In the Middle Ages, China was the preeminent nation on earth, and the most technologically advanced.
§ China invented paper.
§ China invented the printing press.
§ China invented the compass.
§ China invented the telescope.
§ China invented the gunpowder.
§ China invented the noodle, now popularly called pasta.
§ China already had the wheelbarrow about 1,200 years before Europe knew it.
§ China had used the safety matches for 2,000 years before it reached the West.
§ China had the blast furnace, used in making cast iron, 1,800 years before Europe knew it.
§ China gave the world Kung Futse (Confucius), one of the greatest philosophers that ever lived, so great he was almost deified.
All these went into oblivion when China grew a culture of “Superior Race”, arrogance and profligacy. For centuries, China closed its doors to shut out the remaining world and lost industrial and economic grounds to Europe and North America.
Now, China is open again to the world and is simply racing back !
Reference: Where Have All The Leaders Gone by Lee Iacocca.