If China experts are asked how they found their area of expertise, they often speak of experiences that almost have enlightenment qualities. This was also the case with Paul Triolo. For him, enlightenment came in the form of a newspaper report. In 1987, he read a New York Times story about the rise of China. At the time, Triolo, who holds a degree in electrical engineering, worked in the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley, was a translator for Russian and had just started studying international relations.
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