by Doug Hornig
That’s a question that Westerners have been asking for, oh, several millennia now. Or at least since Marco Polo aimed his ponies down the old Silk Road in 1271.
Now as then, China keeps its own counsel. We know what they want us to know, plus what we can surmise from rumor and reading between the lines. But lately, we’ve been able to add presumption to news and come up with something that looks very significant.
Specifically, there’s been a flood of tantalizing stories out of the East that, taken together, strongly suggest a growing preoccupation with a form of money that was ancient even in Signor Polo’s time. And it ain’t silk. It’s gold.
We already learned, back in April, that China has been salting away bullion for the previous six years, out of sight of international gold watchers. To the tune of 14.6 million ounces. Now the evidence suggests that that was merely the prologue.
Let’s take these tidbits one at a time: