Illustrations by Ulla Puggaard. Produced by Tom Hannen.
"We will bury you." So said Nikita Khrushchev in 1956. The Soviet premier has been quoted with ironic delight by capitalists and liberals since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the decades that followed, the conventional wisdom was that authoritarian states were too corrupt and too rigid to host dynamic economies. The drive for prosperity would push the world towards both free markets and democracy.
We have recently discovered, however, that history is not done with us yet. China's very gradual, but perceptible trend towards openness, has recently gone into reverse, at the same time as the economy has powered ahead.
At this autumn's Communist party conference, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the party, the president of the Republic, and chairman of the Central Military Commission, consolidated his power still further and held out socialism with Chinese characteristics as a new choice that other nations could follow. China's government looks more like a dictatorship than it has in decades. It jails critics, sensors foreign publishers, and uses its economic clout to bully smaller countries across Asia.
While its economy still depends on state controlled companies, it is also a leader in technology. Thanks to companies like Alibaba and Tencent, growth is strong and the middle class is growing. Should the West's liberal democracies fear a Khrushchev style burial? No. China's economic success should be embraced. It has raised millions out of poverty.
But western leaders should also stand up for both democratic values and free market capitalism, especially, in Asia. This is why US President Trump's trip to the region where he rejected multilateral co-operation on trade, and said little in defence of American values, while meeting with the region's strongman, was such a bitter disappointment.
It may have been naive to believe that prosperity, free markets, and democracy, were conjoined. That does not mean that liberal values should be abandoned. Instead, it makes their defence an even stronger imperative.