china 3To the list of industries now dominated by China, there is one surprising new entry: Miss World. Beauty contests were banned in China by Mao Zedong as one of the worst forms of western decadence but their bland internationalism appeals to modern China’s desire to be included. Of the last 10 Miss World pageants, five have been held at the seaside resort of Sanya, on subtropical Hainan island, off China’s south coast. While the Miss World show is in town, the swimsuit photo shoots take place across the road, at the Sheraton Sanya Resort, which looks out on to the white sands of Yalong Bay, a crescent-shaped cove lined with palm trees. With a Ritz-Carlton on one side and a Marriott on the other, Yalong Bay is a transplant of multi­national tourism on China’s southernmost point. The resort has become hugely ­popular with prosperous Chinese families and on the day I visited, the hotel was hosting a corporate retreat for the Chinese subsidiary of Syngenta, the Switzerland-based company which sells genetically modified seeds. The hundred or so Chinese employees spent the afternoon playing games on the beach. As they enjoyed themselves, they barely looked up when a Chinese Type 054 frigate sailed casually across the bay, in plain view of the tourists. Yalong Bay, it turns out, has a double life. The brand-name hotels occupy only one half of the beach; at the other end lies China’s newest and most sophisticated naval base. More