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Standing up to the chengguan
Standing up to the chengguan
Tao Shun

BEIJING — A few days ago, somebody posted a video taken somewhere on a street in China. It could be almost anywhere. The video showed a little boy defending his grandma, a street vendor, and brandishing a steel pipe against the local "chengguan," agents of the Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau.

The chubby little boy, who looks about three years old, was apparently not at all intimidated by the chengguan who were trying to confiscate his grandma's stall and goods. He even shouted: "Don't touch my grandma! Don't bully my grandma!"

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 90: Three Months Since The Start Of A War That’s Changed The World

Vladimir Putin had planned to roll through Ukraine and splinter the West. While it has not gone according to plan, the destruction and uncertainty left in the path of the invasion has shaken the world.

A soldier of special forces of Ukraine displays his tattoos

Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Few will forget waking up to the news that Thursday morning in February. It was, exactly three months ago, in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 24, when Vladimir Putin sent his armies, missiles and fighter jets across Ukraine’s borders, from points north and east, launching a full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation of 44 million.

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It has, by all accounts, not gone as Putin had planned: the Ukrainian military resisting the much larger, better-equipped Russian invaders; the West unified in its support of Kyiv, through arms shipments and harsh sanctions against Moscow; steadily rising opposition at home.

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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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