There’s been no joking as the apologies to China have come thick and fast in recent weeks, issued not by teenage singers but by some of the largest and richest multinational corporations in the world—the German luxury car manufacturer Daimler, the Marriott Hotel chain, Delta Airlines, and others. Like Chou Tzu-yu’s statement of regret, moreover, the apologies have been striking in their abjectness, their reaffirmation of China’s position on crucial issues like Taiwan and Tibet, even the use of boilerplate language right out of China’s propaganda lexicon.

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