From The Peking Duck (link)
It was towards the end of my trip to China that the tall, beautiful communist-party girl turned and asked the killer question. "So, Mr Boris Johnson,?" she said, "have you changed your mind about anything?" And I was forced to reply that, yes, I had. Darned right I had.
I had completely changed my mind about the chances of democracy in China. Before flying to Beijing I had naively presumed that the place was not just exhibiting hysterical economic growth, but was about to enter a ferment of political change. I had assumed that Tony Blair was right when, in 2005, he went there and announced that the 1.3 billion Chinese were on an Àúunstoppable march√¢" towards multi-party politics. I now know that he was talking twaddle, and, what is more, that his Foreign Office advisers knew it.
Like most reporters of my generation I spent a certain amount of the 1980s in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and we all remember that sense of suppressed mutiny, how easy it was to find people willing to prophesy over late-night vodka or slivovitz that one day the lid would blow off the cooker and Western-style democracy would be ushered in. Well, it's not that way in China today.