We just had a discussion about China as one of the 5 primary civilizations in my Rise of Civilization class and my professor brought this book up. Chinese vessels displaced 3000 tons of water, while the largest English vessels only displaced 300 tons, I was awe struck by this. Its ironic, because the evidence and the historical record said that even with this vast technological superiority, the Chinese didn't pursue colonialism because they considered their limited experience with foreign cultures as a pollution to their culture. Too bad that ethnocentrism was of the wrong sort to protect them from that pollution which they feared - maybe if they had been motivated to wrangle all of the world under their stewardship like the European powers our world would look quite different.
If anyone has any other information on this book, or archaeological/historical evidence about Chinese technological superiority please share it.