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China's Emergence is the Decade's Most-Read Story

China's emergence as a global economic superpower was the most-read news story of the past decade, surpassing such events as the Iraq War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, concludes The Global Language Monitor LLC, a U.S. media tracking group.

There's a strong-and-growing interest in the Asian heavyweight, now the world's No. 3 overall economy, said Global Language President Paul JJ Payack.

"The rise of China to new economic heights has changed – and continues to challenge – current international order," Payack said. "It is with little surprise that its ongoing transformation has topped all other news stories in a decade [that's been marked] by war, economic catastrophe, and natural disasters."

The Austin, Tex.-based Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm to search printed and electronic media – as well as the Internet – for word-usage trends. The results of the analysis were reported by the state-run China Daily newspaper, and in other global publications.

According to Payack, the list was compiled based on the number of citations over the course of the decade on the Internet, the blogosphere, including social media, as well as the top 50,000 print and electronic media sites.

The China story topped news about the 2003 Iraq War, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the resultant war on terror, and this year's surprise death of pop icon Michael Jackson.

Completing the top 10 list were last year's election of U.S. President Barack Obama, the global recession of 2008-2009, Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in 2005, the war in Afghanistan, and the onset of the economic meltdown.

Here is The Global Language Monitor's list of the Top 15 stories of the decade:

  1. Rise of China.
  2. Iraq War: Stories about the buildup, invasion, hunt for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and the controversy over the number of U.S. troops deployed in Iraq were tops in print and electronic media outlets.
  3. Sept. 11 Attacks: The attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., seemed to set the tone for the new decade.
  4. War on Terror: U.S. President George W. Bush's response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
  5. The Death of Michael Jackson: A remarkably high ranking considering his death occurred in the final year of the decade.
  6. The Election of U.S. President Barack Obama: The historic election of an African-American to the U.S. presidency.
  7. Global Recession of 2008-2009: The on-going world economic restructuring as opposed to the initial "economic meltdown" or "financial tsunami."
  8. Hurricane Katrina: Devastation strikes New Orleans after the levies collapse, leading to a level of destruction that's almost too shocking to believe.
  9. War in Afghanistan: Ignites a political firestorm that continues to burn.
  10. Economic Meltdown/Financial Tsunami: A political/economic challenge that will take years to resolve.
  11. Beijing Olympics.
  12. South Asian Tsunami.
  13. War against the Taliban.
  14. Death of Pope John Paul II.
  15. Osama bin Laden eludes capture.

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