"When I first heard about The Vagina Monologues, I was shocked. I thought, how could someone give a play a name like that?” says Xiao Hang. That was five years ago, when Xiao Hang was, by her own admission, “mainstream and quite conservative.” But after volunteering for an NGO in her sophomore year at college, she began to see society through a different lens. She no longer thinks, as she once did, that “it isn’t elegant to talk about your vagina in public.” In fact, she thinks it’s vital to.
Today Xiao Hang is one of the organizers behind Bcome, the Beijing-based feminist group which has put on around a dozen performances of The Monologues this year to mark the ten-year anniversary of its first showing in China. Performed in over 150 countries worldwide in some 50 different languages, Eve Ensler’s play was first shown in the Mainland at Guangzhou’s Sun Yatsen University in 2003.
In their offices just outside Beijing’s third ring road, Xiao Hang and Bcome’s other volunteers are preparing leaflets to send out for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The leaflets have titles such as “20 Misconceptions about Sexual Violence,” “The ABCs of Feminism,” and “Resist Verbal Abuse.”
Read more. [Image: RenRen]
China’s censors are blocking words like “today” and “June 4” from social media as part of the country’s yearly chore to block any reference to the anniversary to the Tiananmen Square massacre 24 years ago. And though the Chinese are running a sophisticated and tight censorship ship, they’re having a bit harder time blocking memes. Yes memes.
Read more. [Images: Weibo]
Dan Drezner is trolling us, and I love it.
This is the Golden Age for television shows that offer commentary, directly or allegorically, on world politics. Shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and NBC’s Revolution examine how humans react to a Hobbesian system in which trust is a scarce commodity. Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s crackerjack The Americans explore the corrosive effects of espionage and counterintelligence during the War on Terror and Cold War respectively. HBO’s Game of Thrones combines a dollop of magic with the realpolitik of 17th-century Europe. I’m here to tell you: Forget all those shows. The true TV connoisseur appreciates that the most insightful television show about world politics airing right now is, obviously, Girls.
…Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, a struggling young writer who clearly represents the United States in all her fading hegemony. She borrows from others in order to afford her current lifestyle. Hannah manages to insert herself into every situation, making it all about her — a process that evokes myriad U.S. military interventions.
As for Hannah’s ostensible best friend, Allison Williams’ Marnie, she exemplifies Germany. There is much to admire in Marnie — her undeniable beauty, her self-assuredness, and her unwillingness to go into debt. Unfortunately, however, Marnie expects everyone else to behave the same way she does — and is truly flummoxed when others seem to prosper using a different recipe for success.
…If the female characters on Girls represent the West, the two most important male characters come from the BRICs. Ray is a coffee-shop manager, the oldest member of the group, and far and away the most cynical and angry character on the show. He scorns just about everything that every other character says or does, but seems unable to make much of himself. Ray is Russia personified. In contrast, Adam — Hannah’s former beau — is China. He’s a force to be reckoned with, but it’s not entirely clear whether he’s socialized into how the rest of Brooklyn society behaves. One could posit that Hannah’s relationship with Adam represents the promise and peril of the “responsible stakeholder" concept. On the one hand, Hannah seems to use her "soft power" to entice Adam into liking her a lot more than he originally thought — in other words, getting him to want what she wants. He begins to socialize with Hannah’s circle of friends. At the same time, Hannah is unsure just how much she wants to engage Adam, reflecting America’s ambivalence in its relationship with China. At the end of the first season, she is quite uneasy about moving in together. The result is an Adam that, much like China, is angry and frustrated at his treatment by others — which in turn leads to bellicose behavior, which in turn leads Hannah to call the cops and try to contain his behavior. The breakdown in the relationship between Hannah and Adam is yet another example of the security dilemma destroying lives.
In fact, waste related to animals made up about 90 percent of organic pollutants in China’s water, according to Wang Dong of the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning. In a 2012 study from Huazhong University, waste from pigs, cattle, sheep, and other animals left 228,900 tonnes (252.6 tons) of biochemical oxygen demand, a standard measure for organic pollution, in part of the Han River in central China. Now, about 15 percent of China’s major rivers are too polluted for safe use, not just from local factories, but farmers who throw animal carcasses and waste into nearby streams.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
In official statements, the United States claims to be a neutral observer in disputes over islands in the South and East China Seas. In fact, major U.S. energy firms have already partnered with Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Philippine state-owned oil companies to develop promising reserves in maritime territories claimed by those countries as well as China — and the United States appears intent on protecting those projects and other interests in the region with military might.
We’re not here to debate whether or not North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, is the sexiest man alive. No, we’re here to snicker that The Onion fooled China’s communist paper into thinking it so. The actual article from the People’s Daily Online, the official newspaper of China’s communist party, isn’t much more than taking a few quotes from the Onion article and smacking them onto a 55-PAGE SLIDESHOW GALLERY of Kim looking all majestic and whatnot.
Read more.[Image: The Korea Times, People’s Daily Online]
The New York Times also covered the story here: How do you say satire in Mandarin?
"But the most surprising fact about the debate’s discussion of China—and the one that tells us the most about the new relationship taking shape the world’s two greatest powers—was that neither candidate in uttered the words, “human rights” in relation to the People’s Republic. That used to be a standard feature… The absence of a discussion of human rights will not go over well in the American human-rights community or with Tibetan groups. For the moment, however, in Beijing it is being greeted with pleasure. China takes careful note of vocabulary—the Foreign Ministry keeps track of the mentions of specific words—and the erosion of human rights from the candidates’ priorities will be taken as a sign, as foreign-affairs specialist Zhu Feng put it, that economic issues are “something they really care more about now than human rights or security.”"- Evan Osnos on China, trade, and human rights in last night’s Presidential debate. Read more. (via newyorker)