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US comedian and political commentator Bill Maher caricatured the US and China last Friday night on his HBO politics talk show. In poking fun at the US’s people and their democratic government his “court jester” antics struck a chord.

As is the case with all good comedy, he captured an element of truth we all recognise. He called Americans “the Silly People” and the Chinese “as serious as a prison fight”. The governments in Beijing and the US were “an authoritarian government that tells everyone what to do” and “a representative government that can’t do anything at all”...

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