Carlin Romano last visited China 25 years ago, when he spent two days in Guangzhou, Guangdong's provincial capital.
After that very brief glimpse, he says what strikes him most about China today is how modern and energetic it is.
"And how well-informed so many of its professionals are," Romano adds.
With his years in cultural journalism, Romano says he's optimistic about China.
"Educated Chinese people are thinking a lot about their society and how it can be in the future," he says.
He also sees Chinese officials as caring about society and making lives better for the people.
"They are not in office only for themselves," he says.
His conclusion is based on the various news he has read about China and the friends he has made in China.
He knows that Americans are paying more attention to Chinese culture than ever before, with more classes and lectures on China in schools.
"Fifty years ago, we were trying hard to understand English culture and cared about what's happening in London," he says.
He says now, there are on average 20 to 25 articles about China a week in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal - a sharp contrast from 20 to 30 years ago when there were fewer reports.
And he notices that the American media gives wide coverage to happenings in China, compared to the usual type of foreign news coverage that focuses on politics and disasters.
"American media thinks that everything important happens in China," he says. "They respect Chinese culture, so they will not eroticize China."
Romano plans to bring "the big book" of his life, America the Philosophical, to Chinese audiences.
"For the shared philosophical cultures that are deeply pragmatic and committed to solving concrete and real-world problems in two countries, I think Chinese readers, like American ones, will respond positively to the detail, the color, the literary style, and even the humor in my book, while people used to a more abstract form of philosophy might not," he says.
"The book also shows that a country can be a philosophical one while being an economic power," he adds.