There’s some historical truth in the far-wandering junks – until they decided to give it up more than a half millennium ago, the Chinese had a far-ranging navy, getting as far west as Zanzibar.¬† It was nothing but a change to a more inward-looking policy that stopped them being a long-term global maritime power.

Perhaps the coming century will see them pick up where they left off.

‘Thanks to swarms of the far-wandering junks of the bird-loving Chinese…’

Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, introduction by Michael Gorra, New York: New York Review of Books, 2006 (1958), p. 145

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