Blog: Dave LeggettChina - the long view

Dave Leggett | 17 October 2003

Hardly a day goes by without some announcement of additional investment for China - whether a vehicle maker or Tier 1. Ford is the latest to pump up the volume. I wonder what the Chinese themselves make of all this investment and the bullish forecasts for China's vehicle market? It was interesting to read some of the reactions of ordinary Chinese people to China's first manned spaceflight this week. Many were clearly proud of the achievement, but they were also quite restrained in their enthusiasm - seeing the bigger picture and well aware of China's stage of development.

Here's a story I heard yesterday that encapsulates the Chinese tendency to take a long view on things. Not sure how true it is, but it made me laugh. A journalist from the Washington Post secured a rare interview with Mao Tse Tung at around the time of the cultural revolution in the late 1960s. For a western reporter from a western newspaper, it was a bit of a coup and the interview kicked off in gentle fashion (jumping in to ask the great man about the damaging effects of the cultural revolution would probably not have been a good idea). They talked about revolutionary theory in general and after a few minutes the WP guy posed a question to Mao: what do you think of the French revolution and its consequences? Mao was silent for a while, composing his thoughts. Eventually, he gave his answer: 'Too early to say.'


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