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Why China’s fevered dream of World Cup domination has no boundaries | Barney Ronay

China’s upsurge in fortunes follows the decision to redefine what being a Chinese footballer actually means

China is a very large country, inhabited by many Chinese. Looking back it seems fair to say Charles de Gaulle was probably right in this assessment, not to say prophetic. In the intervening years China has become even larger. It is inhabited by even more Chinese.

To the outsider this vastness can seem a little dizzying. This is the last great wilderness once humans have killed off the rest of them: other humans. China has more than one hundred cities with more than a million inhabitants, cities with their own traditions, infrastructure, hierarchies, artisan coffee stall scenes and endless, unknowable inner lives. China has 250 million pensioners. Imagine four United Kingdoms occupied entirely by old people. Imagine four Brexits. That’s how many people there are in China.

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