I am greatly honored to have had the opportunity to serve as president of the Association for Asian Studies during the past year, and I am cognizant of the distinction of this afternoon's occasion. This being Washington, where everything is “political”—even more so perhaps than in Beijing—my original thought was to deliver a political sermon on a theme something like “Bush in China.” In fact, I found a possible text for my homily: a book published in Philadelphia in 1865 by a Presbyterian minister, Charles P. Bush, entitled Five Years in China; or, The Factory Boy Made a Missionary: The Life and Observations of Rev. W. Aitchison. But the Reverend Mr. Bush's hagiographical account of the life of William Aitchison, once a missionary to heathen China, was of little help; and I quickly decided that my talents as a fabulist of this variety were exceedingly limited. Hence the quite different fables to which I shall expose you today.

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