China is now the world's second largest economy, toppling Japan after 42-years in the contender's box. Purchasing-power-parity adjustments favor developing countries like China and somewhat skewer GDP data. And per capita GDP in China is a poverty-level $4,412, compared to $42,431 in Japan. But, China's emergence must be recognized.
Speculation has it that China will overtake the U.S. by 2020. I think it doubtful. China's continued rise depends upon a number of stability factors subject to doubt in an authoritarian regime. Further, China's per capita GDP (or quality of life standard) is not competitive.
It's not yet time to begin speaking of a new Evil Empire. But China would love the title.