Five Things the U.S. Can Learn from China

While the U.S. remains mired in an economic funk, the Asian giant drives ceaselessly forward. On the eve of Obama's first visit there, a look at what the world's rising power can teach the U.S. now

Daniel Traub for Time

China's schools are adding more creative and practical topics to their notoriously rigid curriculum.

On the evening of Nov. 15, President Barack Obama, the youthful leader of one of the world's youngest countries, begins his first visit to China, among the world's most ancient societies. Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, have much to discuss. Nukes in Iran and North Korea. China's surging military spending. Trade imbalances. Climate change.

But the visit comes at an awkward moment for the U.S. China, despite its 5,000-year burden of history, has emerged as a dynamo of optimism, experimentation and growth. It has defied the global economic slump, and the sense that it's the world's ascendant...

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