Why China’s Experiment in Direct Democracy Is Flawed
The detentions of Wukan’s protesters underscore the collapse of what rights advocates once saw as a “Wukan model” for encouraging direct elections at the village level in China’s one-party political system. Once voted into power, the inexperienced village leaders struggled to convince more senior Communist party officials to return land sold by the previous committee. Bickering, protests and corruption allegations further undermined their effectiveness–and minimized the risk that demonstrations will spread to other localities.
Iran, Cuba Tout Economic Resilience
Daniel J. Graeber, UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
The Iranian and Cuban economies have a long and successful track record of withstanding economic pressure from adversaries, Iran’s president said from Havana. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met his Cuban counterpart, Raúl Castro, in Havana before traveling to New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting. The Iranian president said both economies have shown resilience against strong economic pressure.
North Korea Has Just 28 Websites
Lorenzo Francheschi-Bicchierai, MOTHERBOARD
North Korea has only 28 registered domains, according to leaked data. Most of the websites seem pretty banal, such as the site of the state-owned Air Koryoairline, or that of the Kim Il Sung University. Others, such as the site of the official newspaper of North Korea’s communist party, give us a glimpse of the government’s powerful propaganda machine.
Behind Mr. Putin’s Easy Victory
The Editorial Board, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Twenty-five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia appears to have returned full circle to a pseudo-parliament whose only function is to give a semblance of legitimacy to an authoritarian ruler. The post-Soviet Russian Constitution already granted more powers to the president and cabinet than to the legislature, but at least the Duma was a platform for the opposition to question and criticize Kremlin policies. Now even this function is effectively gone.
Crimean Tatars: Leaders Call for Boycott of Russian Elections
Tatars have largely opposed Russia’s takeover, with community leaders calling for a boycott of the polls after Russian authorities closed their governing body and television channel while detaining, searching and prosecuting activists. Refat Chubarov, the head of the banned Tatars’ Mejlis assembly who lives in exile in Kiev, wrote on Facebook that the polls “held by the occupiers in Crimea are illegal and criminal.”He urged the Tatars–who make up around 14 percent of the population–to “find the strength and courage not to give into scare tactics and blackmail.”