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China

Knowledge Yielding To Power? When The Professors Kneel Before The Politicians

In China, a group of professors at Yangtze University knelt down in front of the local municipality building to plead for the closure of a polluting steel mill. Some say it was a shameful sign of the times. But you know what? It worked.

Soldiers in Beijing (showbizsuperstar)
Soldiers in Beijing (showbizsuperstar)

BEIJING - On November 1, several dozen professors from Yangtze University in the Hubei Province knelt down in front of the local municipality building to plead for the closure of a polluting steel mill next to their campus. Two days later, local officials cut the power supply to the factory, halting its operation.

The fact that professors knelt down to the authorities has aroused lots of Sturm und Drang across China. For many, it's difficult to understand this behavior, which risks undermining the particularly prestigious status held by professors in Chinese society. As the intelligentsia, they regard bowing down to the powerful and privileged as an act of shame. Some have explicitly called it: "knowledge yielding to power."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

To "Not Humiliate" Putin Is The Real Danger

French President Emmanuel Macron is making a point of keeping an open dialogue with Putin, hoping to avoid a world war at all costs. But he needs to get his historical comparisons (and world wars) in order.

A poster in protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. French President Emmanuel Macron has previously called for the need to not humiliate Putin, but some are calling it the wrong move.

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — “I know Putin well. We should not be hoping for him to leave: whoever is likely to succeed him will be much worse.”

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This is what former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said to me in 2017, while we were in New York. He was trying to moderate my growing hostility towards the Kremlin’s leader. In fact, in the same sentence, he wanted to also reassure me about the United States President Donald Trump, who had just come into the room: “He may be unpredictable, but he is not an ideologue.”

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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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