More than 60 years after foreign colonial powers left the bustling hub of Shanghai, China is truly recapturing the wayward city.
Courteous and efficient, Xing Xina is dealing with the long queue of bank customers in front of her without a hint of resentment.
As China moves up in the world and the need for investment in its own infrastructure declines, Chinese investors and financiers are eyeing lucrative contracts in less developed countries, winning bids to build dams, power plants and highways from Burma to Uzbekistan and Angola.
Economic figures have now confirmed what analysts have long predicted would be the defining event of 2010. After 30 years of spectacular growth, China is poised to overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy and firmly establish itself as the leading source of global growth.
If Asia, already unsettled by China's economic rise, needed a reminder that economic power would be followed by more political assertiveness, then none was more compelling than Beijing's unconcealed sway on Cambodia to expel 20 Uyghur asylum seekers over the weekend.
As western nations and the values of liberal capitalism received a battering in the financial storm, China's emergence as a pillar of economic stability and growth has fed a new craze in all things Chinese – from language to philosophy and culture.
China is not happy. This is how one of the Chinese state-sanctioned newspapers summed up Beijing's feelings about the week spent negotiating on climate change in the Danish capital.
With low carbon seen as the new buzzword for government promotion and backed by Beijing as the new economic growth engine, China is poised for a green leap forward.
The jury is still out on what Beijing and Washington achieved during President Barack Obama's first state visit to China last week. But one trait has emerged more strongly than anything else.
Feng Danya studied foreign languages. She had hoped to be part of a growing local company and grow with them, she says. But her timing was wrong. She graduated in the summer of uncertainty for the global economy and many Chinese start-ups.
The summer capital of China's political intrigue is taking a break from the years of intense infighting and maneuvering that Chinese communist leaders used to engage in while hidden in their secluded villas.
Preoccupied with ethnic tensions in the vulnerable areas of Tibet and Xinjiang, Beijing was caught off guard by Burmese military regime's decision in late August to use force against armed rebel ethnic groups in the country's north, which resulted into military strife that forced thousands of refugees to flee into China.
The story of ethnic strife engulfing China's far-western province of Xinjiang may have been relegated to the inner pages of the country's state-controlled newspapers, but this time, the government could barely suppress the outflow of information.
The global financial crisis is proving a boon for a resurgent China, which is poised to exert ever greater influence in Southeast Asia.
Chem Hout sits at the Maxxi coffee shop on a busy thoroughfare in this rural town of western Cambodia, waiting for the school bus to drop off his nine-year-old son. When the mini-bus eventually pulls by, it carries the Chinese characters for the local Chinese bilingual school - the enviable choice of Chem and other parents who can afford to send their children there.
Theary Seng, orphaned by the Khmer Rouge, believes in the invisible bonds that suffering weaves among people. She calls it the "fellowship of suffering".
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's upcoming maiden trip to China this week has raised both expectations and apprehensions in Beijing.
As China rushes to implement its four trillion yuan (585 billion US dollars) economic stimulus package, success is seen dependent on the ability of government officials to come up with free land for the hundreds of new infrastructure projects like airports and housing that Beijing hopes would lift growth and keep recession at bay.
China's pro-active stance in finding a settlement to the latest crisis in the Middle East - a trouble spot which does not normally figure on Beijing's list of top foreign policy priorities - suggests heightened attention to energy security for the country's power-hungry economy.
Twenty years after the Chinese communist party deployed tanks to crush protests by disgruntled students on Tiananmen square, the country is facing the same volatile mix of rising unemployment and economic gloom that sparked the 1989 mass pro-democracy marches.
Chinese and United States leaders have hailed the 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries as one of the most defining bilateral ties of the 20th century, but Beijing and Washington are celebrating the anniversary in subdued mood.