Editor’s note for Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dear reader,

In 2007, I visited North Korea. Like most foreign tourists to that strange place, I was dragged through a series of monuments to the country’s greatness, including the Juche Tower, a kitschy pagoda with an electric flame on top that is supposed to symbolize North Korea’s spirit of independence.

At the base of the tower is a room full of plaques of dedication sent by various North Korea admiration societies around the world, including from Bangladesh, Gambia, and the city of Bangui in the Central African Republic.  

The Juche Tower came to my mind today by a story in the nationalist rag Global Times today: Chinese medical expert decorated by Djibouti for COVID-19 prevention. It’s a reminder that despite China’s awesome economic and growing military power, Beijing is stuck on North Korea levels when it comes to soft power.

But the U.S. is set to join China in short-sighted idiocy about how to wield the power of attractiveness. See out top story below on new American moves to boot Chinese students out of the country.

Our word of the day is People’s Liberation Army College background: 解放军院校背景 jiěfàngjūn yuànxiào bèijǐng.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

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