Man Of The Year: Beyond Confucius and Kung Fu

A varied landscape, countless dialects, and traces of a "decadent" past

Ever since the first Yankee clipper set sail for Canton in 1784, China has held a compelling fascination for Americans. Traders and other early visitors to the Celestial Kingdom returned home with tales of teeming millions, exotic landscapes, seemingly outlandish manners and morals. Even today some Americans have a vision of China that is a fanciful montage of antithetical images: Confucius and Kung Fu; Wellesley-educated Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Mao's "sinister" widow Chiang Ch'ing; highborn ladies tiptoeing painfully on bound feet and...

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