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A hard turn

The Uighur protests could strengthen the hand of China's hardliners—at a cost to us all

By Charles Grant   August 2009

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After playing a constructive role at the London G20 summit in April, China gave $50bn to the IMF and dispatched ships to catch pirates off the Somali coast. Optimists will say that such good behaviour is a further sign of the long-term integration of China into the global economy and political system. They can point to 30 years of economic reform, the steady growth of personal freedom within China and even modest moves towards democracy, such as village elections in many provinces.

But recent events must give optimists pause for thought. On a…

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