China won’t let its women wash their dirty #MeToo linen in public

For a strong, patriarchal state, nothing is worse than its women speaking out against the atrocities and violence perpetrated against them within the state. Same holds true for China. Scores of Chinese women who are inspired by the #MeToo movement are increasingly speaking out over sexual harassment. But a stiflingly image-conscious government is making the process of speaking out even harder for them, writes Jiayang Fan writes in the New Yorker.

“Last year, after the Weinstein story broke, the state-run China Daily published an online piece stating that the virtues of Chinese culture insured a comparatively low incidence of sexual harassment. The piece met with a backlash on social media, decrying the falsity of the claim,” Fan writes. “But its publication suggests a narrative that the government has a vested interest in selling to the public.”

“In the workplace as well as in schools, there are no standardized guidelines on how to handle sexual assault. On social media, phrases like ‘anti-sexual harassment’ have been erased, and online petitions are intermittently deleted. The use of the ‘MeToo China’ hashtag has also been blocked, forcing members to use creative homonyms, in order to evade censors.”

Trump’s biggest foreign policy challenge is self-created

The Trump administration has laid out red lines in three parts of the world — North Korea, Iran and Pakistan — without any serious strategy as to what happens when they are crossed, warns Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post.

The common problem with Trumps approach in all these three countries? He has outlined maximalist goals without any sense of how to achieve them, argues Zakaria.

“Thomas Schelling, the Nobel Prize-winning scholar of strategy, once remarked that two things are very expensive in international affairs: threats when they fail, and promises when they succeed. So, he implied, be very careful about making either one. Trump seemed to understand this when his predecessor made a threat toward Syria in 2013, and Trump tweeted: “Red line statement was a disaster for President Obama.” Well, he has just drawn three red lines of his own, and each of them is likely to be crossed.”

Theresa May should not welcome the Saudi crown prince with open arms

When the Saudi Crown Prince visits the UK in the coming weeks, Theresa May must ensure that Britain does not trade away its principles and values, editorialises The Guardian.

“As leader of her country, Mrs May must hope to use the power of her nation as a force for good. The temptation will be for the prime minister, when she meets the crown prince, not to serve anything other than self-interest.”

But there are some things May ought to remember.

“The war in Yemen, which was the brainchild of the crown prince, is now the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis. It is one where, shamefully, British arms and British servicemen are providing support to prolong the war and increase civilian suffering. British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are running at £200m a month, something that seems to weigh on Mrs May’s mind more than the deaths of children in faraway places.”

“The crown prince’s anti-corruption crackdown is clearly less about graft than a purge of royal rivals. The ruthless consolidation of power highlights the Saudi regime’s intolerance for dissent. The report by Ken Macdonald QC, a former DPP, and another leading human rights barrister into a wave of arbitrary disappearances of human rights activists, political dissidents and clerics in Saudi Arabia ought to be required reading in Downing Street. Britain and Saudi Arabia both sit on the UN human rights council. The latter’s human rights record is being reviewed by the council this year. Within that context, Mrs May should raise the issue of freedom of expression with the crown prince, even if the lecturing grates.”

Macron’s big teaching

How should a leader respond to economic populism? French President Emmanuel Macron offers a solution: protect people, not their jobs, writes Jeremy Ghez in Politico EU.

“It’s a fool’s errand to try to protect jobs in the face of galloping technology and globalization. Claiming otherwise is the worst kind of lie a politician can tell a vulnerable, disenfranchised population,” Ghez writes.

“Instead, Macron has recognized that in a global economy, the welfare state should seek to protect not jobs, but individuals. And he has acknowledged that the most detrimental inequality in modern societies is not in income levels, but professional preparation.

“And so he has called for the state to invest heavily in education and training to help prepare workers to compete in global labor markets. He is also seeking to provide individuals with the support — like health care and child care — that boosts productivity.”

“If Macron is to succeed, he will have to rip the banner of ‘disruption’ from the populists and reveal them for what they really are: a conservative force that wants to protect an unsustainable status quo.”

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