Chasing the Dragon

Time Warner Goes to China and Gets Shanghaied by Its Hosts

Ignatius said that, actually, human rights did come up, at a panel he moderated on China's legal system. He raised the issue with Pearlstine's knowledge, after which U.S. lawyer Jerome Cohen "ran with it" and "we had an open and lively discussion with no topic off-limits."

According to Ignatius, Cohen said that human rights is a concern, but that foreign investment will spur long-term development of rule of law, helping China develop into a more "normal, reasonable" society. "So he advises companies to stay the course, without, of course, becoming shills for Beijing."

Pollan Got There First

Michael Pollan apparently did not get his ideas about drugs from Joshua Wolf Shenk. The controversy involves Shenk's article in the May issue of Harper's and Pollan's essay in the September 12 New York Times Magazine. Two weeks ago, Press Clips noted thematic similarities between the two and questioned whether Pollan should have credited Shenk as a source.

Reached last week, Pollan denied borrowing two ideas: 1) that "certain drugs once legal are now illegal, and vice versa" and 2) that "the legal status of many drugs seems unrelated to their potential to cause pleasure, violence, addiction, or death." In fact, he had already raised these points in a May 1997 Harper's article on opium, which tends to deflate the argument.

Pollan admitted he was influenced by Shenk, as well as by David Lenson's book, On Drugs. Says Pollan, "Writers influence one another all the time."

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