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It’s May Day, a day that sets the United States apart in a most peculiar way: we are the only nation on earth that does not celebrate this as a workers’ holiday. I remember a friend in China enquiring about this, because she understood that it was an important American holiday. I discovered that May Day (which I knew only from the U.K. Bank Holiday) was indeed an American invention, from all the way back to 1886, in Chicago. But May Day is also a day to celebrate springtime, and it seems altogether appropriate for the launch of our first monthly publication, Guanxi: The China Letter. This journal is designed for professionals who are engaged with China in some way, providing engaging articles about current issues along with analysis and deep background. We’re having an exciting time putting it together, and we’re also using it to encourage our readers to join us in learning Chinese. American students are turning to non-Western languages in school and especially to Chinese, and the same trend is seen in Europe. But those of us who did not have the opportunity to learn Chinese when we were young have a vast range of ways to acquire some knowledge now. My Guanxi blog is going to be an account of my efforts, in middle age, to master the basics of the language of the Middle Kingdom.

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