Bloomberg Opinion columnist
David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.
With the world's largest high-speed rail network, a payments system that's largely conducted via phone apps, and half the world's solar-power plants, China often looks like a country at the technological frontier. When you consider how it feeds itself, though, it's still just catching up.
Given a sad history of exploitation by foreigners, the young democracy of East Timor can hardly be blamed for being hell-bent on self-sufficiency. But its current drive to cement its independence risks squandering the faltering progress the country has made. If the government doesn't tread carefully, a future of debt peonage to China beckons.