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There's been some depressing, though unsurprising news out of China today.

Exports — the teeth and claws of the Chinese economic beast — fell last month by 2.8 percent, the China Daily says. Imports dropped 21.3 percent.

The increasingly weak economic news has Beijing worried, as November's $586 billion economic stimulus package, the government's largest ever, made clear.

China needs rapid economic growth to absorb the millions of workers that, still, flow from the countryside to its urban areas. These people need work. As Marx and Mao knew, unruly crowds can be a dangerous thing. Meanwhile thousands of Chinese factories are closing, throwing more Chinese out of work.

U.S. businesses are playing a part in China's recent troubles. Kathleen E. McLaughlin, one of our Beijing correspondents, has more on this troubling development.

So keep an eye on the dragon. It's draggin.'