Western complaints about Chinese-manufactured copies are nothing new. In 1801, a certain Captain John E Swords approached Gilbert Stuart to purchase a copy of the painter’s famous portrait of George Washington. Stuart, who had burned before, extracted a promise from Swords as a condition of the sale that he would have no further copies executed.

How did Asia fare in the best books’ races in the English language press? On the whole, it seems better than last year. The following (unscientific) sampling uses a broad definition of “Asian” in it’s selection, but nevertheless, the number of books about Asia, by Asian authors, in translation seems to have increased in the past twelve months, at least as far as end-of-year listings are concerned.