When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

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

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.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Why The U.S. Lost Its Leverage In The Middle East — And May Never Get It Back

In the Israel-Hamas war, Qatar now plays the key role in negotiations, while the United States appears increasingly disengaged. Shifts in the region and beyond require that Washington move quickly or risk ceding influence to China and others for the long term.

Photograph of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken  shaking hands with sraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

November 30, 2023, Tel Aviv, Israel: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Chuck Kennedy/U.S State/ZUMA
Sébastien Boussois


PARIS — Upon assuming office in 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that United States would gradually begin withdrawing from various conflict zones across the globe, initiating a complex process that has had a major impact on the international landscape ever since.

This started with the American departure from Iraq in 2010, and was followed by Donald Trump's presidency, during which the "Make America Great Again" policy redirected attention to America's domestic interests.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

The withdrawal trend resumed under Joe Biden, who ordered the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021. To maintain a foothold in all intricate regions to the east, America requires secure and stable partnerships. The recent struggle in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates that Washington increasingly relies on the allied Gulf states for any enduring influence.

Since the collapse of the Camp David Accords in 1999 during Bill Clinton's tenure, Washington has consistently supported Israel without pursuing renewed peace talks that could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While President Joe Biden's recent challenges in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire met with resistance from an unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu, they also stem from the United States' overall disengagement from the issue over the past two decades. Biden now is seeking to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine matter, yet it is Qatar that is the primary broker for significant negotiations such as the release of hostages in exchange for a ceasefire —a situation the United States lacks the leverage to enforce.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest