The Duck had a great one the other day on China’s Charm Offensive, in relation to an KHT article:

The bottom line is this: Lin said this was exactly correct. There are two Chinas and they exist in separate universes. Now, this is not any great revelation. We’ve discussed it here many times, especially in regard to local officials who are free to act at whim with no fear of respite or justice, existing literally in a universe apart from The central Party. Lin said the great paradox here is that despite Hu’s awesome power, he is literally helpless to make any changes in China’s domestic situation, only in its foreign policy (which, granted, can then in turn affect China’s domestic situation).

So I’ve been thinking about this paradox all week. Should we admire Hu Jintao as the Bismarck or Metternich of his time, using political skill to achieve enviable results? Or should we laugh at him for being utterly impotent to effect any meaningful change in the country over which he allegedly rules? If he is so utterly incapable of halting corruption, of freeing the innocent, of enforcing the law, of imprisoning unabashed scoundrel and murderers, why6 does he even live in China? Couldn’t he set up a condo in Bermuda and run China’s foreign policy from there? What difference does it make? According to Lin, he’s literally irrelevant to China’s domestic situation.