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East Asia

For Lepers in China, Sickness of the Fathers is Visited Upon the Children

In isolated pockets around the world, it still exists: the dread disease leprosy. China’s Global Times explores the mountain leper colonies of the country’s south, finding that even healthy descendents of lepers are treated as outcastes and untouchables by the people of surrounding villages.

The only way to get to the village of Abuluoha is on foot - a four-hour trek via a single.

Our Man in Beijing: Or Is He Theirs?

The expatriate American and British ‘academics’ who make a living telling China what it wants to hear about itself. Not specialists on China, or speakers of Chinese, or indeed scholars at all, they easily find cushy university posts from which they write blogs and columns about the superiority of the Chinese system.

"China has the best human rights record in the world," says one.

A Showy, Capitalist Christianity Faces The Bulldozer in Wenzhou

China’s Wenzhou, long the most entrepreneurial and capitalist of the country’s large cities, and home to its largest population of Christians, who like to display the success of their faith. Too much display for the province’s rulers however: Beijing’s Global Times writes that numerous churches are abruptly being ordered demolished around the region.

Wenzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang Province,meaning "to demolish."

Baby Bust

China’s infamous compulsory birth control policies were eased last year, but Global Times reporters are skeptical that this will yield many new babies: China appears to have undergone a permanent demographic transition.

When the country announced that it was further easing the family planning policy, allowing millions more women to have a second child.

The Bitter Truth is that China Doesn’t Need You

For one French expatriate living in China, the unpleasant reality sets in: he is not a particularly skilled worker, he is not living like a king among the natives, and China doesn’t really want him around anymore. The end of the Chinese Dream, for Westerners who thought they could live off the country’s boom, based on nothing but their native language.

I have lived in China for more than a year now.

Air Like Something Out of an American Horror Movie

On bad weeks, they take shelter in giant shopping malls warmed by artificial suns, the air scrubbed clean of its deadly burden. Outside, eight-year olds die of lung cancer, and parents try to create clean rooms to protect their children. Beijing’s coal-fired pollution catastrophe.

No matter what she did to try and protect her 3-year-old son from Beijing's notoriously serious pollution,.

The Border Brides of Southern China

Portrait of a young woman. Region of Mawlamyaingyune. Myanmar. Photo: ILO / M. Crozet.

In southern China, writes Liang Chen, men who cannot find a local wife often illegally marry women smuggled in from Burma or other Southeast Asian countries. A peculiar simulacrum of normal family life ensues; the women eventually learn to speak Chinese and assimilate to Fujian culture, but there is no possible road to citizenship, and their children are not acknowledged by the state.

Chen Dewu (not his real name), a villager in Zhangwan town, in Fujian Province, never imagined he would marry a Myanmar woman.

For Cambodia’s Heroin Addicts, An Option Besides the Camps

Compulsory and brutal detoxification camps are the norm for drug users in much of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia. But Cambodia is trying out a softer approach to the country’s heroin problem, in several methadone treatment centers. As The Cambodia Daily reports, however, there is little focus on getting addicts off the methadone in these NGO-run programs.

Ly Chan Long could not recall just when it was that he first tried to quit heroin on his own. He had been using for three or four years, and his first attempt soon failed.

Hysteria against the Machine

Mass fainting and illness have swept through numerous Cambodian factories. The Cambodia Daily reporters investigate, and find a long history of such incidents in industrializing countries; a passive, and perhaps unconscious plea for better working conditions.

Chanthul felt darkness fall over her face. Sy Ten became dizzy and asked for some Tiger Balm to dab on her head. Sovanny's head ached and she almost vomited.

Survivor: Cambodia Edition

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh. Photo CC.

A dramatic Cambodian television show tracks down and reunites family members lost during the mass murder and social disintegration of the Khmer Rouge regime. The trick to making good TV is to stage the reunion live and unscripted: a participant doesn’t know if his wife or brother or parents are dead or alive, until the envelope is opened…

For 36 years, Sorn Sarim had been haunted by one thought: Would he ever see his family again?

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