Yet few know it even happened, let alone its date. China's admission to the World Trade Organization changed the game for America, Europe and most of Asia, and indeed for any country in possession of industrially valuable resources, such as oil and metals. It was a largely unnoticed event of epic geopolitical and economic importance. It was the root imbalance behind the global financial crisis. The domestic political backlash against the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to China has reverberated around the western G7 nations.
The promise, suggested by the likes of former US President Bill Clinton, was that "importing one of democracy's most cherished values, economic freedom", would enable the world's most populous nation to follow the path of political freedom too.
"When individuals have the power not just to dream, but to realise their dreams, they will demand a greater say," he said.