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Geopolitics

China's National Museum Reopens As Artists Are Locked Up

The newly reopened National Museum of China on Tiananmen Square sits uneasily amid the recent wave of repression that has led to the arrest of hundreds of people including avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei. Ironically, one of the first exhibitions is on the We

Avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei was arrested April 3
Avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei was arrested April 3
Brice Pedroletti

BEIJING - The new National Museum of China is an enormous building lined with columns and situated right in front of Chairman Mao's mausoleum in Tiananmen Square.

Boasting 192,000 square meters of exposition space, the museum has just completed an ambitious three-year renovation and expansion project that cost nearly 2.5 billion yuans ($382 million). It is meant to endow China with a museum worthy of its growing power and rank in the world, surpassed in surface area only by the Louvre's 210,000 square meters.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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