The Chinese system is autocratic, rife with corruption and at odds with a knowledge economy, which requires liberty. Yet China also has regular rotations of power at the top and a strong record of promoting on merit, so the average senior official is quite competent. Listening to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China tick off growth statistics in his speech here had the feel of a soulless corporate earnings report. Yet he has detailed plans for his people’s betterment, from universities to high-speed rail, and he’s delivering on them.
Thomas Friedman New York Times (Sept. 22, 2010)
Un des jours les plus graves de la crise où, pendant le ministère Rouvier, on crut qu’il allait y avoir la guerre entre la France et l’Allemagne, comme je dînais seul chez Mme de Guermantes avec M. de Bréauté, j’avais trouvé à la duchesse l’air soucieux. J’avais cru, comme elle se mêlait volontiers de politique, qu’elle voulait montrer par là sa crainte de la guerre, comme un jour où elle était venue à table si soucieuse, répondant à peine par monosyllabes; à quelqu’un qui l’interrogeait timidement sur l’objet de son souci elle avait répondu d’un air grave:
« La Chine m’inquiète. »
Marcel Proust, Albertine disparue
On one of the gravest days of the crisis during Rouvier's Ministry when it was thought that there was going to be a war with Germany, I dined at Mme de Guermantes's with M. de Bréauté and found the Duchess looking worried. I supposed that, since she was always dabbling in politics, this was a manifestation of her fear of war, as when, appearing at the dinner-table one evening looking similarly pensive and barely replying in monosyllables, upon somebody's inquiring timidly what was the cause of her anxiety, she had answered solemnly:
"I'm worried about China."
(translation C.K. Scott Moncrief and Terence Kilmartin)