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Cynicism explains a flawed new EU-China commercial pact

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BUOYED BY A growing economy, cheered by a domestic public united by the fight against covid-19, and eager to start shipping vaccines to friends around the world, China’s rulers feel history turning their way. A recurring phrase in their speeches hails “changes unseen in a hundred years”. Bluntly, Communist Party chiefs feel China is rising and democratic countries—battered by recession and racked by partisan disputes—are falling behind.As 2021 dawned, the European Union offered China a further boost by agreeing to a commercial pact that will bind some powerful European companies still more tightly to China. The deal …

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