Chinese web users comment on the country’s leadership transition. Italy’s Minister of Labour sparks an online outcry. And an acrobatic dog becomes a web sensation.
Web users comment on China’s leadership transition
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a hot topic on Chinese social networks. It opens this Thursday in Beijing, and marks the country’s once in a decade leadership transition, when a new generation of leaders will be placed in the party’s top positions; a sensitive political time, and all online commentary is under strict surveillance.
The name of the future president, Xi Jinping, has been blocked on China’s Twitter equivalent, Sina Weibo. So web users began skirting the restrictions by referring to him under code words, like “prince” for example, a nod to his family background and his father who fought alongside Mao Zedong. Search terms that were blocked soon afterwards.
But China has some 500 million web users, and it’s not easy to silence them, they always seem to be one step ahead of the censors. When the government blocked searches for the phrase “18th Party Congress” or shi ba da” in Chinese, bloggers managed to get around it by using characters that have a similar pronunciation; one substitute was “Sparta”.
And so, as we can see in this comic strip, web users are using the famous city-state of ancient Greece to denounce the drastic security measures taken by Beijing during the congress, and also to demand a more transparent and democratic government.
Others have been more direct in their criticism of the Chinese authorities. In a recent blog post, journalist Liu Shengjun has drawn up a list of suggestions for delegates at the 18th National Congress; 18 political and economic reforms to combat corruption and reduce social inequality.
Italian Minister of Labour provokes online outcry
Italian Labour Minister, Elsa Fornero, recently provoked an outcry when at the end of October she told graduates not to be too quote “choosy” when looking for employment, saying they should accept the first job offered, so they can enter into the working world. Her comments have sparked lively reaction in Italy where around 35 % of 15 - 24 year olds are unemployed.
Countless Italians, outraged by the Minister’s remarks have taken to social networks to voice their anger. On Twitter, and also via photo sharing platform Instagram, where netizens have been slamming Elsa Fornero, saying they have every right to be choosy and should not have to accept anything and everything simply because the country is in recession.
The blog « Choosy Sarai Tu » which translates as “You’re the choosy one” hosts dozens of personal accounts from young people in unemployment or precarious job situations. Often over qualified, they openly criticize the Minister saying the Italian job market is totally saturated and they regularly contemplate moving abroad in the hope they can finally find suitable employment.
But despite the uproar, some appear to be in agreement with Fornero. This blogger for example emphasizes the importance of being flexible and refers to personal experience. She says she started work as a nanny and then met someone who offered her another job, and she’s now working for a well-known banking group. She concludes by saying she would never have got this job if she hadn’t initially accepted a position for which she was clearly over qualified.
Miniature people on food landscapes
American photographer Christopher Boffoli has created some very original scenes using miniature model people and food. The collection, which is available to view online, is called “Big Appetites”: it brings these toy people to life and transports you somewhere between dream and reality.
Maddie the balancing dog
Last year American photographer Theron Humphrey decided to travel across the United States with his dog Maddie. And along the way the artist started taking photos of his obviously very docile pet, in some pretty wacky poses. He went on to post the somewhat unusual shots to his blog, and they have been so popular with web users that they are being made into a book, which will hit the shops in April.
Video of the day
When Disney bought LucasFilm, the company behind Star Wars, from George Lucas last week, it sparked lively reaction on the web, and appears to have inspired countless online comedians. Here’s the latest creation: this video was uploaded to the AV Byte YouTube channel, a song featuring some of Disney’s best known heroines, including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and also Ariel the Little Mermaid… they are offering Princes Leia some advice on adapting to life in the fairytale world of Mickey Mouse and friends…