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China and liberty

Greed and admiration have muted western criticism of Beijing. They are both reasons why this author was not allowed to deliver this lecture to Volkswagen employees in Germany

By Ian Buruma   May 2000

Sometimes, without always intending to, television can capture an image which jumps at you. For me, two examples were especially striking. One was on the BBC news of 19th October 1999: a closed horse-drawn carriage clattering its way along the Mall, in London, towards Buckingham Palace. It contained the Queen of England and her official guest, Jiang Zemin, President of the People’s Republic of China. Honour guards flanked the royal carriage. The sky was a perfect blue, with flags fluttering in the autumn breeze: red for China; red, white and blue for Britain. The procession was watched by a few…

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