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More than a year after protests for democracy in Hong Kong dominated the news, some major questions about China have been answered, and pretty decisively at that. The main takeaway is that “the China hawks” were right — with one important caveat.

China is an aggressive, expansionist power with anti-democratic values, and it is not turning toward liberal ideals. Nor does being “nice” to China yield dividends in terms of encouraging good behavior. As long ago as 2015, writers such as Christopher Balding were far better guides to reality, and far better predictors, than were the China accommodationists.

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