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Geopolitics

Jackie Chan And Yao Ming - China's Consultative Assembly Goes Glam

LE MONDE (France), XINHUA (China)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING - According to Le Monde, the opening of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 3, was more like a star-studded film premiere than a political event.

The CPPCC is a 2,200-member body that meets annually to debate policy and advise government. It includes politicians, but also businessmen and celebrities.

But walking up the stairs to the parliament in Tiananmen Square, only the celebrities were to be seen. There was former NBA player Yao Ming, martial-arts star Jackie Chan, Nobel prize winning writer Mo Yan, Baidu CEO Robin Li, director Chen Kaige and many more.

The 2013 CPPCC session opening speech (XinHua)

The cooperation of non-politician personalities is the reason why the CPPCC has always been a favorite of the Chinese public.

Since the beginning of China’s Opening Up and Reform, more and more delegates have been chosen from business, cultural and sports world. Today, 61% of the 2,200 delegates are non-politicians.

Even though the delegates make individual proposals –28930 in the last five years, according to Xinhua – that are transmitted to the respective ministries or administrations, they cannot debate publicly or organize in order to achieve a collective consensus. Their proposal power is thus neutralized.

The presence or absence of certain celebrities has been quite controversial.Liu Xiang, a former 110-meters hurdles Olympic champion, is being criticized for only participating in two sessions out of five since 2008. This year he is in the U.S. for medical treatment.

In an interview broadcast on CCTV state-television, Yao Ming said the presence of celebrities revives the public interest for politics and allows “the political system to become more mature.”

Professor Hu Xingdou, a sharp commentator of Chinese political life disagrees with the basketball player’s opinion: “Taking an interest in politics doesn’t mean participating in them. The government does not want the people to participate. In practice, they do everything in order to encourage people to do business and keep them away from politics.”

Yao Ming (Wikimedia)

The opening of the CPPCC marks the beginning of the annual parliamentary session that lasts two weeks. The National People’s Congress (NPC) starts on March 5.

The 2013 session of the “Lianghui” (“two assemblies” in Chinese) is very important – it is Xi JinPing’s first, the new secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The NPC will designate him officially as President and will reveal the composition of the new government.

According to Xinhua, the CPPCC session focused mainly on the unity and democracy within the patriotic socialist government in place.

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Geopolitics

Meet Brazil's "WhatsApp Aunts And Uncles" — How Fake News Spreads With Seniors

Older demographics are particularly vulnerable (and regularly targeted) on the WhatsApp messaging platform. We've seen it before and after the presidential election.

Photo of a Bolsonaro supporter holding a phone

A Bolsonaro supporter looking online

Cefas Carvalho

-Analysis-

SAO PAULO — There's an interesting analysis by the educator and writer Rafael Parente, based on a piece by the international relations professor Oliver Stuenkel, who says: “Since Lula took the Brazilian presidency, several friends came to me to talk about family members over 70 who are terrified because they expect a Communist coup. The fact is that not all of them are Jair Bolsonaro supporters.”

And the educator gives examples: In one case, the father of a friend claims to have heard from the bank account manager that he should not keep money in his current account because there was some supposed great risk that the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would freeze the accounts.

The mother of another friend, a successful 72-year-old businesswoman who reads the newspaper and is by no means a radical, believes that everyone with a flat larger than 70 square meters will be forced to share it with other people."

Talking about these examples, a friend, law professor Gilmara Benevides has an explanation: “Elderly people are falling for fake news spread on WhatsApp."

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