Chinese web users speculate on rumours of power struggles within the Communist Party. In the US, growing outcry over Trayvon Martin’s death. And a young paraplegic woman goes bungee jumping, in her wheelchair.
China: online speculations about political change
Rumours are rife on the Chinese blogosphere ever since Bo Xilai the charismatic and highly controversial Communist Party leader, in the central Chinese city of Chongqing, was removed from his position on the 15th March. Up until now the Maoist politician had been one of the most high profile and top contenders for promotion in this autumn’s Communist Party leadership succession.
No official reason has been given to explain his sacking, which has only served to feed speculation on power struggles within the Communist party. Rumours of a military coup started emerging on the web last week, with web users posting photos of armored vehicles apparently spotted in Beijing. Some even claim to have heard gun fire in the area of Zhongnanhai, where the Chinese government headquarters are located.
Even road accidents are rumored to have political implications. Last week a man was killed behind the wheel of his Ferrari in the Chinese capital, sparking debate on the blogosphere. The driver’s identity was not revealed but many web users believe him to be Bo Guagua, Bo Xilai’s son.
Their names have since been blocked on micro blogging sites, as have the search terms “Ferrari”, “gunfire” and “coup d’état”. But despite the authorities’ lack of transparency, these measures have done little to cut off debate among information hungry web users.
USA: national outcry grows over Trayvon Martin’s death
There has been a national outcry in the USA following the death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. The black teen was shot in Florida on the 26th February by a local neighbourhood watch volunteer for no apparent reason. There has been growing indignation over the disturbing circumstances surrounding his death and more specifically the fact the man who shot Trayvon Martin has not been charged.
As we can see in these pieces of amateur video footage, thousands of Americans, most of them from the black community, gathered in the capital, Washington, this weekend, to call upon the authorities to find out what exactly happened. Many demonstrators carried banners reading slogans like “we are all Trayvon Martin” and “no peace without justice”.
Mobilization is also gaining momentum on the web, with all sorts of online displays of solidarity. An e-petition urging the authorities to bring the case to trial has already gathered over 1,800,000 signatures. And the creators of this Tumblr blog entitled “I am Trayvon Martin” are asking fellow citizens to share photos of people “looking suspicious” to demonstrate that this is not sufficient reason to shoot someone.
Numerous public figures have also voiced their concern. President Barack Obama, former boxing champion Mike Tyson and also members of the Miami basketball team who have all shown their solidarity, in one way or another, with Trayvon Martin, saying they hope the various enquiries will shed more light on the affair, to gain a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding his death.
Now trending on social networks
Macky Sall has won the second round in Senegal’s presidential election, and has become a popular trending topic on social networks. Web users from all over the world have been posting messages congratulating both the new president and also the outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade for his quick concession of defeat. The majority of people in Senegal are relieved by the result, feeling it constitutes a great move forward for democracy and that it represents a new era in Senegal after Abdoulaye wade’s twelve year rule.
French teacher catches students plagiarizing
A French teacher decided to catch out students who were copy and pasting answers from the Internet and has related the experiment on his blog. The teacher posted all sorts of ridiculous facts and figures about a 17th century poem on Wikipedia, discussion forums and online textbooks and then gave his students a homework assignment in which they had to review the poem. Three quarters of his teenage pupils simply, and stupidly, copied what they found on the Internet…
Video of the day
In this video we see a young paraplegic woman in Canada, bungee jumping… in her wheelchair. The jump was sponsored by “9lives adventures”, an organization which helps the physically disabled take part in adrenaline packed adventures and extreme sports; in the hope these types of activities will help change the way they are perceived by able bodied people.