August 22, 2011
SHUNHO - Liu Changjiang is a villager from the Shunho District of Henan Province. He is single, has no family and lives in a senior's home. Luckily for him, he is one of the few people for whom the government guarantees a state retirement.
But recently, he was also the unlikely recipient of a vasectomy, which was performed at a local family planning clinic specializing in sterilization surgery. Among the family planning measures used in China, vasectomy is one of the most effective, typically practiced by couples who already have two children and are under 40 years old. Changjiang is 58.
As it would appear, Liu wasn't really "qualified" for the vasectomy. Not only is he childless, but in the eyes of local villagers, he is "a bit simple." Rumors are he's never even had a girlfriend. So why sterilize him? Most likely, say some locals, to fulfill the municipal government's family planning target numbers.
One day this past March, another resident at the nursing home, Wang, told Mr. Changjiang: "Let's go! I'm taking you to the hospital for a health examination!" Outside the home, someone was waiting to take them directly to the Yongcheng Family Planning Center.
Once at the clinic, Changjiang realized he was to undergo sterilization surgery. Naturally, he was very reluctant. So Wang, Changjiang's best friend from the nursing home, said: "If you do it, you'll be paid."
"How much?" Changjiang wanted to know.
"Three hundred yuan ($47)," Wang replied.
"Okay!" the now willing patient replied.
According to one Shunho official familiar with the episode, local authorities paid Wang 800 yuan ($125) to convince his friend to go through with the surgery. After paying 300 of that to Changjiang, Wang ended up with 500 yuan, or $78.
Pressure from the top
Why is the local village willing to fork out this kind of cash to "fake" its sterilization obligations? Because of pressure from on high. One anonymous village official confirmed that the local government has a family planning goal to meet each year, so each village is given a vasectomy and abortion quota.
In the past three years, the annual quota for Changjiang's village was eight vasectomies and five abortions. The quota is set based on population size. "If we do no meet the target, the village will be penalized," the anonymous town official explained.
The problem for the town is that people rarely agree to be sterilized. "Nobody really goes for vasectomy any more," said one woman being examined in the Yongcheng Family Planning Center. "Everybody bribes the officials to get false certificates. Vasectomy is very harmful. After a man has it done, he won't be able to do heavy work any more."
A false certificate can cost thousands of yuan, the woman added. But there are discounts available for people who have friends among the town's party officials, according to one worker at the Yongcheng Family Planning Center.
The certificates themselves, however, don't solve the quota problem. A man can use a fake certificate to "escape the knife," but the quota numbers won't be tallied off until someone actually goes through with the surgery. Thus the need for people like Changjiang, who serve as "replacements." According to the local official: "the doctor does not check the identity of the person who undergoes surgery".
Returning to the nursing home, Changjiang told the facility's director about the vasectomy surgery. The man didn't believe him until he took Changjiang for a check up in the home's medical center. At least Changjiang is now exempt from doing any heavy work at the facility.
Changjiang's nephew first heard about the surgery a month after it was performed. He didn't dare complain to local authorities. All he said was: "Tell me, isn't this a farce that a 60-year-old who is not even married can be taken for a vasectomy?"
Read the original article in Chinese
Photo - Praziquantel
The Economic Observer is a weekly Chinese-language newspaper founded in April 2001. It is one of the top business publications in China. The main editorial office is based in Beijing, China. Inspired by the Financial Times of Britain, the newspaper is printed on peach-colored paper.
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Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
October 20, 2021
Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.
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• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.
• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.
• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.
• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.
• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.
• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.
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"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction
Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.
🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.
😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.
🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.
— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.
🇮🇷🎓 IN OTHER NEWS
Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement
Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.
Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.
The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.
Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.
Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."
Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.
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