Category Archives: People

Chinese students, come to ECSEL for free!中国学生免费美国社会性企业大会

In April 2010, the ECSEL 2010 Program will bring Chinese students to the United States for a weeklong program designed to assist aspiring social entrepreneurs on their path to building businesses that create positive change.
About the Clinton Global Initiative University

Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, President Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.

Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting for students, national youth organizations, and university officials to discuss solutions to pressing global issues. The third annual CGI U Meeting will be held at the University of Miami from April 16-18, 2010. At this meeting, nearly 1,500 attendees will come together to make a difference in CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

CGI U is more than just an event. It is a growing community of young leaders who don’t just discuss the world’s challenges — they take real, concrete steps toward solving them. Throughout the year, and as a prerequisite of attending the CGI U meeting, students, youth directors, and university officials develop their own Commitments to Action: a specific plan of action that addresses a pressing challenge on their campus, in their community, or in a different part of the world.Commitments range from installing energy-efficient light bulbs to establishing campus bike share programs, from distributing life-saving water filtration kits to designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa. Since the inaugural meeting, nearly 2,000 commitments have been made.

To learn more about CGI U, visit

What is Social Enterpise?

The field of Social Enterpise is about understanding how social and environmental problems can be solved through a business approach. In other words, it is about creating businesses whose product, service or business model has a powerful positive effect on our world.

There are a lot of different ways to solve a problem. Sometimes, it is best to form a charity organization. Other times, it is best to gather the power of the community. In others, the best solution is for the government to intervene.

However, sometimes the most effective solution to a problem is to create a business. Take the example of TOM’s Shoes. This is from the TOM’s Shoes website:

“In 2006 an American traveler, Blake Mycoskie, befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by caring TOMS customers.

Since our beginning, TOMS has given over 150,000* pairs of shoes to children in need through the One for One model. Because of your support, TOMS plans to give over 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world in 2009.”

TOM’s could have started as a simple charity, getting money from donors and using that money to buy shoes. But, by using a business model instead of a charity, TOM’s was able to give away many more shoes, and the model is self-sustaining.

The best way to understand social enterprise is to learn about examples of specific businesses. Visit the “Examples” link to the left to hear about other exemplary social enterprises.

010年4月,ECSEL 2010将支持中国学生前往美国参与一个为期一周的项目,其初衷是协助有理想的社会创业者们实现能创造社会改变的商业创意。这个项目分为两部分:



Go to this website and find more

Ten Tips for TEDx Speakers: THE TED COMMANDMENTS

What a pity, I have to give up the chance to see TEDxBeijing for my personal reason! I once imagined I would have a fabulous meeting with so many great people. Oh…

Best wishes to TEDxBeijing.

I read these tips and quite useful, not only for TED, you can try these in public speech.

These 10 tips are the heart of a great TEDTalk.

  1. Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. Reveal something never seen before. Do something the audience will remember forever. Share an idea that could change the world.
  2. Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams … and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.
  3. Make the complex plain. Don’t try to dazzle intellectually. Don’t speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.
  4. Connect with people’s emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!
  5. Don’t flaunt your ego. Don’t boast. It’s the surest way to switch everyone off.
  6. No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don’t even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage.
  7. Feel free to comment on other speakers, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful!
  8. If possible, don’t read your talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read!
  9. You must end your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We won’t allow it.
  10. Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.

I see another interesting public speech rules in this ancient way

  1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick
  2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before
  3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion
  4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story
  5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Skae of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy
  6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desparate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
  8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
  10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee

TEDxBeijing Speakers

Some friends ask me about the TED and speakers,  I think it would be much better if you visit TED and discover the valve by yourself.  By the way, you will find some good group in Yeeyan and Google Group, just do it yourself, find funs.


I search these TEDxBJ speakers, and share some:  演讲人的基本资料

Ben Tsiang Former co-founder of Sina, now CEO and Founder of CNEX, a 3-year-old social enterprise with the mission of making 100 documentary films in 10 years about contemporary Chinese society. The films he produced in the past 2 years have been widely nominated in 35 international film festivals, and the current work 1428;, a documentary film about the Sichuan Earthquake in China, just won the Venice Film Festival’s Orizzonti, The Best Documentary Film Prize, this year. Previously, he was one of the co-founders of

蔣顯斌/蒋显斌: CNEX总裁,新浪创始人之一。“年轻老灵魂” 。在台湾出生,在美国留学,在大陆工作,让他有更开阔的视野,思考华人社会共同遭遇的课题。他认为,华人在相近的文化背景下,具有类似的行为模式,也面对类似的困境,但在心理上有种莫名的隔阂。人物专访资料  CNEX 是一家现已成立三年的社会事业公司,旨在十年内创作100部有关中国当代社会的纪录片电影。他在过去的两年内所制作的电影已经在多达35个国际电影节上获得提名,他最近的作品《1428》,是一部关于中国四川地震的纪录片,今年刚刚获得了威尼斯电影节地平线单元的最佳纪录片奖。

Kristie Lu Stout An award winning anchor/correspondent for CNN International. Recently named one of Forbes magazine’s ‘Nine Women to Watch’ in Asia, and winner of a prestigious Asian Television Award as “Best news presenter or anchor”, Stout hosts the evening edition of the network’s “World Report” news program from CNN’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong. She has conducted in-depth interviews with some of technology’s biggest newsmakers including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, founder Jeff Bezos, Linux creator Linus Torvalds and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. She was one of the first employees to join the Beijing-based Internet portal and worked for Reuters’ new media division in China.

Kristie Lu Stout (片段) 中国血统 CNN美女主播 美国斯坦福大学学士及硕士学位。现为CNN国际新闻网络亚太总部主播及记者,其主持的早晨节目《CNN今日快讯》荣膺2006年亚洲新闻大奖

Kaiser Kuo American writer, rock musician, and culture/technology commentator. He previously worked as Director of Digital Strategy, China, for Ogilvy, as China Bureau Chief for Red Herring magazine, and as a freelance reporter. He is the author of Ich Bin Ein Beijinger, an anthology of columns written for that’s Beijing/The Beijinger magazine since 2001. A 15-year Beijing resident, he was co-founder of China’s first and most successful heavy metal band, Tang Dynasty, and remains active in the rock scene in Beijing as lead guitarist for Mandarin metal band Chunqiu (Spring & Autumn). Photo credit – Elliott Ng, CN Reviews

郭怡广 :对摇滚音乐爱好者来说,这是五雷轰顶级别的名字。美籍华人 唐朝乐队 组建成员之一。春秋乐队主吉它手。专栏作家。他的一篇文章。值得一读。牛人一定要自己GOOGLE,以示尊敬。

Martin Bloom Chairman of ReneSola, the Chinese solar wafer manufacturer based in Zhejiang Province. Martin is also the UK-Chairman of the UK-China Venture Capital Joint Working Group, established by the British and Chinese Governments in January 2005 to foster collaboration between the venture capital and private equity industries in both countries. He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of a UK and Chinese government-funded collaborative programme that brings together UK and Chinese universities for joint research projects.

浙江昱辉阳光能源公司董事长, 英国中英私募股权协会主席, 曾在联合利华集团从事企业策划工作长达25年,主要涉及战略合作,技术商业化和商务策略分析等。一位成功的投资家,尤其擅长投资基于技术和生命科学领域的美国及英国企业。

Steven Schwankert American, founder of SinoScuba and a member of The Explorers Club.   An award-winning reporter and editor with seven years of experience in Greater China, he has served as managing editor of Beijing Scene,, and Internet World magazine, and as editor of Computerworld Hong Kong and He’s looking for culture underwater as a PADI scuba instructor. Scuba diving school at the Beijing Blue Zoo aquarium.

Steven是北京第一家专业的水肺潜水训练中心 SinoScuba 的创始人,他是 SinoScuba 的运营者,也是“探险者”俱乐部(The Explorers Club)成员。2007年,他领导了首次在蒙古的库苏古勒湖(Khovsgol)的潜水科学探险。他的关于中国航海时代的开创性大发现的著作《真正的海神冒险》(The Real Poseidon Adventure)将在2010年出版面世。

Stefen Chow photographer and mountaineer. Stefen summitted Mount Everest in 2005, becoming one of the rare individuals to document the journey. His works have been published and awarded internationally, and was named a ‘Nikon Professional’ in 2009. Stefen is currently working on a fine art project, ‘Imperial Awakening’ surrounding the dialogue between China’s royal history in today’s world. The series will be showcased at the Photo Miami and Photo Los Angeles in late 2009.


Elyse Ribbons AmericanAmerican playwright, actress, blogger, director, radio host and gypsy extraordinaire.she is the founder of Cheeky Monkey Theater, which has produced five plays and created the ShiFen Theater Festival  As one of the hosts of CRI’s Mandarin-language program Laowai Kandian she enjoys the challenge of explaining the American perspective while carefully avoiding any of the words on the censored list.  Her contribution to a harmonious society is mainly in the form of comedic plays that embraces stereotypes and proceeds to mock them.  In her spare time, she organizes ChocoJing, Beijing’s Chocolate Appreciation Society.

柳素英 如果你听说过《我爱北京》《十分戏剧节》《风险英语》等活动,那你一定记得“顽皮猴子戏剧社”这个名字,顽皮猴子戏剧社是此美国女孩2007年创办于北京。

Hung Huang is currently the CEO of China Interactive Media Group, a publishing company that prints iLook, a lifestyle magazine targeting China’s middle and upper classes. She serves as the Publisher and Editor of the iLook Magazine. Her company previously published the Chinese editions of Seventeen and Time Out Beijing. She also hosts a late night TV program on Travel TV.   Hung was born in China, where her mother was Mao Zedong’s English teacher and translator. During the Cultural Revolution Hung was sent to the Little Red School House in New York. She later attended Vassar.  Hung has written 3 books and used to write for Economix about how Chinese culture is adapting to a rapidly changing economy. She also pens a popular personal blog (in Chinese). She co-wrote and starred in the 2005 independent film Perpetual Motion.


Ines Brunn a German physicist and passionate cyclist that lived in the USA for 6 years. She was a researcher at a particle accelerator, then moved to the telecommunication industry and relocated to Beijing in 2004. She was a competitive athlete for over 20 years, on the German National Team of indoor cycling for 10 years and still performs around the world. In 2007, fueled by her passion, Ines and a friend initiated the steadily growing community of fixed gear bicyclists in Beijing. Ines founded Natooke – the first fixed gear bike and juggling shop in China. She is advisor of Greening the Beige, an eco-minded arts collective to connect and build synergies between environmental organizations and green individuals in Beijing. Ines aims to build awareness for bicycling in China as a sport, hobby and daily transportation method to help minimize carbon emissions. With her cycling she has been on TV in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Singapore and of course in China (CCTV3, CCTV9, TianjinTV).

伊泉:工程师职业,出色的花样自行车手,身体力行的环保人士。 04年来到北京。她从事竞技运动20多年,有十多年一直是德国室内自行车项目国家队队员。伊泉在北京开展花样自行车的推广。这有段视频

To be continued

How to join or more details? go to there 注册邀请详情,猛击上篇


TEDxBeijing aims to be the bridge between the innovative, creative and inspiring initiatives in Beijing and the world. TEDxBeijing would be held on 13 November 2009.

What is TED? “牛人汇”, 再来一句:“让思想长上翅膀”

TED是英文 Technology, Entertainment, Design三个单词的首字母缩写。每一年的三月在美国汇集众多科学家、设计师、文学家、音乐家等领域的杰出人物,在TED大会上分享他们关于科技、社会、人的思考和探索。



看到演讲的牛人,动心了吧?再说下如何参与。现在什么活动一说邀请制,倍儿酷,比如GOOGLE WAVE,还不知道怎么玩,网上到处有人磕头要。 TEDxBJ的活动也为邀请制,今年的活动预计邀请150名听众;感兴趣,您瞅准了,在截至前赶快报名注册!另外,在您决定注册前,请一定要看几段TED视频,了解它,确信有共鸣,能把您共振了,再去注册。

Attendance registration

Only 150 seats available. Selected attendees will be notified before the event. Attendance is through application only. The link to application is (english) and (中文报名处)

相关网站: (chinese article中文) (video introduction to tedxbeijing in english ) – Chinese website中文网站
Facebook Fan Page

Kai-Fu Lee on the Internet in China, Stanford note

Had the chance to listen to Kai-Fu Lee’s talk at Stanford today on the Internet in China and his new VC/incubator, Innovation Works.  Lee was previously the founding president of Google China.  Lee provided some great anecdotes about some of the differences in internet culture between the US and China.  I’ve posted some raw notes below.

Greater reliance on the Internet. Internet in China is not all about censorship.  Print is controlled tightly, but not Internet.  Healthy ecosphere of news and blogs.

Blogs. More than 50% of Chinese users have blogs.  Random article by Chinese celebrity blogger got 980K visits and 7k replies.  Blogs increase expressiveness.  Chinese sites have blended blogs and news.

News + Blogs. Reporters are mining blogs for news.  Blogs are commenting on news.  Almost circular.

Users are more curious. In America, a user typically looks for the upper left side.  “Top 3″ is the golden triangle in America on Google as people only look there.  In China, users are more curious – want to be a sponge and absorb more content.  Chinese users spend 30-60 sec on results page.  US users spend 10 secs.

Internet Cafes. 30% of Chinese users are on Internet cafes.  25 cents per hour.  How to cafes make money. Internet cafes barely break even – they make money from Coke and instant noodles.

Why are Internet Cafes important? In small villages, this is the users first experience with the Internet.  Cafes in the villages charge only pennies per hour.  Twin terminals for dates.

Obstacles to Ecommerce. Lack of trust.  Very few credit cards (1/100th of the US credit card.  US 2 cards per person.  China 2 cards per hundred people).  Bicycle cash on delivery. Order a book, will call a telephone.  Someone on a bike will deliver the goods and receive cash.  Laborer is very inexpensive.  Alipay.  Mechanism for escrow payments.

Tencent & “Innovative” Commerce. Avatar for free in Tshirt.  Free trial of NBA uniform for a month, 10 cents thereafter.  If you don’t renew, then you become naked.

Future of Ecommece. joyo.  vancl.

A good percentage of Chinese people are willing to send $ before merchandise, especially from trusted brands.

When China matche US potential, 50x potential. E-commerce will accelerate advertising.  Enables advertising to be monetizable.

Entertainment centric pages are very busy and long. In China, the CINA homepage is 2mb.  Mobile users are incredibly frustrated.  About 150mb mobile quota.  Youseeweb – only leaves text.  2mb becomes 50k.

Top 10 Chinese Companies. Baidu.  Netease.  Perfect World. Alibaba.  The 9.  SNDA.  Gaming is currently the most valuable internet business in China today.

Chinese internet companies are very innovative. To advance to the next level, you must bring on disciples.  10% of the users generate 90% of the revenue.  Some users spent $5-10k a month.  Some people pay for weapons for their own users.

Top 10% of users pay couple hundred to a thousand dollars. Typically, middle-aged businessman.  Want to be even more successful in the game, than in real life.  Like to meet girls.  “Real beauty certification”.

6 companies are worth over $20 billion. Ten years ago, gaming software was only $10 million.  Cloud computing came along.  On a per license basis, piracy was rampant.  Now on the cloud, subscription and item fees are possible.

Piracy has meant that there is practically no software industry in China. To get around this, build software run on the cloud.  Google App Engine, Amazon Compute Cloud, Calendar, ERP & CRM, Online Gaming, Personal & SMB Finance, Collaboration, Email.

Music is largely all unlicensed. Google China launched a free legal music search.  Content providers are very frustrated as they are not making money on digital music.

Video is heavily (but not richly) monetized. Foreign companies cannot stream video or news.  Yoku and Tudou are the leading Youtube copycats.  Youtube is on the path to profitability.  However, in China, advertising is only worth a fraction.  Bandwith costs much more.

In China, bandwith is not that great. The pause button isn’t that great.  Pause ad is a great idea.

P2P is very popuar.  Chinese technology substantially leads the American technology.  Average user in China reinstalls Windows every 4 months.

Social networking is now taking off. Xiaonei was the first social network.  First UI copied Facebook.  Created a more Chinese-friendly UI.

Kaixin.  Kaixin got sold for $1 million to Xiaonei.  Xiaonei created  Xiaonei cloned Kaixin001 on

Mobile Internet. Chinese government makig a huge bet on 3G, will make it happen.  Before, China mobile had all the market.  Now there are three players – China unicom and China telecom.

iPhone.  # Google searches 50x that of other mobile browsers.  Great UI + full features browser + flat rate internet = boom.

Evolution of the internet. News-based portals.  Entertainment and social network.  Utility and e-commerce.

Foxconn and Mediatek build most of the phones in China.  Shenzai phone.  Hiphone.  Google Android is free, high quality, and will be used.  Some phones have 16 speakers, used as a boom box.  Projector phones.

Human search.  Wife committed suicide and left a note on her blog.  Secretary exposed boss on the internet.

Returnee entrepreneurs. Robin Le.  Grassroots.  Scrappy and learned as they went along.  From this point forward, next generation of Chinese internet entrepreneurs will be locally grown.  Competitive advantage for foreign trained entrepreneurs will be erased by home-town advantage.

In 20 years, there will be great Chinese internet companies.

Great angels. Mike Markkula invested $92k, secured a bank loan to $250k.  Andy Bectolsheim, wrote $100k check to Google.  Need someone with 20 years experience.

US Angel Fund $19.2 billion.  VC $28 billion.  China.  No angels.  VC $8.3 billion.

Innovation Works. Angel investing/coaching + “Google 20%” model + “Idealab” model + super recruiting firm + software company.  Angel fund with investors willing to be coaches.

Unlike Silicon Valley – Entrepreneur + Engineer + Idea.  In China, very little angel funding, can’t get team.  Innovation Works has three parallel funnels.  Select best ideas, select the best entrepreneur, seelct the best team.

Innovation Works. Trial phase.  Angel fund gets $30k to try an idea.  Get $500k to run a small company.  6-9 months will be ready for series A.  Different from Idea Labs.  They found it tough because Silicon Valley exists.  In China, there isn’t an openness and networks.

Advantage of Innovation Works. Full and raid operational bootstrapping.  Recruit and grow best entrepreneurs.  Build reusable modules and infrastructure.  Build strong complementary teams.  All resulting in a higher success of ideas.

Innovation Works.  Spin off 5 companies in a year.  Deliver great return to investors.

Thanks to Euwyn Poon, here is the original post


Freelance:next high-growth opportunity

You may not know the website, but you must know SKYPE. Its chairman, Michael van Swaaij invest his own money into this website and “so impressed with the UK contractros”.  This brilliant guy believes he is digging gold in these startup website, such as, as some of his next high growth projects.

He is a magic man. “The unique package of skills and flexibility that contractors and freelancers can offer can result in the productivity gains required to make Europe a global competitor,” explains van Swaaij. “Plus, individuals are now demanding the work-life balance that the freelance lifestyle can support.”

“In many European countries, such as Germany and Italy, being employed is still the ‘gold standard’, so all the financial and societal infrastructure revolves around employees,” continues van Swaaij. “These entrenched attitudes impact negatively on contractors, often restricting access to basic financial products, such as loans and mortgages, and creating problems of status.”

“It’s only through productivity gains that we will be able to compete, and significant gains can be realised by tapping into an ever growing workforce of professional contractors and freelancers,” concludes Swaaij. “This presents many challenges, but also many exciting opportunities!”

The story often remind me of similar business in China.  Magic business man — Shi Yuzhu, who is trying to build a system of small groups in GA, a famous online game company.

It will not surprise me if there is another genius boy suddenly sell his small company or products at a great price as “freelance” in the future.  Will that be you?  then just take the first step: kick off your boss, right now.

TED2010:”What the World needs now…”

So, what does the world need? Stimulus? Recovery? Sure, but TED is looking for the core values for human future, I believe I will see more sparkles from those brilliant speakers.   Now the same question to Chinese, I am not annoyed  about how to answer these simple and difficult questions, what I am worrying is : are there anyone or any group of people who would like to think in the TED’s way, a mankind way.

Let’s look at the following sessions and think about if we can find the proper person according to the list

Session 1: Insight

Looking beyond the crisis (Nobel Laureate Economist. Global Hedge Fund Manager. Historian. Futurist.)

Session 2: Courage

When the going got tough, who had what it took? (Entrepreneur. Contrarian Investor. Mountaineer. Humanitarian.)

Session 3: Discovery

Are there answers in nature? Who’s finding them? (Astronomer. Paleontologist. Geneticist. Nanotech Researcher. Explorer.)

Session 4: Provocation

This is a great team to be challenged on some fundamentals. (Corporate Critic. Libertarian. Hacker. Rap Artist.)

Session 5: Invention

Who is dreaming up the new ideas we need? (Smart-Grid Designer. Collaboration Catalyst. Concept Animator.)

Session 6: Imagination

Who can nourish our sense of wonder? (Theoretical mathematician. Sculptor. Landscape Artist. Musician.)

Session 7: Inspiration

Can a wish truly inspire change? (The TED Prize winners.)

Session 8: Reason

How do we think smarter — about the world, and about ourselves? (Media reformer. Statistician. Neuro-scientist. Philosopher.)

Session 9: Energy

Both metaphorically and literally. (Nuclear reactor designer. Radical Biofuels. Motivational Coach. Dance Troupe.)

Session 10: Laughter

There really is a funny side… And humor can catalyze understanding. (Comic author. TV host. Filmmaker. Stand-up. Singer-songwriter.)

Session 11: Simplicity

Is too much complexity a threat to our world? To our happiness? (Former Derivatives Trader. Legal System Reformer. User Interface Designer. Monk.)

Session 12: Wisdom

Step back, and the view looks different. (Anthropologist. Story Teller. Slum Dweller. Sage.)

We often (only) use these words in our composition in high schools, but not in our real life except your major is “classical philosophy” or you are a teacher.  All we need is about “money” “authority” … material things…

Better and Better life in China

Our family is like a little chicken.
When it grows up it becomes a goose.
And it’ll turn into a sheep.
The sheep will turn into an ox.
And after the ox is Communism.
And there’ll be dumplings and meat every day.……”
Communism, or at least China’s bastardised version of it – what would Marx have made of fourth-class railway compartments in a supposedly classless society? – has duly performed its miracle. The path has been far from straight, the journey anything but painless, certainly not bloodless. But the Communist party, by its own criteria at least, has delivered. As the hero of To Live, a 1994 film by the director Zhang Yimou, promises his son and later his grandson, life has indeed got better for most Chinese.
The story of To Live, and indeed the life of Mr Zhang, a once-banned film director recast as the Communist party’s propagandist-

in-chief, tells us a lot about China 60 years after the founding of the People’s Republic and 30 years since Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. An epic drama, soaked in the misery of collectivism and the madness of Maoist dogma, its portrayal of Communist rule was enough to get it struck down by censors. Yet, in the end, the film somehow manages to be optimistic, a celebration of the nation’s unity and capacity for progress after 150 years of colonial humiliation and internal strife.

That optimism is almost palpable in China’s frenetic cities, where nearly one in two people now live compared with one in 10 in 1949. Born of the belief that today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be an improvement on today, optimism is a powerful antidote to the resentment of autocracy that many westerners too readily assume to be the norm.

Meat and dumplings are not enough to buy off everybody. But they help. After 30 years of breakneck growth averaging 10 per cent a year, per capita income on a purchasing power parity basis has hit $6,000 (€4,100, £3,750). That still makes China a lower-middle-income country, more Angola than America. The average also hides a yawning income gap that keeps the party leadership awake at night. Yet it has been enough to release hundreds of millions of people from poverty. More importantly, it promises to release hundreds of millions more.

Aspiration is everywhere. Each year, China produces 700,000 engineering graduates and 30,000 MBAs, says Beijing Axis, a consultancy. There are 650m mobile phones in circulation, roughly the number of pigs slaughtered every year. In the late 1990s, the consultancy reckons, only 500 Chinese residents knew how to ski. Last year, 5m visited ski resorts.

Nor is it merely a question of personal opportunities. China will shortly overtake Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy. This year, its people will buy more cars and trucks than Americans. Beijing has sent a man into space. China, in short, is well on the way to erasing the memories of colonial subjugation that have haunted a nation once accustomed to thinking of itself as the centre of civilisation.