some long-lost relative.
The more they got to know Her, however, the more they were shocked by the extent of her wounds and the trauma inflicted through years of turbulence and political storms. China, which once led the world with her wisdom and inventions, a soaring dragon of the Orient, was now teetering, taking baby steps while carrying over a billion hungry people on her back. But, She was trying hard.
As a nation, She will remain part of the developing “third world” for the foreseeable future. As for her reawakening dragon, only time will give him his mighty strength back. While China now owns fast bullet trains and tall skyscrapers, She also has millions of farmers tilling the land by hand alongside their water buffaloes, and workers in sweatshops with little pay or freedom.
Then came August. When China devalued its currency by a few pennies, the Dow was rocked by a historical freefall of over 1000 points within minutes of the opening bell, ending the day with a 588-point decline. Stock markets around the world plunged in unison, shaking Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and India.
Everyone soon pointed at China as the culprit behind this global economic meltdown, citing concerns about her financial future and questioning the motives behind her devaluation. Intentionally or not, our financial world was swiped hard, as if by a giant dragon’s tail!
As China reemerges, it is only a matter of time before her Dragon spirit makes a bigger splash and shakes the world again. The land that invented clocks, gunpowder, paper, and the compass, is once again feeling the ancient touch of a fiery breath, and with a mighty rush of wings, recreating itself as it rises and returns to claim a prominent place among the nations of the world.
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(originally published in The Santa Monica Star)