Opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games
But it was the unfolding global financial crisis, the worst ever since the Great Depression in the late 1920s,that actually made China even more attractive.
As the whole world is seeking ways out of the crisis, they have turned to emerging markets, especially China.
The Chinese government also believes opportunities always come with crisis.
Wen Jiabao, Chinese Premier, said, "China is in a stage of rapid industrialization and urbanization, and has huge potential for economic growth. This important period of strategic opportunities for China's development will last quite a long time. We have full confidence and also the capability to overcome various difficulties to ensure sound and fast growth of the national economy for an even longer period of time."
Looking back, the past year was indeed a bittersweet memory for China. But the country is certainly not loosing confidence.
No single year prior to 2008 has brought China so many ups and downs. No single year has given China so many tests and uncertainties.
China faced baptism by fire in 2008. Some say the past 30 years of reform and opening up have been the easy part for China.
Now comes the hard part, with increasing instability and uncertainty both at home and abroad. When people look forward to the coming year, they can't help but think about how much the challenges of the past year have affected China.
They must also wonder what are the effective ways to face the challenges in both the short and long run.
(CCTV December 27, 2008)