By the turn of the century the population of China, now one-fourth of all the people in the world, is expected to be 1.2 billion. The government is waging a strong campaign to keep each family down to two children, with the eventual goal of a single child per family.
With such an enormous population one might visualize only great faceless hordes, people without identity. Yet any Western visitor quickly becomes aware of the tremendous individuality and personality of the Chinese they see and come in contact with.
Because many Chinese have never seen a foreign visitor before, they gather around the tourist to see, to learn, and to listen. Some even try out the English that many are studying in local schools. Young people learn at an early age that education is a very serious business.
This was my second trip to China, and everywhere I went -- in the cities and in the countryside -- faces were always warm and friendly and filled with great curiosity. Regardless of age, they reflect a sense of dignity and self-respect. And the faces of the children sparkle with excitement.