Renowned American author and futurist Alvin Toffler
said before leaving Beijing on November 28, 2001 that China
has experienced "astonishing changes."
Toffler, author of "The Third
Wave," said, "China is a different world, even
from a few years ago."
"The Third Wave" was translated into
Chinese in the 1980s and it immediately became a bestseller.
All of his works are bestsellers in China and many of his
phrases have been widely used in China's social, economical
and cultural lives.
Toffler said he
admired Chinese leadership, as "they have carefully
introduced significant changes while maintaining
In a number of his
books and articles, Toffler predicted China would rise as a
global power and bring great changes to the
Toffler said China has three different
spheres of society. Some 700 million to 900 million people,
mainly peasants, still live in the "first wave"
world. They need to benefit from development, and are at the
highest risk of being hurt by China's WTO entry.
The "second wave" consists of
the 250 million to 300 million Chinese who belong to the
urban industrial world of mass manufacturing.
Only a small population of 10 million are
information age people, or the knowledge-based "third
Toffler said the
disparities between the three are difficult for a government
said the "wave-ratio" in China will change in the
next 10 years or more, and China will make historic changes
within one generation.
important thing for China is how to allocate the limited
resources," he noted. "Can we use the tools we
have in the second or third wave to help people in the first
He said if China
chooses the traditional path of shifting the first wave
people to the second, millions of peasants in rural areas
will rush into cities, and it would be disastrous.
He said China might use third wave
technologies such as genetic crops and broadband to help
improve the well-being of the first wave people.
He said it is possible to bridge certain
technology gaps, but not political and cultural ones.
Internet technologies such as broadband can serve as new
tools for educational as well as commercial purposes.
Toffler has visited China eight times. His
current trip was at the invitation of China Netcom to attend
a conference on China's broadband sector.
( Note: Besides "The Third Wave," Toffler
is also author of international bestseller "Future
Shock." The first two books have been regarded as
masterpieces of futurism. Since their publications in the
1980s, they have been translated into over 30 languages and
sold millions of copies. It is said his books have
influenced and inspired different generations, including
politicians, scientists and business people.)