A Realization of China
China is roughly 3,100 miles wide.
I was listening to NPR's "As It Happens," and Holocaust studies professor Yehuda Bauer, speaking at the Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide at McGill University, noted China's silence on the matter of genocide. They're enabling the genocide-committing government of Sudan because there's oil there.
Bauer went on about China's imperial ambitions, their slave-labor conditions, and their occupation of the Dalai Lama's land of Tibet.
Honestly, it sounded like he was talking about the United States circa 1879 or so. An upstart power, recently having recently "solved" the problems of its problem populations (Native Americans, black slaves), and looking to expand not so much in land as ideology and economic power.
Look at the map of China. It didn't just happen to become so large, to encompass so many disparate cultures, languages, and races.
Let me say it: this is the first time I realized that the 21st Century will be the Chinese Century. The country will overtake the United States as the world's hegemon.
It makes sense. The film Hero, which I love, is all about the sacrifices of the individual for the purpose of China-as-empire. According to Hero, there is no China that was not an empire which quelled dissent and increased its reach of ideological/military/economic power.
The current-day China is like an update on the upstart United States of the 1800s (today?): ruthless enough to enslave populations, occupy countries for purely economic reasons, and slowly and surely increase its land mass.
It's only Seward's Folly that makes the US a bit bigger than China.
A closer reanalysis of Hero would be worth the time, as would reviewing some of the literature documenting the United States' amazing growth period from 1900 to, perhaps, today. So goes up the Empire State building, so goes up Jinmao Plaza in Shanghai's Pudong New District (1,380 feet).
But our growth period is over, I believe. Our population doesn't clean the bathrooms anymore; immigrants do. When you have to bring in laborers, your hegemon has had it. See: Roman Empire, British Empire.
So: China is the new U.S.