Today on the net: China pays tribute to Nelson Mandela; activists challenge Russia’s anti-gay laws ahead of the Sochi Olympics; and copies of some ancient bibles and rare biblical texts are now available online.
China: Mandela hailed by officials and dissidents alike
China, along with the rest of the world has been reacting to the death of Nelson Mandela and paying tribute to the former South African leader. President Xi Jinping remembered his decade’s long struggle against apartheid, and state media has urged Chinese web users to pay homage to an “old friend” to China.
He has always been held up as an icon the Beijing authorities but he’s also been an inspiration to critics of the Communist regime who have been raising the issue of China’s human rights record. Lawyer Zhu Dingyi for example says China needs a figure like Nelson Mandela to lead China in its progress towards rule of law.
Cartoonist Jicama has expressed a similar sentiment saying “China’s Madiba” wouldn’t be fighting segregation by race, but segregation by privilege, and would need to fight for the rights enjoyed only by the privileged class; communist party officials, and their entourage.
Others like web user Jimmy Ji say that China already has its Nelson Mandela, but he is still behind bars. They are referring to Noble Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 after calling for democratic reforms and greater freedoms in China.
And some are saying China needs its own Frederik de Klerk, the last white president of South Africa under whom Mandela was released from prison in 1990: together they went on to negotiate the end of apartheid.
Activists challenge anti-gay laws in Russia
The Sochi winter Olympics draw nearer and online activists continue to challenge the homophobic legislation in Russia. Two global gay rights organizations All Out and Athlete Ally have launched the “Principle 6” campaign. They are saying that if Russia is to host the Winter Olympics in February then it must abandon its anti-gay laws.
Activists are calling attention to the International Olympic Committee’s own mission statement, saying Russia’s laws are not compliant with the Olympic Charter and notably the sixth principle of nondiscrimination.
The campaigning is gaining ground, this petition has already been signed by over 400,000 people and counting. It calls on the Russian president to repeal the anti-gay legislation passed in June. A law that bans the promotion among minors of so called “non-traditional sexual relations” and carries a fine or even a jail term.
The movement has created a "Principle 6" clothing collection, available online. A lot of athletes have already posted photos of them wearing the clothing to social networks. It’s a way of encouraging sports fans the world over to join the campaign, and all sales profits from the clothing line will be donated to gay rights organizations in Russia.
Ancient bibles published online
The Vatican and Oxford University’s Bodleian library have launched a joint project digitizing ancient bibles and rare Greek and Hebrew texts and making them available to the public on a purpose-built website. So you can flick for example through all the pages of the Gutenberg bible printed in the 15th century. The project will eventually create an archive of one and a half million pages, creating a unique treasure trove available to web users the world over.
“Art x Smart”
And what if the models in some of the world’s renowned masterpieces had smartphones? South Korean artist Kim Dong-Kyu has added some 21st century technology to some famous historical paintings including Vermeer’s “Girl with a pearl earring” and Manet’s “the Luncheon on the grass”, transporting them to another time, available to view on his blog “Art x Smart”.
Video of the day
American Base jumper Thayer Healey captured his latest jump on camera, a jump that went horribly wrong. In this video which he has shared on Vimeo, we see him crashing into a rock and sliding down a cliff face in Utah, narrowly escaping death. He did suffer serious injuries however including several sprains, a compression fracture of a vertebra and stiches to the eye and chin…