The Financial Times interviewed Bill Gates. The article is a good read, including two interesting responses regarding China.
On the rise of China:
I get just a hint of his politics, however, when we discuss the speed and energy with which China is developing and I suggest that some might find it all a bit scary. The word sets Gates off: “If all you care about is the US or the UK’s relative strength in the world, then it’s particularly scary,” he says laughing sarcastically. “In the US case, 1945 was our relative peak.” Since then, as he points out, other countries from Europe to Asia have rebuilt and become more prosperous, but, says Gates, “I guess I’m just not enough of a nationalist to see it all in negative terms.” On the contrary, Gates is excited by the things that a richer China could bring to the world. “I think it’s good that Chinese scientists are working on cancer drugs, because if my kid got cancer, I wouldn’t look at the label that says ‘made in China’. And, hopefully, we’ll get them working on some of these vaccines and also on energy.”
On China’s impact on the environment:
But Gates is also worried about the environment, so I ask him if the rapid industrialisation of China is a recipe for environmental disaster. Again, his impulse is to look to technology for a solution: “Short of going to war over this issue, the best way would be to find innovative forms of energy generation”. He is excited by solar and nuclear energy, and mocks those who complain about rising Chinese energy use — “I mean, these Chinese are actually using as much energy per capita as the average in the world today, how dare they! How did that happen? The US uses four times the average and the Brits double. But now these Chinese are trying to use the average.”