Today on the net: Chinese officials urged to declare their assets; a cat running for mayor in a town in Mexico; and an online campaign raising awareness of street harassment.
Chinese officials urged to declare assets
"If Chinese officials think their personal assets are private, their only choice is to step down": this message was posted online last week by university scholar Lui Li and has since been shared over 120,000 times on social networks in China. A call for transparency launched as new rules have been implemented in former Portuguese colony Macau, making it mandatory for all officials to declare their assets.
Many Chinese web users would like to see the same legislation introduced throughout China, to help fight corruption among the political class. In a somewhat ironic tone, bloggers have been urging their political leaders to take the lead of Liu Zhijun, the former railways minister who recently stood trial on corruption charges and who was forced to publicly declare his numerous assets.
And as we can see in these photos that have been doing the rounds online in recent months, activists across China have been brandishing banners and carrying signs, demanding the communist Party government officials disclose their assets.
The campaigning echoes an open letter drafted by a group of academics back in December, shortly after Xi Jinping was appointed President. The document has been signed by thousands of web users urging top-ranking Chinese officials to show greater transparency.
But according to this report released by Human Rights Watch, some campaigners have recently been arrested and the NGO denounces this crackdown on anti-corruption activists in China.
Morris the cat running for mayor of Mexican town
The town of Xalapa, in the Mexican state of Veracruz, will be holding its municipal elections next month, and one of the candidates in particular is hitting the headlines. It’s Morris the Cat and he is indeed running for mayor, with the slogan “Tired of voting for rats? Vote for a cat”. An obvious swipe at politicians; deemed corrupt by many. And according to Morris’ communications team, he is very similar to the other candidates in that he likes lazing around.
And although he will never be able to officially run for mayor, the cat-candidate’s campaign is highly sophisticated, with extremely well designed posters, a video game featuring a cat that gains in popularity every time it catches a rat, and there are also two fake opinion polls. Morris the Cat is taking the web by storm and now has over 128,000 fans on Facebook.
And he is not the only unconventional candidate in Mexico: Tina the chicken, Titan the dog and also Chon the donkey have also announced they will be running in various towns and cities across the country. It’s a form of protest that has wide support online, but is not to everyone’s liking.
Blogger Victor Hernandez for example thinks supporting Xalapa’s cat-candidate could turn out to be counterproductive and end up adding weight to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Carolina Viveros Garcia, from the Veracruz electoral institute tasked with organizing the ballot, is calling for reason, and urges voters to voice their grievances by voting for what she calls the “regular” candidates.
Now trending on social networks
#Shoutingback is a new Twitter campaign where women who have been verbally abused, physically attacked or sexually assaulted in public, on the street, can share their experiences. Victims often suffer in silence, and so this campaign will give them the opportunity to talk, anonymously or otherwise, about what happened to them. Cataloguing these instances of sexism or harassment, creates a support network, and lets them know they are certainly not alone.
This project visualizes Paris’ demographic data by analyzing the French capital’s subway stations. The four students behind the project have uploaded this interactive map which breaks down the stations populations by age, gender, marital status, average household income and also political opinion. It’s a novel idea which provides a different take on Parisians, an interesting project which could well roll out to other cities such as Lyon or Marseille.
Video of the day
Show the Afghanistan without international forces, no Taliban fighters, no explosions: this is what Lukas and Salome Augustin have set out to do in this film entitled “Hard Places”. In this video extract, the journalist couple shows us Afghan life away from the conflict. A remarkable documentary project, which they are seeking to finance through crowdfunding.