Sichuan

The mixed legacy of a decade of leadership.

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“Chinese law is a big joke.” So says Ai Weiwei, China’s premier artist, in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary which was released late last month. In recent years, Ai has been the most prominent critic of his government’s repression and lack of transparency.

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Hurricane Katrina is the costliest disaster in U.S. history and among the three costliest in the world ever. As such, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast stand as a lesson about what it takes to rebuild after a major catastrophe. Unfortunately, the demand for such learning seems to only grow.

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Behold China

For decades, various Chinese officials and outsiders have reassured the world that the country’s Communist Party leadership eventually planned to open up its one-party political system. The regime would undertake major political reforms and liberalization, it was said, to accompany the economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late ’70s. It was merely a question of choosing the right time. Writing in Foreign Affairs two years ago, John L.

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