At the Edge of Empire by Edward Wong review changing state


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It’s hard to think of a country that has changed as fundamentally as China without altering its basic political system. When I first visited Beijing, three weeks before the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, the main avenues of the city were rivers of bicycles. The very few cars you saw were official ones, with senior party figures sitting stiffly in the back. In the street, you’d be surrounded by staring, smiling people who had never seen a European before. When I jotted things in my notebook, they would crane their necks to see the strange, barbaric signs I was making. If...