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China’s year of the anniversary

History is a dangerous matter in China. This year the country's leaders must navigate some tricky anniversaries

By Jonathan Spence   July 1999

The heads of many of the world’s leading companies have already booked hotel rooms in Shanghai and Beijing for this autumn, to join the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October 1949. The availability of a large number of world-class hotel rooms in the two cities, with all attendant amenities, are symbols of what is to be celebrated: a China which, while still nominally under the control of the Communist party, has become deeply dependent on foreign business to reward its own massive bureaucracy.

As they applaud each other’s speeches…

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