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China

China: Only More Democracy Can End Abuse Of Power, 'Demolition' Of Rights

Op-Ed: Chinese want to know how to combat the abuse of power by top officials who force demolition of people’s homes to make way for new development projects. But rather than focusing on cracking down after the fact, citizens must simply demand a say in w

A Beijing apartment building being torn down (stan)
A Beijing apartment building being torn down (stan)
Yang Tao

BEIJING - Responding to the frequent clashes between the public and local authorities, the Chinese government has finally decided to punish the officials involved in controversial demolition projects. Last week, four ministries - Supervision, Land & Resources, Housing and the State Council -- together decided to prosecute 31 civil servants involved in 11 forced eviction and demolition incidents that have caused deaths and injuries in the first half of 2011.

Another 26 officials have been disciplined by the Chinese Communist Party and held accountable by the administration. According to the Jinan Daily report, in the particularly violent demolition case in Changchun City, not only were many officials punished, but the mayor was ordered by the Ministry of Supervision to make a public apology.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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