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An unhealthy obsession with all things digital is playing havoc with the way Chinese people interact with each other

Dining out with a friend recently, I only realised that two people sitting opposite us were together when they got up to leave. For over half an hour they had appeared to be strangers: her taking selfies, him reading on his phone. When I pointed this out to my companion, he replied, “They probably just messaged each other to ask if they should head out.’”

In China, the act of “phubbing,” as it is known (a contraction of “phone-snubbing”) is far more noticeable—and definitely more acceptable—than in many western countries.

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In Prospect’s June issue: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Martha Gill and Helen Pidd examine the election chances of the three main political parties. Wheatcroft explores the Tories’ remarkable ability to rise from the ashes and assert dominance, Gill questions why the Lib Dem revival isn’t quite getting off the ground and Pidd examines Labour’s prospects after poor performances in the recent council and mayoral elections. Also in this issue: Christine Ockrent asks if France’s new President Emmanuel Macron can charm the parts of France that didn’t initially vote for him, AC Grayling assesses whether the rise and rise of drone warfare warrants a new ethical code for conflict and Francine Stock explores whether Pixar can continue to captivate modern audiences.