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China

Desperately Seeking A Son-In-Law: Inside A Modern Chinese Singles' Market

In Beijing parks and throughout the rest of China, “singles’ markets” are held, organized by the parents eager to marry off their children.

Advertisements at the marriage market in Shanghai's People's Park
Advertisements at the marriage market in Shanghai's People's Park
Cyrille Pluyette

BEIJING — Several hundred people are gathered in Zhongshan Park, just next to the Forbidden City, in the heart of Beijing. Carefully lined up along pathways framed by high red walls and venerable cypresses, they are surprisingly subdued. Each of them — all adults of a certain age — stands behind a small piece of paper placed on the cement slabs. Several tap their feet to fight against the cutting cold of this winter afternoon.

The pieces of paper (small posters really) are protected by laminated pockets and pinned to the ground by stones. They contain inscriptions, either printed or handwritten. Some are decorated with photos of young people. The gathering is a market of sorts. Only the items on offer, it turns out, are people — single people, to be precise.

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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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