In many ways this book began while I lived in Beijing with my parents in the 1990s, the era of reform and opening up inaugurated by Deng Xiaoping when he declared that ‘poverty is not socialism, to be rich is glorious’. Our apartment was in the Australian Embassy, behind the Worker’s Stadium, and not far by push-bike from the American Embassy. In May 1999, I rode into the midst of a student demonstration in the streets adjacent to the embassy. US warplanes taking part in the NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia had destroyed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three and wounding twenty Chinese diplomats and journalists. Chinese students gathered outside the American Embassy to protest, holding banners denouncing American imperialism. As I entered the fray, I explained to those around me that I was Australian, not American. Taking in my Caucasian appearance, and T-shirt sporting a koala shaking hands with a panda, one bemused protester answered my pronouncements by observing that America and Australia were really one and the same. I mentioned something about Britain and the Commonwealth and he mentioned something about the Opium Wars and the ANZUS Treaty. Here I was, just another representative of the Western imperialists.