The New Emperors: Mao and Deng, a Dual Biography
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The concept of emperor in China is intimately associated with that of the dragon. China's dragons, guardians of the throne, are unlike those of the West. They are benign and protective but can turn like terrible emperors on the people. If they do so, it is the fault of the people, not the dragons. They breathe fire and thrash their tail only if betrayed, a convenient concept for an emperor.