From Spiegel International:
A long sandy beach stretches along the western side of the bay, with a dozen large hotels lined up behind it. Swimsuits hang to dry on the balconies, the first joggers set off in the morning and employees carry fresh hotel towels down to the beach.
On the eastern side, an inconspicuous, verdant forested mountain rises out of the sea. There is hardly any other place on China’s coast that militaries in the West are keeping such a close eye on. The bunker where China’s navy stations its fleet of nuclear submarines is hidden inside the mountain. It’s the place from which Beijing symbolically asserts its claim to power over the South China Sea, the Western Pacific and, more recently, far beyond.
China has risen to become a world power for the second time in recent decades, an unprecedented comeback. One reason is China’s sheer size, its vastness, its density and the deep roots of its culture. The other, which is even more important, is the diligence, creativity and patience of its people.
There’s an unwritten contract between the Chinese and their leadership that still binds them today: You stay quiet and we will set the course for growth, success and China’s path to the top. It’s a tough, unambiguous contract. Way up in the north, by the Black Dragon River, where our journey began, there was a red banner: “Violate the laws of this boundary,” it read, “and you will be caught and crushed like a worm.”