The obstacles to gathering trustworthy information about China are formidable. A leading expert offers his own personal guidelines to understanding the most opaque of countries
In August BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, recommended investors to boost their exposure to China by as much as three times. Three weeks later, billionaire investor George Soros warned that, “pouring billions of dollars into China now is a tragic mistake … It is likely to lose money for BlackRock’s clients and, more important, will damage the national security interests of the US and other democracies”.
If two of the world’s most successful investors flatly contradict each other about the prospects for China, how are readers of The Tablet to begin to make sense of a country which is the world’s second-largest economy – and the most powerful dictatorship the world has ever seen?
Understanding China has never been more important, or more difficult. I have been attempting it ever since I first watched China through army binoculars across the border which divided colonial Hong Kong from Red China in 1958.