"I understand a "modern" nation to be one that is both integrated and receptive, fairly sure of its own identity yet able to join others on equal terms in the quest for new markets, new technologies, new ideas.
[...] I like to think that there were modern countries in the above sense in A.D. 1600 or earlier, as at any moment in the centuries thereafter. Yet at no time in that span, nor at the end of the twentieth century, has China been convincingly one of them."
Spence, Jonathan (1990): The Search for Modern China.
How modern is China? Or: How is China modern? Twenty years later these questions have lost nothing of their relevancy. For 12 months I am trying to find, define and conceptualize what may be called "Modern China".