TechNode was off last week for the National Day “golden week” holiday, but this year’s October holiday is special.

As is traditional, October 1st saw an hours-long celebration in Beijing, including speeches and an amazing display of military hardware. In the lead-up, citizens of Beijing were given many hints of what was to come with regular road closures and the constant buzz helicopters and jet airplanes.

This year was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The last “big ten” (i.e., 60th) anniversary was in 2009, under Hu Jintao, a leader who never quite got out from under his predecessor’s shadow. This anniversary is Xi Jinping’s first as President of China, Chairman of the Communist Party of China, and one of the most powerful leaders China has seen.

Indeed, during both the run-up and actual celebration, the message was clear: China is a strong country. Unlike previous iterations where such displays of strength could be construed as originating in an insecurity, there was no mistaking this year’s as originating in real strength, from China’s leadership, the Communist Party, and the country’s growing affluence and influence.

So why am I writing this? What does this have to do with tech? As a member, that should already be clear to you: the world is looking to China not just as a protector of global trade, but also as the best place to learn about the future, whether that’s mobile payments, how to monetize social networks, or effective “social management.” The “China model” isn’t just being passively learned from, but also actively exported to countries like Nepal. Throughout less developed Belt and Road countries, Beijing is slowly but surely bringing its values to the rest of the world. And, if history is any guide, it’s only a matter of time (barring any real catastrophe) before a good portion of the world is assimilated.

For the idealist in me, this is a sad realization. I was born in a culture that values freedom above all else. Anything that limits that freedom is difficult to grapple with. The realist in me, however, can’t help but wonder if China is exactly what the world needs right now: stability and strong leadership.

This is an uncomfortable and uncertain time for many of us. No matter where you fall in the China debate, we’re all in the business of trying to figure it out.

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John Artman

John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...

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