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As Japan deals with China, the nation needs to get an accurate picture of what the giant neighbor is and where it is headed, rather than be swayed by what could be a larger-than-life image of the new economic and military power in East Asia, China watchers said at a recent symposium in Tokyo.

Chinese government policies may increasingly be influenced by the country’s “public opinion.” But does that really reflect the diverse views of its population, or is it determined by the “atmosphere” of public sentiment that tends to stifle dissent?

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