As part of a rather crazy rush conferences in China last week, I went from one in Nanjing celebrating 120 years since the death of Engels to the World Cultural Forum in Beijing. It was organised by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and had many Russians present – a sign of the increasingly close ties between the two countries that make up the bulk of Eurasia. However, my favourite moment was a paper by a general from the People’s Liberation Army. He saluted us before he began and delivered his paper with military overtones, as though he were giving orders. The paper concerned the role of Marxism in the culture of the PLA.

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Even better, he posed for a photo with me, since we were on the same panel:

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