Let me begin with a story, a true story—the story of my one appearance on a lecture stage with Dr. Henry Kissinger. This happened, or rather failed to happen, in the month of September, 2001.

The U.S. State Department runs a Foreign Visitors Program, under whose auspices people from various parts of the world, people distinguished in the arts or professions, are brought to the United States to meet with American counterparts from their own lines of work. I suppose the idea is that mutual understanding will be created thereby, the veil of ignorance lifted, the fetters of ancient prejudice struck off, the dogs of war silenced, and so on. Whether this result is actually attained in many cases, I cannot say. In the particular case I am going to tell you about, it never had a chance to happen.

As a journalist who has been writing about Chinese affairs for nearly twenty years, I am sometimes...


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