Religion in China: Cracks in the atheist edifice - "Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China's Christian population the largest in the world. Mr Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire." [more inside]
"We know it comes from the movie... If it is an obvious form of resistance, then we have to control it."
Someone posted an ad on Craigslist seeking women who for one reason or another had never seen their own vagina and then set them up with a mirror in the Vagina Booth to film their reaction.
If you're looking for someone to date, other than Jesus, look no further. And the follow-up: Christian Tingle 2.
“I don’t think you’re gay,” he said. He then went through the same litany as Dr. F.—he didn’t believe I was a pervert, he just felt I was lost and confused and needed to be set on the right path. Dr. K. believed in behavioral modification. He told me to place a rubber band around my wrist. Every time I had “gay thoughts,” I was to snap the rubber band, causing pain. Eventually I would associate the thoughts with the pain. - Gene Stone on growing up gay, struggling with sex, anti-gay conversion therapy, and the doctor-mandated sex surrogate that finally helped him.
Jimmyjane (NSFW) makes luxury, design-oriented vibrators and other sex toys and accessories. ("Design inspired by Apple, not Hustler.") They'd like to change the way Americans think about them: instead of as 'dirty little secrets,' they're hoping for mainstream acceptance and to usher in an "Age of Great American Sex." (Via) [more inside]
Going Straight: My Ex-Gay Friend Also: Living the Good Lie: Therapists Who Help People Stay in the Closet. (Both links NYT, via)
Explosive art; "weapons" paintings by San Minn are not shown in his native Burma where Rappers, journalists and comedians have discovered a new crime – helping people devastated by cyclone Nargis. [more inside]
China's secret plot to tame Tibet. "Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off several monasteries in Lhasa, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province to keep them silent through the Olympics.
When the wire won't carry your subversive tract, distribute your digital screed via flash drive. Last month, students at a prestigious computer science university videotaped an ugly confrontation they had with Ricardo Alarcón, the president of the National Assembly. Mr. Alarcón seemed flummoxed when students grilled him on why they could not travel abroad, stay at hotels, earn better wages or use search engines like Google. The video spread like wildfire ...[passed via flash drives]... and seriously damaged Mr. Alarcón’s reputation in some circles. [more inside]
Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
"The people who murder journalists in Sri Lanka feel so well protected that they carry out fresh murders to mark the anniversaries of their preceding ones."
60 years ago today, an incident took place in Taipei, which led to the massive slaughter of thousands of Taiwanese at the hands of Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese troops. Many were imprisoned for torture and execution on Green Island off Taiwan's eastern coast. More on Green Island here, and an interesting-ish flickr photo set here
The Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2004 as compiled by Doctors Without Borders - wars, disease, famine, and repression that has gone largely unnoticed in mainstream media [via PBS' NewsHour - real audio streaming link].
Persian, Amercian blogospheres come together after an Iranian blogger, Sina Motallebi, was detained by Iranian regime. OJR's Mark Glaser has the story. BTW, sign the "Release Sina" petition if you haven't.
Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan. "A man who was severely beaten by Ismail Khan's forces described to Human Rights Watch the effect of the repression: 'At any time I feel that I am in danger. When I leave my house, I do not know if I will return. I do not know whether something will happen to me, if there will be some car crash, or that I will be hit in the back of the head.' Another witness talked about how his community's hopes after the hated Taliban regime was ended have been deflated: 'What has changed in Afghanistan? All our hopes are crushed. We are completely disappointed. Look-all the same warlords are in power as before. Fundamentalism has come into power, and every day they strengthen their power.'
The light of liberation and liberty descends upon Afghanistan.
The light of liberation and liberty descends upon Afghanistan.
Free Speech 101 - We must acknowledge that people who use force to suppress the opinions of others are committing assault not merely on other humans and on the basic promise of free speech, but on democracy itself.
Followup on Houston's great K-Mart roundup To the great relief of many in Houston, it does indeed appear that heads are going to roll over the mass arrest last week. Or at least, one head will.
Most of us are familiar with stories about government suppression of the free flow of information on the Internet - e.g. China's crackdown on internet dissidents; France's tussle with Yahoo over online sales of Nazi memorabilia; and, fresh from yesterday's news, Iran's closure of 400 internet cafes. But did you know there are no web servers to speak of in North Korea? That you need government permission to own a fax machine or modem in Burma? That Somalia has only one ISP? If you can forgive some of its design peculiarities, this Enemies of the Internet report (by Reporters Without Borders) gives a pretty comprehensive rundown of the international state of online freedoms.