For 19 months, the blind activist and self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng was under house arrest for his strong words against the Chinese government — particularly their policies of forced abortions and sterilization. Somehow, he got out, got to the U.S. Embassy, and posted this video, detailing the abuses he and his wife faced. Raise your hand if you think, despite the trouble it took for him to get to this point, this story is amazing.
» This on top of a long arrest earlier this year: Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in jail on tax evasion charges, but claims all authorities wanted to talk about was his pro-democracy record. The fine Ai has been forced to pay is more than three times the size of his tax bill — and he needs help paying. The surprising part is that he actually got said help. “It’s surprising; it has really changed my perspective on people,” he said, noting that people traveled long distances to give him financial help — in person. Ai prefers to think of the payments as loans, and turned down a $157,000 payment from a businessman, saying he preferred smaller loans.
Social media have lowered the barriers of entry into political discourse everywhere. But that’s particularly significant in Singapore because here the barriers to entry into political discourse and the accompanying risks have been so high.Nanyang Technological University professor Mark Cenite • Discussing the recent changes that Singapore has made to its internet policy, allowing for a larger amount of freedom of speech online. The country, well-known for basically banning any sort of political dissent and creating incredibly harsh punishments for those who break the rules, could prove a breaking point for smaller parties that don’t have the money or influence that the leading People’s Action Party does. It’s already proven itself in the form of large crowds at some opposition rallies. But the real question: Will it translate to actual votes? source (via • follow)
I want to tell every mother and every father of the people who died, I am so sorry, I swear to God it’s not our mistake. It’s the mistake of the people who are in charge of the country and don’t want to leave their positions.Egyptian protest figurehead Wael Ghonim • Talking on Egyptian television about the people who were injured and killed while he was held in captivity for days. Ghonim’s statements, which were very teary-eyed and heart-wrenching, have proven inspiring to protesters today, who are reportedly showing renewed vigor on the streets this morning. “I’ve been following since it started, but after last night I realized I couldn’t stay away any more,” says Ahmed Osman, who was inspired to join the protests in Cairo based on Ghonim’s statements. “Our demands are simple, and they haven’t been met.” source (via • follow)