From Mr Jonathan Fenby.

Sir, David Pilling rightly draws attention to the domestic challenges facing China, which provide a significant counterweight to the view that the People’s Republic is on track to dominate the world (“China’s sense of superiority and injustice is a potent mix”, June 6).

One might add that huge internal challenges were also present, in different form, alongside the foreign interventions of the “century-and-a- half of humiliation” which he highlights. The damage done to China by the great revolts of the mid-19th century, the weakness of the late Qing dynasty, the Boxer Rising, the warlord decade, the weakness of the Nationalist regime and the civil war from 1945 to 1949 was at least as serious as anything inflicted by the Japanese, Russians, British and others – not to mention the traumas of the Mao era that followed. But it is always easiest to blame the foreigners.

Against that background, it is hardly surprising if President Xi Jinping and his colleagues put a premium on stability; the problem is that they define this on their own terms as meaning one-party rule, which is increasingly out of kilter with the society spawned by the growth that the party needs to claim the right to exercise the contemporary Mandate of Heaven.

Jonathan Fenby, London WC1, UK

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