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Why China Lags So Far Behind On LGBT Rights

Gays and lesbians rarely come out of the closet in a society that has more generally been 'anti-sex' since the Communists took over.

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia rally in Hong Kong.
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia rally in Hong Kong.
Li Yinhe*

BEIJING — Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent "coming out" made big headlines, but was hardly newsworthy considering that so many well-known people in the West are open about their homosexuality. Besides other business leaders and entertainers, there are current or recent mayors of Berlin, Paris and San Francisco — Iceland's former Prime Minister, and foreign ministers of Germany and Latvia — who had all disclosed their sexual orientation. Meanwhile, a dozen countries have approved same-sex marriage, and others are on their way.

What is puzzling today is the attitudes toward gays in Communist or ex-Communist countries. Generally speaking, in the West politics is divided between the right and left, more conservative and more progressive. The left tends to think of itself as representing the interests of the underclass and vulnerable, including attention for the rights of women, racial minorities and homosexuals. The right, instead, is more aligned with the interests of the establishment, and tends to be more conservative about sexuality.

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Ideas

COVID And Ukraine, A One-Two Punch That's Remaking Our World

Can you believe Poles are happy to see Germans arming? It is just one of a series of examples of how the world has turned upside down since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, completing a shift begun during the pandemic toward less interdependence and more uncertainty.

In traditional Ukrainian clothes on the Day of Unity in Kyiv, January 22, 2022, a month and two days before Russia invaded.

Jacek Żakowski

-Analysis-

WARSAW — For half a century, the grand strategy of the democratic and capitalist West against competing systems has been to build bridges and create interdependence.

The building of bridges is meant to convince people how well they can live when authoritarian regimes are exchanged for democratic capitalism. The Soviet bloc collapsed largely because the West persuaded huge numbers of communist elites by inviting them and their societies to join the coveted Western way of life.

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Creating interdependence, instead, is the deepening of the international division of labor.

Russia sells us raw materials, and we sell them machines. We have the technologies and the Chinese have the factories. That created global supply chains. There are parts in the Airbus A380 that come from 40 different countries. COVID-19 vaccine components are supplied by nearly 100 companies from every continent except Antarctica.

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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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