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China

Why China Can't Just Make Its Child Beggars Disappear

Recent vows by Beijing to eliminate child begging by next year show that though Chinese may care about society's most vulnerable, they don’t yet know how to really help them.

Children on the streets of Beijing, China
Children on the streets of Beijing, China
Zhang Xiuzhi

BEIJING - Among the many approaches to beggars over the centuries, French poet Charles Baudelaire held a most peculiar slant. In his essay "Beat the Poor" ("Assommons les pauvres!"), the Parisian writer describes how he'd handle old beggars who held out their hands for alms: he would simply sock them with a punch. And before the old man was able to get his bearings, the same fist would arrive again.

After being hit several times, the old beggar's eyes would start to glitter with ferocious light. Then he'd punch back. In taking the counter-punch, not only did the poet not feel angry, but actually felt comforted because he believed he had reached his goal: to have restored the self-esteem of the beggar.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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