This has been the final week in the preparations for the G20 summit in Hangzhou, to be held on September 4 and 5 in the city of Hangzhou. The preparations for this event, dear readers, have been in progress since 1978, or that is how it probably feels to the residents of that city.
East China has experienced wonderful “G20 Blue” skies in recent weeks, but for people in the rest of China, it is only this weekend that the event will really impinge on consciousness. Anyone flying anywhere in China over these next few days can expect delays and more delays. And if you turn on the TV or radio, interface in any way with any part of the media machine, it will be wall-to-wall G20. The key audience for an event like this in China – Olympics etc. etc. – is domestic. And for that audience, the gathering of superstar leaders is fundamentally presented as a measure of credibility and acceptance.
A second audience, of course, is world opinion, and the message is China’s aspirations to be a global power, not just a regional power. The theme of the event is “Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Inter-connected and Inclusive World Economy,” and we can say categorically that we are in favor. The sub-texts are the relative merits of different political systems, and the growing number of issues on which there is growing clarity – finally! – on differences between China and other countries.
But the opportunity is still there for inter-connected inclusiveness, and our money, in the long run, is still that that is how it will play out. Timing unknown, and after the hump. Have a wonderful smog-free weekend, depending on where you are!