In this morning’s news there is another story about a high-profile public confession. State-run media has been trotting these out every few days lately. At the same time, though, there are as many stories of prisoners tortured to death or dying by suicide or under mysterious circumstances, casting doubt on the authenticity of the confessions we hear. Taken as a whole, I come away with a picture of an empire that, in spite of some recent house cleaning and lofty rhetoric, is more corrupt and repressive than ever. Economically, such a system won’t stand indefinitely. Corruption means that people who are trying to get work done are being impeded, particularly whenever there is something new involved. It is like working with one hand tied behind your back — you fall behind the pace of the world around you. That is where I see China going in the next decade, until something eventually breaks.