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A hotel in Shenzhen
A hotel in Shenzhen
Li Juan

BEIJING — Over the past year more than 50 of China’s starred hotels have taken the initiative of voluntarily downgrading themselves. Chen Miaolin, vice-president of China Tourism Association, summed up the reaction of many: “I have simply never heard of such a thing, and I've worked in this field for decades!”

It is indeed curious, since the number of stars is normally associated with the hotel’s ranking by the way it’s furnished, the service level it provides, and thus its pricing. This is why Chinese hotels, like their counterparts around the world, had long struggled to obtain as many stars as possible, with the top level aiming for the five-star category.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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