With the Chinese New Year starting yesterday it is worth considering how far the country has come since the death of Mao. Booksmith has just started reading The Elephant and the Dragon by Robyn Meredith. So far it is proving an interesting read. In the opening chapter she gives a vivid description of life before Deng Xiaoping's reforms: very unpleasant. However, life is now considerably better for most following the relative economic freedoms now permitted in much of China. Lets hope political freedoms follow.