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Echoes from history in China’s latest trade trouble

The country has long had a complex relationship with international openness 

By George Magnus  

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Li Xueren/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tiananmen Square records several revolutionary events in China’s recent history, starting with the Burning of Opium in Humen. It was on the banks of the Pearl River Delta in 1839 that China seized and destroyed 1,000 tonnes of opium from British merchants, triggering the First Opium War and the start of what the Chinese call their “century of humiliation” by foreigners. It is a reminder that for China, trade and openness to the outside world…

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