Will the world's most populous nation embrace history's most successful system for creating and spreading wealth? One official from that nation says he hopes so. Xu Jiatun, communist China's chief representative in Hong Kong, told a newspaper in that city that China "should systematically absorb the beneficial experience and knowledge from modern capitalism," such as free competition. He called capitalism a "great creation of human civilization."Xu's comments must of course be judged in light of his desire to assure Hong Kong's citizens that they have nothing to fear from the communist regime's takeover of their city, scheduled for 1997. But combined with other signals from China, they suggest that a number of Beijing leaders may want Confucius to team up with Adam Smith. The sooner that happens, the better for all Chinese.