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