The importance of China is not confined to the number of its inhabitants and to the power, still largely untapped, of this nation of nearly a thousand million people. It is of a more general nature and proceeds quite as much from the past as from the present: Chinese civilization was the guiding spirit of a very large section of humanity, giving it its writing, its technology, its conception of man and of the world, its religions and its political institutions …The West, which has borrowed from China right down to our day without realizing it, is far from recognizing its sizable debt to her, but for which we ourselves would not be what we are.