The first 10 years of the 21st century marked a golden decade of development for China, as the country overtook Italy, France, Britain and Germany in terms of GDP, finally surpassing Japan in 2010 to become the world's second largest economy, next only to the United States.
With China's accession to the ranks of major economic giant, the international community has increasingly recognized China as another superpower. Some have even put it alongside the United States as part of a "G2" that will together dominate the global economic and political arenas.
But has China truly earned its position as No.2? Not quite, as the country's colossal aggregate economic volume has yet to elevate its per-capita GDP. This figure now stands at only $6,076, ranking 87th according to data from the IMF. Despite vigorous economic growth over the years, China's economy is nonetheless plagued with woes, ranging from unsustainable growth models and irrational industrial structure to uneven regional disparities and heavy dependence on energy and raw materials.
Moreover, qualifying as No.2 means the state in question should have exceptional comprehensive strength, a strong military, as well as potent soft power. China does not meet these criteria as it has yet to build up a powerful national defense system, and its scientific base remains comparatively weak. As such, the country is not another superpower, but rather a major developing economy.
China's rapid rise has been a gratifying phenomenon for Chinese all over the world. People in China have been striving for generations to create a better life for themselves and build a strong and prosperous country, a lofty objective that has been pursued through reforms since the late 1970s, most recently and also embodied in the Chinese Dream initiated by the nation's new leadership late last year.
China now appears poised to fulfill the yearning desire to build/ a strong nation. This is a more meaningful goal that has never been so closely within reach.