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1979 and all that

Global politics are still shaped by five seismic events in a single year

L-R: Margaret Thatcher came to power in the UK; Pope John Paul II visited Poland; Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the mujahedin; Deng Xiaoping revolutionised China’s economy; Soviet troops intervened in Afghanistan

In May 1979, a budding American businessman named Tom Gorman arrived at the Canton Trade Fair, communist China’s biannual exhibition for foreign investors. Gorman was one of a small handful of westerners who had been trying for years to do business with the government in far-away Beijing, and like the others he had little to show so far…

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