I had a dinner with a rich Chinese art dealer last week, and I asked him how’s business. Booming, was the answer. Mr Li, we shall call him, handles Chinese antiquities, paitings from the Ming dynasty and later, in the traditional Chinese style, plus exquisite calligraphy examples. Prices have gone through the roof recently. We were getting on well, and when I asked him why, he answered: "Corruption." People buy these items largely to give as presents to the responsible individuals in the relevant departments, not wholly as a mark of respect.