China’s Growing Body Art Movement
Changing economic and cultural conditions in socially conservative China have given birth to a burgeoning body art movement, and Chinese women are battling mores to ink up. Shanghai in particular has become the center of tattoo production in the country, with some estimates putting the number of tattoo artists in China’s largest city as high as 2,000. While several ethnic groups (including the Dulong, Dai, and Li) have had historical tattooing traditions, contemporary Chinese body art has emerged from the relaxation of legal and cultural prohibitions on tattooing in China and the resurgence of tattooing in global popular culture. For women in particular, body art has come to mark an assertion of both identity and bodily autonomy. Recent media coverage has chronicled the dismantling of the tattoo taboo and the uptake of body art among Chinese women.
“Tattooed and proud: Chinese women peel away stigmas” (Agence France-Presse, via France 24 | December 2017)
“Good girls, not gangsters? Tattoos no longer taboo in China” (CNN | August 2015)
“Shanghai Inked: The Artists Redefining Tattoos in China” (That’s Shanghai | November 2015)
Wen Shen: The Vanishing Art of Chinese Tribal Culture
First female chief executive chosen in Hong Kong
- Carrie Lam was elected chief executive of Hong Kong by an electoral committee in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, inheriting growing divisions between a youth-led pro-democracy movement and increasing Beijing influence.
- The election was mired in controversy as the committee is stacked with pro-China business and political figures, seen by critics as promoting more Communist Party control over Hong Kong affairs.
- Lam led the failed effort to reform Hong Kong’s electoral process, in which Beijing sought to pre-screen candidates before presenting options for direct popular vote.
“Carrie Lam Wins Vote to Become Hong Kong’s Next Leader” (The New York Times | March 2017)
“Hong Kong’s first female leader a ’tilted bridge’ over troubled water” (Reuters | March 2017)
“Newly elected Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vows to unite sharply divided city” (South China Morning Post | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Bobby Yip/Reuters)
Chinese feminist group’s social media accounts suspended
- The Weibo account for prominent feminist group Feminist Voices was recently suspended, with the group’s social media editor suspecting posts about anti-Trump demonstrations in the U.S. having spurred the gag.
- Weibo administrators indicated the group will be unable to post through the account for 30 days for “violating national laws.”
- Beyond the suspension, activists reported broadening crackdowns on feminist activity, including social media attacks by commentators paid by the government to support the Chinese Communist Party on social media.
“Chinese Feminist Group’s Social Media Account Suspended” (The New York Times | February 2017)
“Chinese Feminists Protest Gag Order on Social Media Account” (Radio Free Asia | February 2017)
“Women In China Are Protesting After A Feminist Account Was Shut Down For Posting About The Women’s March” (BuzzFeed News | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Feminist Voices, via The New York Times)
Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas
Christians see restrictions on Christmas celebrations as crackdown by Chinese government continues
- A hotel in Zhejiang province canceled plans to host two services by local churches after a warning from the government.
- Zhejiang authorities have also moved to prevent informal “house churches” from operating and have banned all forms of religious activity in hospitals.
- Officials have condemned many forms of religious expression in the name of national security, considering Christianity an example of the “infiltration of hostile Western forces.”
“China Cracks Down on Christmas Celebrations, Bans Protestant Services” (Radio Free Asia)
“China’s Zhejiang Bans Religious Activities in Hospitals as Crackdown Widens” (Radio Free Asia, August 2016)
“Decapitated Churches in China’s Christian Heartland” (The New York Times, May 2016)
(Image Credit: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
Popular website for Chinese Muslims goes down following posting of Xi-critical letter
- China Muslim Net, a site focused on content related to Hui Muslims in the country, became inaccessible after the site published a letter critical of President Xi Jinping, though the official cause of the issue has not been revealed.
- The letter reportedly denounced Xi for the jailing of advocates and intellectuals and called for the release of Kwong Pyong, a student who disappeared after posting pictures of himself online wearing a satirical t-shirt comparing Xi to Hitler.
- The Chinese government has cracked down on religious expression and expressed fears of extremism in the country as it has engaged in protracted conflict with Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
“Popular Chinese Muslim website down after posting letter critical of Xi” (Reuters)
“China Shutters Muslim Website After Protest Letter to PresidentChina Shutters Muslim Website After Protest Letter to President” (Radio Free Asia)
“Chinese Muslim website blocked after Xi Jinping letter” (Al Jazeera/AFP)
Clashes erupt as newly elected pro-democracy officials in Hong Kong ousted by Beijing
- As many as 10 newly elected members to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council may lose their seats as the Chinese government has declared that improperly declared oaths of office disqualify them from office.
- The Chinese parliament passed a resolution removing two newly elected Hong Kong officials for inserting a slur against China and a pledge to the “Hong Kong nation” in their oaths.
- Thousands of protesters (including a large contingent of lawyers) took to the street, in demonstration against the government’s stance, clashing with police and denouncing increased intervention from Beijing into semi-autonomous Hong Kong’s affairs.
“8 More Pro-Democracy Lawmakers in Hong Kong May Lose Seats” (The New York Times)
“Clashes, Pepper Spray in Hong Kong Amid Angry Protests Over China’s Intervention” (Radio Free Asia)
“China moves to bar Hong Kong activists as fears grow over intervention” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: Vincent Yu/Associated Press, via The New York Times)