I agree with your overall assessment RE the early clues. China is, indeed, pivoting pragmatically when it needs to. It may be too little too late for AI dominance, but so what? As long as China is the main trading partner for dozens of nations, their prominence on the global stage isn't going anywhere.

Do you see any downside from the phonetic keyboard? Language is so damn fascinating, and digitizing communication is a fascinating study.

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Aug 31Liked by Kevin Xu

Radicals-based Chinese computer input still dominate in Hong kong and Taiwan, which don’t really use pingyin for various reasons.

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China was, collectively, still recovering from Cultural Revolution PTSD?? Exsqueeze me?

The only folks suffering from Cultural Revolution PTSD were those offended by the sight of 400,000,000 peasants learning to read, write, and vote – and even run government Ministries. The horror!

Among the offended elite who fled to the West was Jung Chang (Wild Swans), the grand-daughter of a warlord. Like most members of fallen elites anywhere in the world, she has an extremely bitter view of those who replaced her kind. Entirely blind to the fact that they failed when they had a chance to remould China.

What’s odd is that the West takes characters like Jung Chang so seriously. The establishment seem to think that people with a legacy of decades of failure and weakness will now deliver them a repentant China ready to be remoulded to Western values. This is about as likely as an egg being laid in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Chang naturally assumes that students of peasant background were 'semi-literate' and had 'little aptitude', while she was clever and deserved the best, including a generous Chinese government scholarship to study in Britain.

Chang claims that she was the victim of a brutal regime but, In fact, as well as being a Red Guard, Jung Chang was the privileged daughter of China's Communist elite. It is a peculiarity of the reception of Wild Swans that it was told and read as a story of great personal suffering, when its author grew up with a wet-nurse, nanny, maid, gardener and chauffeur provided by the Party, protected in a walled compound, educated in a special school for officials' children.

As a Grade 10 official, her father was among the 20,000 most senior people in a country of 1.25 billion, and it was in this period that children of 'high officials' became almost a class of their own. Still, the enthusiastic Western audience of Wild Swans found something to identify in Jung Chang's perennial fear of being reduced to the level of the rest of the population, shuddering with her at the prospect that 'Mao intended me to live the rest of my life as a peasant' (Heartfield 2005).

It was during the supposedly most difficult times of her family that Chang managed to leave the countryside a few weeks after she was sent down, become a barefoot doctor, an electrician and then a university student, and finally receive a generous scholarship to study in the UK, the kind of career moves that were dreams for millions of young Chinese, all accomplished during the Cultural Revolution years before her father was officially rehabilitated.

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