By Belinda Goldsmith
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – China’s best known transgender celebrity says she never aspired to be an LGBT+ activist but now Jin Xing has an eye on politics, saying she has the power and presence to help society.
Jin admits her journey from teenaged soldier to ballerina to one of China’s top TV hosts has been extraordinary, as has her widespread acceptance as a trans woman in conservative China.
Next stop: the political stage in one-party communist China.
“If you have the power and the guts and will and thinking to do something for society, why not? My talk show already had a political impact,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, a ski resort hosting some 3,000 of the global elite.
Jin did not spell out what role she hoped for in politics in a country where the Communist Party shapes much of daily life, from child bearing to price setting.
She said she would represent LGBT+ rights in China, which has a vibrant LGBT+ scene. Same-sex relations are not illegal but the government has shown no interest in legalizing gay marriage and launches periodic crackdowns on gay content.
Jin said she was delighted to be one of four cultural leaders to win a Crystal Award at the WEF annual meeting, hoping to inspire her young Chinese fans to “hold onto their dreams.”
The 52-year-old said she stayed silent after transitioning from a man to a woman 25 years ago – busy gathering her “inner energy” – but was now ready for a more public stand.
“If one day the political stage needs me to deliver opinion and performance, I am ready and willing to do it,” she said.
Jin said she would like to represent China on the world stage to counteract what she called misinformation in the West about China, where she said attitudes to the LGBT+ community were improving.
Jin acknowledged she was in a unique position in China, where homosexuality has been legal since 1997.
Aged 9, Jin received traditional dance training from the army’s singing and dancing troupe, before heading to New York to train in modern dance then moving to Europe.
But she always knew she wanted to be a woman so after returning to Beijing, underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1995. She moved to Shanghai five years later where she opened her own dance troupe, the Jin Xing Dance Theatre.
Jin adopted three children from orphanages in China. She raised the children solo until her marriage in 2005 to German businessman Heinz-Gerd Oidtmann, whom she met on a plane.
Her dance troupe thrived but it was in 2013 that she began her ascent to national fame while acting as a judge on China’s first season of the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The public loved her – which she puts down to her straight talking – and nine months later she had her own show, with more than 100 million people watching every week.
“After seeing my program, people started to think and analyze and make their own judgments,” she said.
“Everyone(‘s) a normal human being. Just treat them as equal. Don’t categorize people.”
Chinese rules have caused some obstacles along the way.
Jin and her husband divorced in 2006 although they continued to live together because their children could not obtain the coveted household registration permit “hukou” due to the one-child policy, blocking them from access to some public services.
They re-married in 2018 after the one-child policy ended. (Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith //news.trust.org)
Philip Steenkamp: Food security should be next on B.C.’s political menu
We got a taste of food insecurity early in the pandemic as grocery-store shelves emptied. The race for the last package of toilet paper or bottle of hand sanitizer got the headlines, but even the availability of household staples like flour and eggs was suddenly in doubt.
Then, just as that was settling down, the November 2021 atmospheric river swept in. Floodwaters overtook huge swaths of Fraser Valley farmland, and drowned cows, chickens, pigs and even bees by the thousands. Landslides and bridge collapses cut off trucking routes and rail lines — and once again, supermarket shelves emptied out.
Today, in the aftermath of an even more devastating atmospheric river and widespread flooding in California — the source of a lot of B.C. produce, especially in the winter and spring — questions are arising of where the next shortages will show up. Even at that, our situation pales in comparison to developing countries that until now relied on wheat from Ukraine. Russia has not only blockaded exports from that country, but is also launching relentless attacks on the energy infrastructure that helps keep food production running.
That may be disheartening to hear, given the many other dangers and challenges we’re facing, but then those crises have more than a little connection to a safe, reliable, affordable supply of food. Climate disruption means more extreme weather events; rising authoritarianism and nationalism threaten to unleash more wars; our global economy, built on assumptions about stability that today seem hopelessly naïve, can be expected to falter again and again.
All of these conditions erode the security of our food supply.
In turn, an insecure supply of food can undermine the stability of governments and local economies, prompt large-scale migrations and humanitarian crises, and heighten conflicts between countries.
Addressing food security requires a broad range of co-ordinated responses at every level, from individual neighbourhoods to international co-operation. We urgently need to have long-overdue conversations about just what that response must look like.
But not all the answers will have to be planetary in scale — or even provincewide.
As you read this, the Giving Garden in the Farm at Royal Roads University is nearly ready for the first harvest of 2023. Driven by Dr. Hilary Leighton, program head in our School of Environment and Sustainability, it is both a living laboratory for Royal Roads students and a growing source of fresh produce for the Greater Victoria community, directly addressing food insecurity in the region.
Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Newell, the new Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability, is studying the use of systems mapping to show relationships among local farms, transportation networks, grocery stores, communities and key social and environmental issues. His program also looks at sustainability and novel food production methods, such as vertical agriculture (growing crops indoors using stacked shelves) and cellular agriculture (growing meat directly from cell cultures instead of relying on animals).
That can only happen if leaders at all levels start convening the public conversations needed to shape that vision.
If any good is to come from the food supply shocks of the past three years — and the more severe incidents that are sure to come — it’s that they’ve given us all an appetite for those conversations. It’s time for our leaders to get cooking.
Trump 2024 is locked and loaded, analyst says
More than two months after his presidential announcement, Donald Trump now has the key tools he will need to make his entry into the race complete: access to social media.
Recently, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced reinstatement of Trump’s social media accounts following a two-year suspension.
The suspension was levied in the aftermath of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
This was certainly good news for the Trump campaign and his legion of loyal and dedicated supporters.
However, as the wreckage inflicted on that cold January day still lingers, political opponents, real and perceived, are bracing for the potential dangers that could lie ahead.
In 2016, Trump used social media to great effect in his bid to win the U.S. presidency. During his tenure in the White House, he often made news and kept the entire media landscape on edge with a robust social media presence. His posts ran the gambit from inflammatory to bewildering.
CLAIMS SHATTERED NORMS OF PRESIDENTIAL ETIQUETTE
The unceasing and outlandish claims made by the former reality television star shattered the norms of presidential etiquette. Even accusing former president Barack Obama of spying on him! Like a maestro leading an orchestra, his cadre of henchmen and followers soon began to play along as if on cue.
Donald Trump, over the years, enlisted a powerful chorus of voices from Congress, the media, state capitals and beyond all belting out conspiracy theories, laced with violent undertones, on one note; one accord; in unison.
The twice-impeached ex-president has access to all the social media tools that not only fuelled his political rise but also served as a catalyst to the growing political violence playing out across the nation.
With 34 million followers on Facebook; 23 million on Instagram; and 87 million on Twitter; Trump has built a formidable and engaged audience that hangs on his every word.
AN ALREADY FRAGILE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE
Showing no remorse and characterizing the suspension as an injustice, the ex-president said on Truth Social, his own social media platform: Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!
Trump has continued his penchant for perceived grievances and victimization exacerbating an already fragile and unstable political landscape. Now, with the ability to enact a mob in 280 characters or less, Donald Trump wields these accounts like a loaded weapon.
Political onlookers are bracing for the onslaught as the ex-president ramps up his presidential campaign. Laura Murphy, an attorney who led a two-year audit of Facebook stated: I worry about Facebook’s capacity to understand the real world harm that Trump poses…
This “real world harm” Murphy describes is already a stark reality. Recently released video footage of the violent attack on the husband of former U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is sending a collective shiver through the political class.
The assailant, David DePape, 42, claimed: “I’m sick of the insane f——— level of lies coming out of Washington, D.C.” He is charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, false imprisonment and threatening a public official. Some on the right, including Donald Trump Jr., made fun of the attack, sharing an image of a Paul Pelosi Halloween costume that included a hammer, as it was a hammer that was in the assault.
In the aftermath of the recent 2022 midterm elections, the nation breathed a sigh of relief as the results came and went with no acts of violence and the results reported largely without incident. Unfortunately, that moment of euphoria was only fleeting.
Failed GOP candidate, Solomon Peña, was arrested by Albuquerque police accused of paying and conspiring to shoot candidates that won. Prior to the attacks, Peña (like Trump) alleged the election results were fraudulent. An arrest warrant affidavit obtained from police says the suspect “intended to (cause) serious injury or cause death to the occupants inside their homes.”
Trump’s proclivity for subjecting maximum cruelty on others has been a mainstay since he entered politics. His affinity for tyrannical government; fascist and dictatorial leaders; combined with an ambivalence for democratic institutions makes his return to the political arena fraught with peril.
TRUMP FIRMLY BACK IN CONTROL OF SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
In a recent article, columnist Charlie Sykes described Trump’s penchant for violence as: Brutality is an ideology, not just an impulse. Many of the MAGA crowd eagerly subscribe to this ideology. Close confidante and fellow MAGA conservative, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene, said recently at a Republican event in New York, if she had organized the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “we would have won” and “it would’ve been armed.”
Donald Trump’s inner circle continues to push the big lie and foment violence. Now that Trump is firmly back in control of his social media accounts, nothing stands in his way of once again eschewing political safeguards and standards in favor of amplifying sharp, abrasive, and yes, violent rhetoric aimed at perceived enemies and institutions.
Trump’s hold on rank-and-file Republicans remains just as strong today as it did the day he descended that gold-plated escalator in 2015. His loyal lieutenants continue to engage in violent and inflammatory language and some have even escalated to full-scale physical attacks on their opponents as evidenced by recent events in New Mexico and San Francisco.
Trump 2024 is locked and loaded and many would-be targets are in the crosshairs. By allowing Trump back on social media, companies such as Meta and Twitter might think they are lowering the political temperature. However, Trump’s truculence knows no bounds and could certainly end up backfiring. That fire nearly consumed the nation on January 6. Now, with a second chance, Trump gets to finish what he started.
NDP to talk health care with Trudeau
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that he would sit down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to discuss private health care ahead of next week’s summit with premiers.
Trudeau is expected to meet with provincial and territorial leaders in Ottawa next Tuesday to discuss a new health-care funding deal.
“The deal will be a failure if it doesn’t include major commitments to hire more health-care workers,” Singh said Monday, adding that the funding should be kept within the public system.
The last time Trudeau and Singh met one-on-one, as outlined in the confidence-and-supply agreement between the Liberals and the NDP, was in December.
Singh said now is the time for the Liberal government to make clear that funding private health-care facilities will not improve the shortage of health-care workers Canada is facing.
On Monday, legislators’ first day back at the House of Commons after a winter break, the NDP requested an emergency debate on the privatization of health care. The request was denied.
During the first question period of the year, Trudeau said his government will continue to ensure the provinces and territories abide by the Canada Health Act.
“We know that even as we negotiate with the provinces to ensure that we’re delivering more family doctors, better mental-health supports, moving forward on backlogs, supporting Canadians who need emergency care, we will ensure the Canada Health Act is fully respected,” Trudeau said.
“In the past, this government has pulled back money from provinces that haven’t respected it. We will continue to do that.”
Singh said that while health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, he believes the federal government could be using the Canada Health Act more aggressively to challenge for-profit care.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government announced earlier this month that it’s moving some procedures to publicly funded, private facilities to address a growing surgery wait-list, which worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan have already made similar moves.
“We think the federal government should be making it very clear that the solution to the current health-care crisis will not come from a privatization, for-profit delivery of care. It’ll only come by making sure we hire, recruit, retain and respect health care,” Singh said.
“Health care is already dramatically understaffed, and for-profit facilities will poach doctors and nurses — cannibalizing hospitals, forcing people to wait longer in pain and racked with anxiety.”
The New Democrats say they’re also concerned that private facilities will upsell patients for brands and services not covered by the province, and tack on extra fees and services.
Singh spent some of Parliament’s winter break holding roundtable discussions on health care in British Columbia to discuss emergency room overcrowding and worker shortages.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.
Racism: Examining Injustices of Canadian Society
Shorten Your Job Search by Writing a Compelling Value Proposition Letter — Part 1
Understanding the connection between sporting events and online gambling today
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Business21 hours ago
TSX, Wall Street futures fade as earnings dominate, Fed awaited
Investment21 hours ago
Lithium Americas stock rises on GM’s $650 million equity investment
Business10 hours ago
Stock market news live updates: Stocks wrap up strong January as Fed decision looms
Art22 hours ago
Lydia Tár Is Not an Art Monster
Art22 hours ago
Tom Sachs Reveals New McDonald’s Public Art
Science14 hours ago
Is there life on Mars? Maybe, and it could have dropped its teddy
Investment9 hours ago
Intel Cuts Pay Across Company to Preserve Cash for Investment
Business18 hours ago
A shortage of pilots is making travel chaos in Canada even worse