When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

China

New Way In China To Fight Sexually-Transmitted Disease: Deny Passports To Women

Analysis: In Menglian County, a remote area of China's Yunnan province, young women's passport applications are being rejected. Local officials say it's because too many have gone abroad to become prostitutes, and come back with

In Amsterdam's red light district (jakemark)
In Amsterdam's red light district (jakemark)

By Yang Tao
经济观E.O/Worldcrunch

BEIJING - A 24-year-old woman from Menglian County, a remote rural area of southwest China, reported recently that had her passport application rejected. The reason authorities gave: since 2005, too many women from the area have gone abroad to become prostitutes; and when they come back home they spread sexually-transmitted diseases such as AIDS.

Besides, officials note, too many local young men haven't been able to find wives because of this emigration.

In light of this situation, says the local government, it has simply decided to refuse passport applications from women aged 16 to 35, unless they happen to need to travel for a government mission.

It's true that too many women from this impoverished area go abroad to make money as prostitutes, but in a lawful society no government department has the right to deny the legal rights of ordinary people. If there is no law forbidding holding a passport then it's not up to public security officials to make their own laws to deal with prostitution.

This latest restriction harms the legal rights of citizens, because there are of course many who go abroad for study, business, or tourism. If we follow this logic then a man with a passport might be engaged abroad in illicit activities, perhaps visiting prostitutes and bringing home unpleasant diseases of his own. Should their applications be rejected?

And at the same time, the new law won't actually manage to stop those involved in criminal activities, who will always find a way to circumvent such restrictions. Even the chief of immigration of Mengliang County, Yang Zhonghua, agrees on this point.

In fact the reason why these women are prevented from going abroad is to save the face of the local authorities criticized for the high level of venereal disease registered on their municipal performance indicators.

Today it's women's passports, maybe tomorrow their clothes will be regulated: a sharp reminder that unrestricted power is always bound to destroy the rights of citizens.

Read the full story in Chinese

Photo - jakemark


You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Society

"Splendid" Colonialism? Time To Change How We Talk About Fashion And Culture

A lavish book to celebrate Cartagena, Colombia's most prized travel destination, will perpetuate clichéd views of a city inextricably linked with European exploitation.

Photo of women in traditional clothes at a market in Cartagena, Colombia

At a market iIn Cartagena, Colombia

Vanessa Rosales

-Analysis-

BOGOTÁ — The Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz is celebrating the historic port of Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia, in a new book, Cartagena Grace, published by Assouline. The European publisher specializes in luxury art and travel books, or those weighty, costly coffee table books filled with dreamy pictures. If you never opened the book, you could still admire it as a beautiful object in a lobby or on a center table.

Ortiz produced the book in collaboration with Lauren Santo Domingo, an American model (née Davis, in Connecticut) who married into one of Colombia's wealthiest families. Assouline is promoting it as a celebration of the city's "colonial splendor, Caribbean soul and unfaltering pride," while the Bogotá weekly Semana has welcomed an international publisher's focus on one of the country's emblematic cities and tourist spots.

And yet, use of terms like colonial "splendor" is not just inappropriate, but unacceptable.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest