In Beijing anxious and determined
On Sunday, protesters rallied in Beijing in the cold demanding an end to coronavirus restrictions. “We don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom!” They shouted.
Similar scenes played out across the country. Covid restrictions that have brought life to a near standstill have united the Chinese people like no other thing has in decades.
But in a country where dissent is quickly stifled, many were unsure what to demand, let alone what might actually happen. Despite their sense of urgent, dizzying solidarity, many young participants were concerned after their extraordinary demonstration of dissent.
“Our ability to organize is still too weak,” said a filmmaker at the protests in Beijing. “We don’t have the experience or the knowledge.” The filmmaker added that “this” – the ability to even gather together – “is already really hard won.”
The streets were quiet again yesterday. And the participants do not know if reprisals will come.
Context: The riots began last week after 10 people died in a fire in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Many suspected the Covid restrictions had contributed to the tragedy and protests often begin as vigils.
Tactics: Chinese use elusive, creative, and often ironic tools. A blank white paper indicates censorship. A mathematical equation refers to its creator, Alexander Friedmann, whose surname is a homonym for “free man.” In Beijing, after angering police, protesters used sarcasm: “Resume the lockdown! I want to do Covid tests!”
WM: China appears to be restricting footage of the mostly unmasked crowd.
Yesterday, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Russia has no plans to end its occupation of the nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, which supplied 20 percent of Ukraine’s electricity before the war.
The unusual announcement came after some pro-Russian military bloggers suggested Moscow’s forces were withdrawing and after Ukrainian officials said there were indications Russia was taking steps to exit the facility. Military analysts said there was no immediate indication that Ukraine was threatening Russian access to the plant.
Details: The plant has been repeatedly shelled and has shut down all reactors as a safety measure. Ukrainian workers have reported abuse and detention by Russian soldiers.
Fighting: In the south, Russia is strengthening defenses, a research group said after pulling out of Kherson. To the east, Ukraine is struggling to hold Bahkmut.
From Opinion: Alyona Synenko wrote about her wedding in Odessa, amid power outages and bombs.
But the US and Iran are also locked in an existential struggle, and geopolitical tensions have spilled over into the field. Last weekend, the US Football Association stripped Iran’s official emblem and Islamic script from the red, white and green flag of Iran in images it posted to social media to show its support for Iran’s women. It later deleted the posts after Iran called for the US to be banned from the World Cup.
Now the main question is what the Iran team will do with their next round on the field. Will the players go back to silence during the national anthem – a symbolic gesture of dissent after two months of relentless anti-government protests – or risk alienating millions of fans?
Context: At the two previous Iranian games, people booed the national anthem and waved flags with a protest slogan – “Woman, Life, Freedom” – only to be escorted out.
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Women at Japan’s top universities regularly participate in beauty pageants. Student groups at the schools, considered training grounds for elite leaders, have long sponsored the events.
Participation can bring social media followers, corporate sponsors and avenues to modeling or television. Some of the events are slowly changing in response to critics who say they impose strict beauty standards and don’t fit with the universities’ values.
“She Said” in theaters
In 2017, my colleagues Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the news about Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual abuse. Five years later, the story of their reporting is the subject of a feature film.
I spoke to Megan about the film and her coverage. Our interview was edited slightly.
How did it feel to be portrayed?
We quickly spoke publicly about our journalism. But we haven’t spoken publicly about our personal lives.
At the end of the day we also saw an opportunity, even if it made us feel a bit vulnerable. I think it’s really rare that working women and especially working moms reflect that experience on screen.
And one of the themes of this film, and of the story in general, is how tragic it is when women suffer in isolation. And how empowering it can be when they can come together and share their experiences.
What inspired you and Jodi to write about the reporting process itself?
Jodi and I have been journalists for more than 20 years. We’ve worked on other big stories, but none that had that kind of impact, and we saw tremendous value in people reaching out to these incredible sources that we came across.
We were also drawn to a realistic portrayal of journalism on the big screen. Films are shown so often that journalists have questionable motivations and use questionable tactics.
It can be a mystery as to what exactly journalists do, especially as our country becomes increasingly polarized.
I think we also saw a way for viewers to educate themselves about how we do what we do – and why we do what we do.
Here’s a review of “She Said,” a Times Critics’ Choice. It’s in cinemas worldwide.
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That’s it for today’s briefing. Until next time. — Amelia
PS The Times and four major European media outlets called on the US to drop the charges against Julian Assange.
“The Daily” relies on the World Cup.
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