I had only just arrived in Lahore, Pakistan when I was informed this morning of the death of my old friend Munnu Bhai. The news produced in me a profound sense of sadness and loss. I had known Munnu Bhai for a period of more than 20 years, during which we established a close and rewarding friendship. I knew him as a highly talented and respected journalist, a fine poet and a man of great culture and personal charm. He also had a wicked sense of humor and would frequently burst into bouts of uncontrollable and infectious laughter in the course of our conversations about politics, literature and philosophy.

At the recent 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held on 18-24 October in Beijing, Xi Jinping took the opportunity to let the world know that China is a “mighty force” soon to reclaim its rightful position as the “Middle Kingdom”, i.e. the centre of humanity. Behind all the bluster, however, one could detect unease at the prospect of growing internal instability that flows from the impending crisis of capitalism.

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