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Hu would have thought?

We’ve been planning a China newsletter for two years. We started working in earnest in October, and at first planned to launch in February. Now we’ve got issue one at the printers, ready to be mailed next week, and guess who’s visiting the United States?

President Hu’s visit raises many of the questions that were on our minds as we planned the first issue of Guanxi: The China Letter, the theme of which is “The China Threat?” The lead story is called “China’s Thirst for Oil,” by Anthony Loh, and we also cover the valuation of the yuan and the Taiwan question. But we take a broad view, too, not just looking at pressing issues of today but at Chinese history, and China’s role in the world. We’re tremendous enthusiasts and are becoming acutely aware of the need for cultural literacy about China. We’d even used the term “Shanghai time” ourselves without recognizing immediately that there is no such thing, at least not in the sense we meant, Shanghai as distinguished from other Chinese cities, because all of China is on the same time.

Out in the west, though, schools and shops just open later!

I just talked to someone in Washington, who says the protesters are out in force. Falun Gong, in particular, has people on the subways. We’ll be taking a close look at the role of religion and faith in China soon, and at Falun Gong as well. I’ve found Falun Gong proponents quite aggressive, both in the United States and Europe, a little out of keeping with the way they portray the movement. But I look forward to learning more, when we commission an expert to write on this for Guanxi.

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