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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2012-02-06

China: Wukan holds first free elections

Residents in the Chinese village of Wukan head to the polls. The art of the Occupy movement. And a Frenchman goes about his daily business, without leaving his bicycle.

China: Wukan holds first free elections

At the end of 2011 China’s Internet censors blocked searches relating to the ongoing protests against forced evictions in the village of Wukan, in southern China. Residents faced down a police siege that lasted weeks and even saw off local officials and Communist Party representatives.

But now Wukan is at the center of much online discussion and debate over democracy in China. Residents ended up receiving the compensation they were demanding for seized lands, and they went on to win their right to a free election: on Wednesday villagers cast their votes in the first of two elections to choose their new representatives.

As we can see in these pictures, the polling stations were constructed using the means available. Voting booths made out of wooden boxes, polling areas separated by curtains and pieces of paper for voting slips. Web users across the country have been following this rare moment of democracy.

Property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang is holding these elections up as a model for future reforms and this web user from Beijing thinks they prove that the people of China are ready for democracy.

And other villages, towns and cities across the country might well follow Wukan’s example. Over the past few weeks, residents of Maoxue, in central China, have been also been protesting against the expropriation of land in their village. They want to hold free and transparent elections to choose officials to defend their interests to the central authorities.

 

The art of the Occupy movement

The Occupy movement continues, despite the American Police Force moving in to disperse the tent cities erected by Occupy Protesters from last September onwards in various cities across the US. Artists spanning a wide range of genre have joined the fight, denouncing the abuses of capitalism and corporate greed in the best way they know how.

Graphic designer Kenneth Hung has quite clearly been inspired by the Occupy Movement. He created this series of posters celebrating what he describes as an American revolution. Many web users have indeed been expressing themselves through art and all the posters created for protests across America are available to view on the site occupyprint.org.

Musicians have also been voicing their support. Numerous pieces have been composed and posted online; with styles ranging from rap to folk, they highlight how the richest 1 % of America has captured the country’s wealth.

Others have turned to poetry to denounce the harmful effects of capitalism. The Occupy Wall Street digital library website is publishing works by protesters and writers. The collection is updated regularly and already consists of hundreds of poems.

Calls for artists to take part in an international day of creative action on the 12th February, dubbed “Occupy Art”, are being relayed on social networks. Artists from all over the world will be expressing their frustrations with what they believe is an unfair financial system.

 

Now trending on social networks

When Mitt Romney won the Florida primary, word spread that he would now be getting protection from the secret services, and ever since American web users have been coming up with code names for the Republican nomination favourite, under the hashtag “Romney Code Names”. His critics have come up with nicknames like “the six million dollar man” or “weathervane”, allusions to his close ties with the financial world and his reputation for adapting his political beliefs to suit the situation.

 

New York Public Library turns stereographs into animated images

The New York Public Library is inviting web users to participate in the ‘Stereogranimator’ project by opening up its collection of over 40,000 digitized stereographs, which was an extremely popular photo format in the 19th century, and is where two identical or near identical pictures are placed side by side to create a three dimensional effect. You can try your hand at bringing these photos back to flickering life via the library’s website and then view them through 3D glasses.

 

Video of the day

Guillaume Blanchet is a young Frenchman living in Montreal, Canada. And he made this video as a tribute to his 64 year old father who over the course of his life has ridden over 120,000 kilometers on his bike. In the video we see the son going about his daily routine … on a bicycle! So his morning wash, brushing his teeth, making his breakfast… the video took 382 days of filming to complete.

By Electron Libre

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