In the Shadow of China’s Growing Cities: Farmers Resort to Self-Immolation

Throughout rural China, controversial land acquisitions have been taking place since 2009, often without consent of or compensation to the local residents. In an effort to continually expand China’s growing cities, the Party has been forcibly acquiring land in the surrounding rural areas. Here we would call this eminent domain, and most of the victims of this process are pretty angry, but China has allowed things to go to a whole new level.… [Read more]

The Value of a Vote

Heading in to work recently, I turned on the radio (yes, just a good old-fashioned FM car radio—I’ll bet you didn’t know those were still in use!) and caught the news mid-story. This is what I heard:

(Interviewee) It was great, the first time I vote for the American president. It’s very amazing, and I’m honored.[Read more]

Do You Have a Flag? Sino-Japanese Relations In Potentially Hot Water

East Asia experienced a series of rapid-fire international relations conundrums over the weekend on the uninhabited islands trailing off from Okinawa in the South China Sea. The Japanese national government, spearheaded by the governor of Tokyo, made a move that upset the Chinese so much that a small group of nationalists made an excursion out to the islands in order to express their grievances.… [Read more]

Qīn’ài de Běijīng–Message From an Angry Global Citizen

Dear Beijing,

I couldn’t help but notice there was another natural disaster. Another one with a pretty bad death toll attached. But these things don’t happen but once every couple hundred years or so, right? Doesn’t it seem like it’s just another day’s worth of incoming reports on supposedly historic disaster-events?

Another major flood rocked China’s capital the last week of July, taking with it 37 Beijingers—up to two dozen confirmed dead by floods in a month.… [Read more]

China: A Land of 20-Somethings with White Hair?

There is an old saying in China dating back well before the upheavals of the 20th century: “You are married until your hair turns white”. Now at a marriageable age, the post 1980s generation, also dubbed the Little Emperors and Empresses, seem to have a different take on things. And their feelings about marriage may just have a deleterious effect on another of China’s most notorious institutions—the one-child policy.… [Read more]

Zapata Revisited

“Tierra y Libertad” (Land and Liberty) was the famous slogan of the Mexican Revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata.  The slogan resonated with the peasants of that era of Mexico, as more and more small farms were taken by the large estates or haciendas.  The Revolution successfully overthrew the despotic regime of Porfirio Díaz, however the disparity between rich and poor is stark and obvious in Latin America today.… [Read more]