History's Lessons

For more than half a century, Beijing has branded Chiang Kai-shek, the Generalissimo who ruled China for two decades, as an enemy of the people, heading a feudal, despotic regime that was swept away by the tide of historical inevitability in the communist victory of 1949. But now, 28 years after his death in Taiwan, the administration he headed on the mainland seems strangely familiar and relevant to the future of the world's most populous nation.

The parallels between the first decade of nationalist rule and the China of today are striking. So much so that the question...

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