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The Times, May 14, 2015

After a 10-year legal battle, the contents of 27 secret letters written by Prince Charles to British ministers were published Tuesday, revealing the extent of the prince's attempts to influence the government.

On the front page of its Thursday edition, The Times ran a picture of the Prince of Wales in front of what have become known as the "black spider memos" (so called because of the prince's scrawled handwriting). According to the London-based newspaper, the heir to the throne wrote to members of the government, including then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, suggesting changes to policies concerning a variety of topics ranging from badger culling to global warming, agriculture, the defense budget and alternative medicine.

The letters are controversial because members of the royal family are not supposed to interfere with governmental matters. He wrote them between September 2004 and April 2005, and they were made public under the Freedom of Information Act on the orders of the Supreme Court.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register and became The Times on 1 January 1788.

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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