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New Anti-Corruption Training Courses In China Prompt Scorn



(BEIJING) - The Chinese Communist Party has recently come up with a new bright idea on how to curb rampant corruption among China’s officialdom: training courses on how to identify conspicuous consumption.

By organizing "appraisal lessons of luxury goods and artifacts," the cadres of the party’s discipline-inspection committees will learn how to "recognize which officials are corrupt,” the Yangzhi River Daily reported, quoting from an official of the Beijing Commission for Discipline Inspection.

The news has provoked an immediate wave of both criticism and cackles on China’s internet. “This is a way for the anti-corruption officials themselves to learn how to be corrupt without getting caught... Even a pig would laugh at such idea!” said the Epoch Times citing a netizen’s words. “So now these officials know how to tell what is fake, what is genuine and what to accept, what to refuse,” another commented.

Xu Bingtao, a writer with the Weifang Evening Post stated "This is heterodoxy. The fundamental strategy to eradicating the malignant tumor of corruption is by publishing officials’ assets so that they are scrutinized under the sunshine.”

Even the China Daily, a state-owned newspaper, pointed out in its editorial that “The simple wearing of some item doesn’t necessarily impugn an official’s honesty...Constraints on corruption shouldn’t be fragmented, nor just concerned with the correction of minutiae.”

The discipline-inspection committees, the enforcers for the Chinese Communist Party, run their own parallel judicial system. It possesses great power and its main function is to investigate officials who are corrupt or who do not comply with party policy. Officials unfortunate enough to attract attention can be detained secretly for indefinite periods without trial.

The Chinese public have welcomed crackdowns, having grown disgusted by the common greediness and outlandish eye-catching extravagance of their officials. Lately, the Director of the Work Safety Department of Shannxi Province became notorious, after being exposed in various photos from China’s netizens, for owning a dozen top brand watches.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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