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January 11, 2004



Well, not entirely uncharted. Viewed in the long context of Chinese history it has always been ruled by strong autocratic central governments that demand conformity. It has been a long time since I studied Chinese history but I sense nothing radically new here. I think they will become much more powerful and, as always, very much on thier own terms. That may well not include many western notions like human rights. A colleague just returned from Africa where he had to stay in a third rate hotel because all the first and second rate ones were full of Chinese. Evidently they are getting more heavily involved in Africa - turning economic success into greater projection of power. I hope that continuing engagement with China will lead to a lessening of the cultural gulf between us, but I don't think it was ever going to be easy.

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