We don't have all the details of Bill Gates' anti-Chinese outburst the other week, but I can't help wondering if the Boy God has finally noticed something that much of corporate America - blinded by greed - has been steadfastly ignoring in its dealings with Beijing. That is, dealing with mainland China is like supping with the Devil - you'd better take a long spoon, and count your fingers afterwards.

The Chinese aren't doing anything wrong, but the fact is that China's loyalty is to itself, that and the Communist party of course. Sure, they will encourage you to invest there in building factories and research centres, but they are not doing it out of altruism. Their aim is to make money out of it and develop China's economy, not to line the pockets of Western bankers and industrialists.

Yet those same bankers and industrialists are pouring money into what we used to call Red China, driven by the same impulses that created the Dotcom boom - everyone else is in there, so we'd better be there too. Never mind its dreadful record on human rights - jailed or executed campaigners don't make money, after all.

Anyway, they can always salve what little conscience they still have left by paying lip-service to the Bush junta's waffle about "constructive engagement", and how helping the Chinese become richer will somehow encourage democracy there. Even though in reality, it seems to have taken the pressure off the Communists by persuading the people to chase wealth instead of democracy.

So will the China bust follow the Dotcom bust? I can't help feeling that it ought to, if only so that the economics of the situation can correct themselves. The problem for greedy Western businesses and governments is that, having given China a taste of the good life, they now need to figure out to avoid the dangerous instability a bust could cause within what is, after all, a nuclear-armed superpower.