Was China ever in the top 3 most powerful countries/empires of the world?

Jun 2017
Wut? China after 1600s isn't the most powerful country in the world due to lack of military and industrial technology compared to the west, how is post 1991 a date worth considering?
China didn't have a modern air force, basically only J-8 is domestically designed and it's already behind the West by a decade, ground forces, composed of outdated heavy weapons and complete lack of decent anti air, and the navy is basically Chinese made battleships that relied on cannons more than missiles. Not to mention the doctrines in place and the economy barely starting to roll.
Because forum rules say we can't directly bring up things that occurred after 1991. Pretty sure they are disputing pre 1600 though.
Mar 2019
If you make a list of the most powerful states in china, or the most powerful states in the world, you can rank the relative power of the Jin and the Southern Song at various periods.
Is the Byzantium empire a vassal to the Sassanids? They also paid tribute when they were defeated, and both to the Byzantines and the Southern Song, those tributes had little effect on their economies.

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