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China’s Communist Party turns 100 this year. Expect mixed signals

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IN LATE MAY 1949, as China’s civil war neared a blood-soaked end, America’s consul-general in Shanghai, John Cabot, was startled when resident Western businessmen cheered the city’s capture by Communist soldiers. Foreign traders and factory bosses admired the discipline of the troops, who declined gifts of food and handed out notices in English promising safety for “normal” businesses.Listen to this storyYour browser does not support the element.Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android.Blithely discounting the Communists’ pro-Soviet, anti-imperialist rhetoric, the Westerners focused on the party’s stated mission to save the country from …

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