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Letter from Beijing

China isn’t helping itself by employing so many top graduates in state jobs

By Helen Gao   September 2013

I was ambling down a Beijing alleyway, where the traditional houses lining the road have been converted into posh cafes, when a voice called out my name. I turned: a pair of astonished eyes was gazing at me from under immaculately trimmed eyebrows. “I can’t believe it’s you! Do you remember me?”

Slowly, the familiar face of a girl with a ponytail and a friendly smile emerged from my memory. “Of course! We were together in the student council in high school, right?” I beamed. “How have you been?”

“I’m doing well. I’m working for a guoqi.”

“What kind of…

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