It’s all Happening: in China, right now

Jerry Grey
4 min readJun 15, 2023

Watch a video of this article here: https://youtu.be/Zgv7g6iGSOQ

To coin a sporting phrase, “it’s all happening here”; here, of course is China. And there’s little doubt that things are happening on a global scale. Perhaps more than a casual observer might notice so here’s a run down on some of the things which are happening, have happened or are about to happen.

Probably the one the world is taking notice of is the Blinken visit, it will finally happen and, at the time of writing, it’s not known how he will be treated. In Vietnam and Saudi, he was disrespected by both countries showing their own flag but not showing the US flag. It didn’t go unnoticed in Chinese media, but it might not have been commented on so much in Western mainstream media.

On a lighter note, the Argentinian football team were confined to their hotel for a while as Chinese fans besieged the hotel in the hope of just catching a glimpse of their idol Messi, who almost didn’t make it into China as he thought, having visited Taiwan without a visa a while ago, the same would be true of Mainland China, that’s a reasonable mistake to make if the One-China Policy is known about. Fortunately, China did the right thing and issued him a visa at the airport.

Putting that aside, until recently Honduras was not a friend of China but the President Xiomara Castro, arrived here to open an embassy and was treated like the friend she has proven to be. Relations between Honduras and China are set to move into the future on a very strong foundation of mutual respect with the two countries signing up to partake in the Belt and Road Initiative and more from there.

Just a few weeks ago, the leaders of five European Countries arrived in Xi’an, the Chinese end of the Silk Road for a meeting where mutual benefits for all were discussed, agreements signed and a positive future assured for China’s Western, and Russia’s Southern, neighbours.

This week, China confirmed its support for the Palestine Liberation Organisation by hosting President Abbas of Palestine and making a commitment to work towards recognition of a Two-State solution to the Palestine Question. After the success of the Saudi-Iran talks just a few months ago, this is a welcome inclusion into what is almost certainly the most difficult political situation in the Middle East.

There are also unconfirmed rumours that President Macron of France would like an invitation to the next BRICS summit and this follows his recent visit and discussions with China. On a political front, there is no doubt, it’s all happening.

But it gets better. Elon Musk was recently here, he did have some criticisms of the way Chinese workers spend a little too much time in meetings, which anyone who has ever visited Chinese workplaces can attest to, but his overall opinion is that Americans are more likely to avoid work while Chinese employees, in his words won’t need to burn midnight oil; “they’ll be burning the 3am oil”.

Tim Cook of Apple went one step further and praised China’s innovation — what a shock this must be to the “they steal IP and copy others” crowd who have not quite realised what the world’s leading CEOs have noticed. China is one step ahead of everything they are alleged to have stolen. The rest of the world is now playing catch up to China’s innovation. So much so that the very recently released World Rankings of Quality Research, China has streamed ahead of Oxford, Cambridge and even CalTech. With, not just a little more, but 22% more contributions to global research.

And now Bill Gates has arrived in China and will be the first leading businessperson to meet with Xi Jinping since before the onset of the Covid Pandemic. Xi and Gates do have a history, they met in 2015 and have corresponded with each other, one known letter from Xi was in thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the early days of the initial Covid-19 lockdowns.

Like them or loathe them, leaders and influencers of the world’s foremost organisations and institutions are beating a path to China’s door. Their reasons are not to criticise China for imagined human rights abuses, they aren’t complaining about imaginary military expansions and they aren’t suggesting that China is engaging in debt trap diplomacy. They’re here for a different reason.

Some suggest that China has invited them here to revive foreign business interests but that’s not the case. If it were, China would be visiting them. They’re here because they know this is where the future lies and they know they need to engage with a rising China. The consequences of not being engaged with China are worse than any imagined consequences of China’s rise.

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Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences