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China

A Battle In Beijing As Migrant Workers’ Schools Are Shuttered

Chinese authorities have closed schools attended by the children of illegal migrant workers in the over-populated suburbs of Beijing. Other such schools may be shut down too.

(Wootang01)
(Wootang01)
Brice Pedroletti

BEIJING - Yang Qin is furious. The sheer pettiness of cutting off a school's supply of water and electricity! The 64-year-old former teacher is the principal of the school in Dongba, an urban village in Beijing just east of the fourth peripheral ring road. His students are the kids of folks from poor rural provinces who come to toil in the megalopolis, and live by the tens of thousands in desperately over-crowded conditions on the capital's outskirts.

Many of the children at Yang Qin's school were born in Beijing, yet they still fall into the illegal immigrant category, and are thus not entitled to free public school education. Parents organized themselves to build the Dongba school in 2000 with funding provided by small business owners from the provinces.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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