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food / travel

"Chicken Without Sex" Becomes "Spring Chicken" - State Meddling In China's Menus

Chinese bureaucracy will soon deprive us of one of life's immense pleasures: ordering 'drunken shrimp', 'happy meatballs' or 'chicken without sex' from a menu. These inventive, often poetic translati

Poetic license (Sarah Collings)
Poetic license (Sarah Collings)

The clammy hand of Chinese bureaucracy is once again cracking down on liberty: the freedom of a restaurant to write what it likes on a menu.

Restaurants in China are famous for their original use of English in describing the dishes offered, but if the bureaucrats get their way, the idiosyncratic pleasure of reading their eccentric menus will be just a memory. Dishes will be assigned standard names. Of course, using these normalized names will not be compulsory, but how many restrictions start out in life as "advisory," "proposed," or "suggested" to later become "statutory" or "obligatory"?

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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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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