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China is heading into the Year of the Tiger with a roar. Last week it was announced that China has surpassed the U.S. as the world's biggest auto market, and this week Chinese state media is reporting that the country's exports leaped 17.7 percent in December, overtaking Germany as the global leader.

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"There is no U.S. footprint" is the proud boast of one of the Pentagon's propaganda contractors, and it prompts the questions: Why not? What are they ashamed of? One thing is that most of us in this democracy did not know we were paying for this vast official propaganda operation until we read it in Jeff Gerth's excellent investigative piece in The New York Times. A truly free press is our most valuable export, and its reputation should not be undermined by the Bushies' addiction to government propaganda.

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