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With home sales crashing, real estate agent Zhang Yonggang is tightening his belt, part of a plunge in Chinese consumer demand in its Economy that is a bigger threat to economic growth than Beijing’s tariff war with Washington.
Zhang, who works in the central city of Taiyuan, said his office sold no apartments last month after Beijing tightened lending controls in July to rein in housing costs and debt. Zhang, 42 and married with a teenage son, said his income has fallen by half from a year ago.
“I have no money to buy a home and no plans to change cars,” Zhang said. “It is definitely the toughest time I’ve ever seen.”
Communist leaders are counting on consumers to power China’s economy, replacing trade and investment. But shoppers, spooked by the tariff war and possible job losses, are cutting spending on cars, real estate and other big-ticket purchases.
Economic warning signs
Economic growth sank to a three-decade low of 6% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in September. That is stronger than most major countries but a strain for Chinese companies that need to repay debt.
Factory activity shrank more than expected in October, according to an official trade group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. Analysts said that suggested an uptick a month earlier didn’t mark the start of a recovery.
Communist leaders express confidence China can survive President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes on its exports.
On Thursday, the ruling party’s Central Committee affirmed support for private business within an economy dominated by state industry and gave no sign of plans to change economic strategy.
But leaders openly fret over slumping consumer spending and other domestic activity.
Premier Li Keqiang, the top economic official, told local leaders last week to fight “downward pressure” on the economy and “make sure targets for this year are achieved.”
“Many real economic entities are struggling amid weak domestic demand,” the premier said at a meeting with provincial governors, according to a Cabinet statement.
Beijing has tried to stick to plans to nurture self-sustaining, consumer-driven growth instead of resorting to stimulus, which usually means splurging on construction paid for with bank loans. That might re-ignite a surge in debt that forecasters estimate has risen as high as the equivalent of 300% of China’s annual economic output.
“China is willing to accept slower growth, but only up to a point,” Rory Green of TS Lombard said in a report.
If job losses spike, “of course Beijing will have to step in with a major stimulus,” Green said.
Trade war’s uneven effects
Trump’s punitive duties on billions of dollars of Chinese goods in a fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology ambitions have battered exporters. But their impact on the rest of the economy has been smaller than some forecasters expected.
And trade overall is stronger than expected. Shipments to the United States fell nearly 11% in the first nine months of 2019, but exports to the whole world were off only 0.1%.
Retail sales rose 8.2% over a year earlier in the nine months ending in September. But some industries suffered painful contractions: Auto sales fell 11.7%.
The pressures are reflected in Anna Li’s dilemma. The 28-year-old employee of an information technology company in Beijing plans to buy an apartment, but first she wants a new job. She has looked since last year and found nothing because companies have cut hiring.
“I used to have a plan to buy an apartment next year, but now it depends on the success of my job hunting,” Li said.
The International Monetary Fund is forecasting annual growth of 6.1% this year, down from last year’s 6.6% and just above the official minimum target of 6%. Next year, the IMF expects a further decline to 5.8%.
Some analysts question whether China really is achieving even that growth and say the real rate may be closer to 3%. They blame flaws in data collection and political pressure to make results look better.
Economic activity might be up to 21% smaller than official data show, according to Yingyao Hu and Jiaxiong Yao at Johns Hopkins University.
Government data assume all investment pays off, but much spending in 2012-17 went into unproductive projects, say Hu and Yao. They cite evidence including satellite photos that show nighttime cities darker than they should be with more activity.
That could mean Chinese debt is higher relative to the size of the economy than thought. That might further depress consumer demand because more national income must be diverted to repay debt.
Xi rolls out welcome mat
Leaders are trying to reassure U.S. and other foreign companies that have postponed or moved planned investments out of China to avoid tariff hikes.
Li, the premier, has told a string of American, European and other visiting business leaders they are welcome despite Beijing’s 15-month-old war with Trump.
Beijing has announced market-opening measures over the past two years including abolishing limits on foreign ownership in securities trading, auto manufacturing and some other industries.
The tariff war has made Beijing determined to adapt to slower growth and less reliance on debt in what it views as a period of strategic competition, said Green of TS Lombard.
Chinese leaders don’t want to use credit-fueled stimulus and “leave themselves vulnerable to future economic and financial sanctions,” he said.
Plus, Green said, Trump is “the perfect scapegoat” to blame for slower growth. (VOA)
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
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Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.