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Beijing has shut down several feminist social media platforms, a sign that China is renewing its crackdown on what it considers radical women’s groups.
About 10 feminist forums were closed on Douban, China’s popular social networking platform that allows group discussions of books, music, movies, and social topics such as feminism.
Douban said the now-banned forums promoted “extreme” and “radical” political views and ideology.
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The blocked forums embrace the concept of 6B4T, an online movement that originated in South Korea. The concept “is driven by the idea of women becoming more empowered by shunning activities seen as centered upon or designed to benefit men,” according to Jane Li, a China tech reporter on Quartz.
The Douban ban earlier this month sparked heated debate among netizens in China, soon after the government released preliminary figures suggesting 2020 was, like 2019, a year with a declining birthrate.
On Weibo, the Chinese social media platform akin to Twitter, one post said, “Well done! The intention of these forums is to tear up Chinese society through extreme feminism.” Another said, “6B4T is not radical. It’s nothing more than a claim that women do not have to enter into a heterosexual relationship.”
The “6B” refers to not having sex with men; not having romantic relationships; not marrying; not having children; not buying products that show prejudice against, aversion to, or dislike of women; and offering to stand by other single women, according to Li. The “4T” stands for “ditching rigid beauty standards [literally ‘taking off corsets’]; rejecting the obsession with Japanese manga and anime (known as otaku culture) for their hypersexual depictions of women; breaking away from religion; and not partaking in fan culture around male or female celebrities.”
In Korean, each of the items begins with either “bi,” which means no or not, and “tal,” which means to escape from something.
The South Korean movement “advocates that women separate themselves from the influence of male-centered political culture, and then form a full range of female culture and female power,” according to the website WhatsonWeibo.
In the past, China has allowed more online discussion of gender than other political topics. Yet, Lu Pin, a prominent Chinese feminist in New York, told VOA Mandarin that with the current crackdown, there are virtually no social media platforms that are friendly to feminist groups in China.
“These online platforms are aware of the government’s preference, so they tend to restrict feminist movements,” she told VOA.
This is not the first targeting of women’s groups. Online feminists attracted Beijing’s attention on March 7, the day before International Women’s Day, when five feminist activists were arrested for demonstrating against sexual harassment on public transit.
At the time, Feng Yuan, a women’s rights activist, told TheGuardian.com: “What the activists want is exactly what state policy on women says: that women should be equal.”
Chinese netizens criticized the arrests, which drew international attention from the likes of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The women, who became known as the Feminist Five, were released after more than a month in detention.
The current crackdown came about because increasing numbers of women are embracing feminist ideas, according to Zhang, a student from prestigious Peking University, who asked that her full name not be used for fear of attracting official attention.
“I think China has always been a patriarchal society. So, there can be a feminist movement, but it needs to be within that framework of patriarchal society,” she said.
Lu Pin, the New York feminist, agreed, saying the feminist movement has spotlighted a structural problem in Chinese society that causes inequalities between men and women, and those who benefit from the current system are offended by that explanation.
Shuttering online feminist discussions meshes with Beijing’s interests, she said.
“Of course, the government does not want criticism on the structure of its society,” she told VOA. “So, from this standpoint of view, the government will inevitably stand against the feminist movement. They want women to maintain their traditional family roles because that benefits the stability of the CCP rule.”
The crackdown comes just two months after China’s Ministry of Public Security released preliminary population numbers revealing that the number of new birth registrations in 2020 was 10.035 million, compared with 11.8 million in 2019, a year that had the lowest recorded birthrate since 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded.
With a rapidly growing elderly population and a cohort of young couples who cannot afford the luxury of children, China is facing a demographic crisis with economic overtones.
The government has long undercut efforts by activists to create a safe space for women and raise issues of gender discrimination and domestic violence.
Despite these pressures working against gender equality, Chinese American author and activist Leta Hong Fincher said a popular broad-based feminist movement poses the greatest challenge to China’s governing regime today.
In her new book Betraying Big Brother, The Feminist Awakening in China, she said the Feminist Five gave life to a grassroots mobilization not seen since the 1989 pro-democracy movement that culminated with the deadly quashing of protests in Tiananmen Square.
Shen Hsiu-Hua, an associate professor of sociology at National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, told VOA Mandarin that popular movements are Beijing’s greatest fear.
“Being able to mobilize people is a taboo for the Chinese Communist Party. In China, only the government can mobilize people, so any cause that results in gathering is seen as a threat to its ruling,” she said. “That’s why the government wants to nip it in the bud.” (VOA/KB)
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.