Tags: Body & Mind, psychology, Society
NEW YORK—Anthony Cruz is a different man now that he has been locked up several times.
Before serving his 10-year sentence in New York state prisons for manslaughter in the first degree he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and depression, among other mental health conditions. Cruz spent a total of three years in solitary confinement, but he said he was denied help from mental health staff in prison. Unless he had suicidal thoughts, he wasn’t allowed to talk to a psychiatrist.
Since Cruz was released on parole two years ago, it’s been difficult finding a steady job with a felony conviction on his record. This summer, he received notice from the city that his family would have to relocate from their current homeless shelter location in the Bronx. Then, his wife’s temporary teaching job ended, and her weeks of job searching didn’t yield results. To cope with the stress, Cruz turned to MDMA, a drug he was addicted to before. “I was going through so much,” Cruz explained.
At a regular visit to the parole office for a drug urine test, Cruz was caught with the drug in his system.
He had a panic attack upon hearing that he’d have to go to jail at Rikers Island for his parole violation. “I was wailing and crying, telling the parole officers that I didn’t want to go back to a cell.”
Cruz suffered several more panic attacks while inside. He couldn’t sleep being around so many people. He was reliving his deepest fear.
Local jail reform advocate Five Mualimm-ak, with the Incarcerated Nation Corporation, sought to get Cruz treatment for his drug dependence and other mental health needs, but nothing came of the requests.
Across the country, people with mental illness and substance abuse are repeatedly cycled in and out of the criminal justice system. The latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimate that more than 1.26 million mentally ill adults are detained in the country’s jails and prisons. Some cities are trying to change this statistic through programs that offer some of these nonviolent offenders a way out of incarceration, and a chance to improve their lives.
Out of Jail, Into Treatment
In the 1980s and ’90s, different communities across the country created programs to provide treatment alternatives to incarceration for people like Cruz, who would otherwise face jail time for nonviolent drug charges, or those who committed offenses during a mental health crisis.
For example, in the late ’80s, the police department in Memphis, Tenn., devised a crisis intervention team (CIT) where officers would be trained in identifying and responding appropriately to the emotionally or mentally disturbed. Police are taught de-escalation techniques to calm down individuals who may be agitated or aggressive. And instead of arresting them, police would bring them to a mental health treatment center.
The Memphis model has been adopted by other cities, including in San Antonio, Texas, where police officers bring people to The Restoration Center. There, they can get medical and mental health treatment, as well as social services such as housing and job training.
San Antonio also has a detox center and a 90-day residential program for those in need of substance abuse treatment. For those in need of more intensive care, they get transferred to state hospitals or private institutions if the individual has private health insurance.
Leon Evans, the director of San Antonio’s mental health care system who developed the center, said he got the idea after he saw the county jail overcrowded with people in need of mental health treatment.
Police would bring the mentally distressed to the emergency room or jail, but without treatment or housing, they get released back to the streets and may turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with their illnesses. “They would get arrested the same day and go right back into jail,” Evans said.
“Texas is a pretty conservative place,” said Evans. “[W]e realized that putting them in jail was the last thing we should be doing.”
Evans said the center has been proven effective: about 70 percent of those who graduate from the center’s treatment programs are living and working independently a year later. Since the center was built five years ago, the county has also saved $10 million per year.
Dangerous for the Mentally Ill
The country’s jails and prisons are toxic environments for those with a mental illness.
In August, a DOJ investigation of jail conditions at the city’s main jail Rikers Island found that adolescent mentally ill inmates were routinely abused by corrections officers and placed into solitary confinement for extended periods of time—as punishment for breaking rules, or getting into verbal disputes with the officers. Several high-profile cases of mentally ill inmates dying under questionable circumstances while detained at Rikers have been reported in the last year.
DOJ data shows that across the country, mentally ill jail inmates are twice as likely to be charged with a rule violation and three times as likely to be injured in a fight. Studies have also shown that mentally ill inmates are detained longer on average than those without a mental illness.
Incarceration also has heavy financial costs. A recent analysis by the city comptroller’s office revealed that in fiscal year 2014, it cost city taxpayers more than $96,000 a year to house an inmate in jail.
Treatment is more cost-effective than jail, said Jim Parsons, research director at the Vera Institute, a criminal justice policy research organization based in New York. The organization found that alternative-to-incarceration programs in New York City save an average of $7,038 per person.
Read more: Help, Not Incarceration
Tags: CCP, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
Jiang Zemin faction sought bloody end to the Umbrella Movement
By Lu Chen
Hong Kong media are reporting that one faction of the Chinese Communist Party CCP has attempted to manipulate recent events in order to produce a Tiananmen Square-like massacre in Hong Kong. The goal of the bloodshed would be to bring down Party leader Xi Jinping, according to the reports, which corroborate previous reporting by Epoch Times.
The recently released November edition of Hong Kong’s Frontline magazine cited a Beijing source with inside knowledge of the CCP’s affairs as saying Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Dejiang wanted to turn the suppression of pro-democracy protesters by Hong Kong police on Sept. 28 into a second Tiananmen Square massacre. The Frontline article, which is not available online, was quoted by the U.S.-based, Chinese-language news website Aboluowang.
Zhang is the chair of the Standing Committee of the CCP’s rubber stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress, and holds the Party’s portfolio for Hong Kong and Macau affairs. Zhang is also a close ally of former CCP head Jiang Zemin.
According to the Beijing source, the faction loyal to Jiang Zemin believed that if a massacre in Hong Kong took place under the spotlight of the world’s media, it would spell the end of Xi Jinping’s rule.
As Epoch Times has previously reported, Jiang’s faction has sought to displace Xi since before he took office. Part of the Jiang faction’s strategy has been to create unrest in Hong Kong as a way of making trouble for Xi, as Epoch Times, relying on sources inside the Party, first reported on Dec. 3, 2012.
Again relying on sources inside the Party, Epoch Times reported in 2014 before the Occupy Central protests began that Jiang’s faction sought to incite bloodshed in Hong Kong as a way of unseating Xi.
After the Hong Kong police volleyed dozens of tear gas canisters at the protesters on the night of Sept. 28, Xi issued orders prohibiting a violent crackdown, Frontline reported.
The leaked order from Xi to the Hong Kong government says: “It’s absolutely not allowed to open fire. Wasn’t the lesson of June 4 deep enough? Whoever permits shooting steps down! Even tear gas wasn’t necessary. Let it be, if it was already done. If people are not scared away, just leave. The condition has deteriorated to this point, and it’s your job to figure out how to solve the problem. Overall, never allow bloodshed. Try to win public support. Hong Kong affairs must be negotiated with the Hong Kong people.”
Senior political commentator, column writer, and historian of the CCP Lin Baohua published an opinion article on Taiwan People News on Oct. 25 that argued that the central authorities didn’t want a bloody incident in Hong Kong.
“If Beijing didn’t stop [the violence], with [Hong Kong chief executive] Leung Chun-ying’s wolf nature, he would have long committed the slaughter.” Lin wrote.
Lin said the lack of firm action against Occupy Central reflects the division of opinions high in the CCP.
The October edition of Hong Kong’s Trend magazine gives a picture of Hong Kong that complements that provided by Frontline and Lin Baohua.
The magazine quotes some anonymous princelings—offspring of the founders of the CCP—as saying Zhang Dejiang was “as bad as a violent terrorist” and was “using Hong Kong to bring trouble to Xi.”
Xi, son of communist revolutionary and a political leader Xi Zhongxun, is considered as a representative of offsprings of China’s elites.
Many princelings consider Xi Jinping, the son of communist revolutionary Xi Zhongxun, as a representative for their group.
Trend magazine sketches some of the steps the Jiang faction took to help incite the pro-democracy protests.
Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan, an ally of Jiang Zemin, issued the White Paper on Hong Kong on June 10 that defined the concept of one country, two systems out of existence by ending any claim Hong Kong had to autonomy.
The decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Aug. 31 that denied meaningful universal suffrage to Hong Kong was issued by Zhang Dejiang.
Trend magazine reports that the White Paper and the decision on universal suffrage were meant by Jiang’s faction to arouse anger in Hongkongers.
In response to the White Paper, more than 500,000 took part in the July 1 march for democracy. The decision on universal suffrage triggered the student strike on Sept. 22, which evolved into full-blown protests on Sept. 27.
A commentary article in the November edition of Frontline magazine criticizes Zhang for being “insane” for insisting NPC’s decision on universal suffrage was unchallengeable.
During the meeting of Zhang with Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions on Sept. 16, Zhang stated that the NPC’s decision on Hong Kong’s election in 2017 was “the supreme legal authority.”
In making this claim, the Frontline commentary pointed out that Zhang was contradicting the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which requires the Legislative Council and the chief executive to approve changes to the means for electing the chief executive.
One week after Zhang’s statement, Xi Jinping spoke in a much softer tone in a Sept. 23 meeting with top Hong Kong business people.
Without mentioning the NPC decision on universal suffrage or the White Paper, Xi said: “The basic policy that the central government takes to Hong Kong hasn’t changed and won’t change. [The central government] will firmly hold onto one country, two systems and the Basic Law, supporting Hong Kong promoting the development of democracy and maintaining prosperity and stability.”
Xi’s statements on the Hong Kong issue were “sharp warnings to Zhang,” Frontline said.
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Tags: archaeology, China, Culture, Science, Society
By April Holloway
The Dongba symbols are an ancient system of pictographic glyphs created by the founder of the Bön religious tradition of Tibet and used by the Naxi people in southern China. Historical records show that this unique script was used as early as the 7th century, during the early Tang Dynasty, however, research conducted last year showed that its origins may date back as far as 7,000 years ago. Incredibly, the Dongba symbols continue to be used by the elders of the Naxi people, making it the only hieroglyphic language still used in the world today.
The Naxi people lived in the beautiful mountain province of Yunnan (“south of the clouds”) for thousands of years, where they developed their own rich and enduring culture. Today, most of the 270,000 Naxi people live in the county of Lijiang where they retain many of their ancient traditions.
Tags: CCP, China, human rights, Society
HONG KONG — The United Nations Human Rights Committee urged China on Thursday to allow elections in Hong Kong without restrictions on who can run as a candidate. The move appeared likely to draw strong criticism from Beijing, where officials decided in August to set strict guidelines for the 2017 election of the city’s next leader, prompting mass sit-in protests.
“Hong Kong China should take all necessary measures to implement universal and equal suffrage in conformity with the covenant, as a matter of priority for all future elections,” Cornelis Flinterman, a member of the rights panel from the Netherlands, said on Thursday, referring to an international agreement on political rights.
United Nations Calls on China to Allow Free Elections in Hong Kong
By Matthew Robertson
HONG KONG—A panel of United Nations experts on Thursday called on China to allow real universal suffrage in Hong Kong, the latest sign of international pressure and attention on the People’s Republic of China over its restrictions on Hong Kong’s political system, after tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have occupied major roads in the financial center for nearly a month.
Chinese communist authorities say they have already provided Hong Kong with universal suffrage. But the definition provided by the panel of 18 UN experts, differs from China’s.
Konstantine Vardzelashvili, the chair of the UN review session, said that “universal suffrage … means both the right to be elected as well as the right to vote.”
“The main concerns of Committee members were focused on the right to stand for elections without unreasonable restrictions,” she said, in statements made at the conclusion of the panel.
The panel, part of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, monitors Hong Kong’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a bedrock standard of human rights around the world.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, has since 1997 been a special administrative region of the PRC under a “one country, two systems” model. For decades Hong Kong activists have fought for the right to vote and stand in elections freely. Most recently they have been thwarted by decisions in Beijing which force candidates for the chief executive, the top position in the city, through a political sieve. Chinese authorities say that the Hong Kong public will be presented with two or three candidates that have effectively been vetted for their loyalty to the regime. Hong Kong citizens worry that such individuals will have little incentive to represent the interests of Hong Kong citizens.
The remarks by the ICCPR review panel were a follow up to recommendations put forward in March 2013 for Hong Kong to allow genuine universal suffrage. Chinese authorities responded last week that it was already trying to “forge consensus within the community so as to realize the implementation of universal suffrage.” The version of “universal suffrage” proposed by the regime, however, was found unsatisfactory to the United Nations panel.
Tags: CCP, Children, China, confucius institute, human rights, Society
By Omid Ghoreishi
Is it possible for Confucius Institutes, a Beijing-controlled educational program cited by Chinese officials as a tool to extend the regime’s “soft power,” to follow both Chinese law and the law of the hosting nation?
A clause in the agreement between the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the headquarters of Confucius Institute (CI) obtained by Epoch Times through a request under Ontario’s Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act says that CI activities must be in accordance with the laws and regulations of both Canada and China. The school board, Canada’s largest, will vote on whether to terminate its partnership with the CI on Oct. 29.
Experience in at least one Canadian institution shows that this is impractical since in many cases the laws of the one-party totalitarian state contradict those of Canada’s parliamentary democracy, and so it may be that the Canadian law gets dispensed with.
“Canadian law is equality, non-discrimination,” explains David Matas, a Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer. China’s laws, on the other hand, institute “repression, discrimination, hostility,” toward any group the Chinese Communist Party chooses to target, including Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uyghurs, and democracy activists, among many others, Matas says.
In 2012/13, Matas took on a case involving a Confucius Institute instructor at McMaster University who, like other instructors hired in China to come to the university’s CI, had to sign a contract promising not to practice Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation system severely persecuted in China.
Sonia Zhao signed the contract out of fear that her refusal might reveal to Chinese officials that she in fact practices Falun Gong and as a result could face imprisonment like her mother, also a Falun Gong adherent.
“Initially [McMaster's] defence was that it is not their jurisdiction and they didn’t know about it,” Matas says.
“I argued to the contrary that it was their jurisdiction because it was happening in Ontario and they must have known about it because the Hanban (CI headquarters in China) hiring policy was published on its website in English.”
Epoch Times reported in 2011 that Hanban has a stipulation in English on its main website stating that teachers at CIs must have “no record of participation in Falun Gong.”
Epoch Times also reported earlier this year that the website of Hunan University, which has an agreement to supply instructors for the TDSB’s CI, states that teaching candidates “will be assessed to ensure they meet political ideology requirements.”
For its part, McMaster held discussions with CI headquarters to eliminate the discriminatory requirement for the instructors coming to Canada. However, Hanban wouldn’t back down.
Eventually, the university decided to end its CI program since the Beijing-run organization didn’t follow human rights values and principles that the university follows and “holds dear.”
“There wasn’t alignment between what was happening in the two countries,” says Andrea Farquhar, assistant vice president of public and government relations at McMaster.
“Although we tried to see if there could possibly be a solution, it turned out that there wasn’t, so we did give them notice in December of 2012 that we would be closing [the CI], and it closed in 2013.”
‘Political Arms’ of Beijing
McMaster isn’t the only institution to close its CI. The Canadian Association of University Teachers issued a statement late last year calling on all Canadian universities and colleges to cut ties with CIs, calling them “political arms of the Chinese government.” Shortly after, the University of Sherbrooke ended its CI program.
South of the Border, the American Association of University Professors echoed the statement of its Canadian counterpart and asked all American universities not to partner with CIs, saying hosting one enables CIs to “advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate.”
Two prominent U.S. universities, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago, decided to end their relationships with CIs in the last couple of months.
Intelligence agencies and experts, including former Canadian Security Intelligence Service senior manager Michel Juneau-Katsuya, have also indicated that CIs are involved in espionage activities for Beijing.
The TDSB’s CI partnership was originally championed by former chair Chris Bolton while the rest of the board was kept in the dark about the details of the agreement. Bolton resigned in June a few months before the end of his term amidst concerns raised by parents and many of the trustees about the partnership.
Earlier this month, a TDSB committee voted to terminate the board’s CI partnership. That decision will be voted on by the entire board during a general meeting on Oct. 29.
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Tags: Body & Mind, psychology
by Tatiana Tobar-Darzi
There have been times when I was unhappy with my life for no certain reason. I looked to external factors to fill the void, only to realize that no other person or thing could fill that gap. So I started thinking, ‘What can I do to maintain happiness throughout my daily living?’ I came up with a practical solution: positive thinking.
But it’s easier said than done, because positive thinking requires practice and a balance of emotions.
Negative thoughts will affect our actions and perspective.
For example: at work, your colleague gets noticed and praised, meanwhile you get overlooked. As a result, you feel resentment and anger toward your colleague, thinking he or she isn’t worthy and you deserve to be rewarded for your work as well. You try to make yourself feel better by focusing on the other person’s weaknesses. But how does this really help you improve your mood? It doesn’t. So what can you do to change the way you feel about a situation that is bothering you and attain a positive state of mind?
Here are some steps you can take to improve your outlook and emotions:
1. EMOTIONAL THINKING
Let’s say you’re driving, and someone cuts you off, you come home angry, slam the door, scoff at your spouse or pet, because you’re now in a bad mood. Think about it, you’re basically letting this negative state of mind control the outcome of the rest of your day.
Don’t do it! Don’t dwell on it. Take a step back, breathe, forgive, and let that moment go. Negative things happen to us all the time.
2. INJURED PRIDE
If at work someone gives you constructive criticism but you are too stubborn to see past your pride, then you will never allow your mind to be open to the suggestions of others. Especially when you view the other person in a lesser light. Maybe they’re your subordinate, maybe they haven’t performed that well, but try to push your pride aside and re-analyze things. Is there indeed something you can improve on and therefore benefit the greater cause? By setting aside your pride, you will allow yourself to see things more clearly. Pride is a negative emotion and it won’t get you far in life.
Tags: CCP, China, human rights, Society
By Chen Pokong
1. Teens, Youth, and Middle-Aged People
Scholarism, the Hong Kong Federation of Students ,and the Troika of Occupy Central are the three major groups that uphold the Hong Kong Occupy Central Movement. They are composed of high school students, college students, and middle-aged intellectuals respectively.
The perfect combination of teens, youth, and the middle-aged represents the mainstream and future of Hong Kong. This combination disseminates an explicit message: Communism is unpopular in Hong Kong and the Communist Party has no future in Hong Kong.
Given these, there are two propositions that follow: Will Hong Kong’s youth live longer, or Beijing’s political patriarchs live longer? Will the universal values that Hong Kong people insist on live longer, or the one-party dictatorship that the Party leadership compound of Zhongnanhai adheres to live longer?
2. Illegality Against Illegality
Beijing accused the Hong Kong Occupy Central movement of being illegal. Nonetheless, civil disobedience is an illegal defiance meant to restore legality by means of illegality.
But one thing which is for sure is that the central government of the Beijing regime was illegal in the first place—it violated the “Basic law,” breached the “one country, two systems” formula, and broke the promises stipulated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
So, Hong Kong people simply followed suit. It is a kind of illegality against illegality, which is similar to the old Chinese saying, “to subdue the enemies by learning from their strong points.”
3. The Consequences of Violence
Throughout the Occupy Central With Love and Peace movement, the occupiers have always upheld pacifism and love for Hong Kong. They have never thrown a bottle or a paper ball. They even picked up the garbage on the ground and sorted it out.
Being unarmed, they held up their empty hands during their demonstrations. These kind of peaceful demonstrators are indeed few and far between. However, taking orders from the Beijing regime, the Hong Kong Government turned out to resort to a large amount of tear gas and pepper spray, trying to forcibly disperse the protesters as soon as possible.
This action in turn triggered another large-scale protest participated in by over 200,000 Hong Kong residents. The Occupy Central movement thus became occupying Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, which has long been a civilized territory, the chaos is in fact the consequence of the government’s violence.
4. Red Versus Black
To deal with the massive Occupy Central movement, it is reported that Beijing authorities finally came up with an alternative idea under the bottom line of “no compromise and no bloodshed.” That is, mobilizing the underworld to carry out sinister tricks by thugs to intimidate, harass, and attack Occupy Central protesters with violence.
The appearance of those masked men who forcibly demolished the barricades is no different from the terrorists in the Middle East, and their nature is equally evil. Under the evil forces’ incessant intimidation and vocal abuse, Chow Ting, a member of Scholarism quit the movement.
The (communist) red and the (triad) black have long belonged to the same family. No wonder the former Politburo member Bo Xilai failed after he advocated “singing red and fighting black”—his attempt in the megacity of Chongqing to revive a Maoist fervor for communism while pretending to fight organized crime. If something is self-contradictory, how can it not be doomed to collapse?
5. Black and White
Not only did those who are against Occupy Central movement lay siege to Occupy Central protesters, but they also participated in the forcible demolition of the barricades. We do not rule out the possibility that among those who are against the Occupy Central movement, there are some gangsters and some pro-communist residents.
In fact, the CCP’s special skill is to instigate struggles between groups. But people didn’t expect that it would still be applicable 65 years after it took power.
However, black and white are two distinct things. The anti-Occupy Central members’ joining the underworld side inadvertently proved the fact that those who associated with the underworld are in fact no different in nature from those in the underworld.
6. Hong Kong People Versus Chinese People
Some people from mainland China don’t understand the Hong Kong people’s fight for freedom, and even disdain or condemn them. They said, “Hong Kong people have been enjoying so much democracy and freedom, but they are still not satisfied. Hong Kong people are spoiled.”
This kind of mindset suggests that not only should people in mainland China not enjoy democracy and freedom, neither should the people in Hong Kong.
This situation is similar to the Chinese saying that caged birds ridicule the birds in the sky, while domesticated animals mock wildlife. The Zhongnanhai leadership should be secretly delighted that its birdcage policy and raising-pig philosophy have been so successful.
Growing up in different environments, the Hong Kong people’s concepts of democracy, universal values, and an independent personality differ tremendously from the Chinese mainlanders’ nationalism and slave personality—as much as if they were water versus fire.
7. The Scandal About the Chief Executive
Amid the heated Hong Kong democracy protests, a scandal about the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying happened to come to light. He was accused of accepting approximately US$6.5 million in secret funds, without declaring them.
Who made this news public? The public doubted that it was the Beijing regime that leaked the news. In fact, between compromise and recourse to force, dismissing Leung Chun-ying might be a perfect intermediate solution, as it may be a step that avoids embarrassment for both sides.
Beijing can ask Leung to step down under the pretext of a corruption investigation and calm down the Hong Kong people’s anger. After winning the first-stage victory, Hong Kong people may calm down temporarily.
8. Color Revolution
Beijing refers to the Occupy Central movement as a “color revolution.” However, color revolution is not a negative term, but something positive.
All the color revolutions that occurred around the world were movements in which people overthrew authoritarian tyrants by taking to the streets or launching a great revolution, such as the “Velvet Revolution,” the “Tulip Revolution,” the “Orange Revolution,” “Jasmine Revolution,” and so on.
The Chinese regime’s defining the Hong Kong Occupy Central movement as a color revolution is tantamount to agreeing that Beijing is a dictator and a tyrant. In fact, Hong Kong Occupy Central movement is dubbed by the public as the “Umbrella Revolution.” Since the umbrella revolution is an anti-dictatorship revolution aiming to fight for freedom, it turns out to be one of the great color revolutions.
9. Foreign Forces
Beijing has said there are foreign forces behind Hong Kong people’s Occupy Central movement, and explicitly specified the U.S. government.
This accusation suggests that all the Chinese people, including the Hong Kong people, are all obedient subjects or citizens who are not supposed to criticize or protest against the Chinese regime. As long as there are Chinese people, Hong Kong people included, who criticize or protest against the regime, they must have been ordered by foreigners, or received money from foreigners to carry out the conspiracy plotted by foreigners.
In actuality, the Chinese regime has in this humiliated all the Chinese people: You are all slaves who were born a slave, and your IQ is lower than that of foreigners; if you were not ordered by foreigners to do so, how could you come up with the ideas of criticism, protest, and rebellion?
10. Ripple Effects
Hong Kong Occupy Central movement has attracted global attention. People around the world are aware that Hong Kong people do not agree with or accept the CCP’s rule.
Taiwan’s pro-independence campaign thus came up with campaign slogans reading “If you vote for the KMT, Taiwan would become Hong Kong,” “Taiwan people are worried “Today’s Hong Kong may be tomorrow’s Taiwan.”
Even Taiwan’s pro-China president Ma Ying-jeou had to stand up to make it clear that Taiwan will never accept the one country, two systems policy; and that he firmly supports the Hong Kong people’s fighting for genuine universal suffrage.
In addition, Ma also imitated Deng Xiaoping’s saying of “letting some people get rich first,” by calling on Beijing to “let some people get democracy first!”
Obviously, the Hong Kong Occupy Central movement is expanding its ripple effect.
Chen Pokong was a member of the 1989 student movement in China. After twice serving time in prison, Chen was exiled to the United States. He writes regularly on, and is the author of several books about, China and its politics.
Translation by Billy Shiyu
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.
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Tags: beyond science, Culture, funny things, Science
By Tara MacIsaac
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.
It isn’t only biblical figures who lived to well-seasoned ages of 900 years or more. Ancient texts from many cultures have listed life spans most modern people find simply and literally unbelievable. Some say it’s due to misunderstandings in the translation process, or that the numbers have symbolic meaning—but against the many explanations are also counterarguments that leave the historian wondering whether the human lifespan has actually decreased so significantly over thousands of years.
For example, one explanation is that the ancient Near East understanding of a year could be different than our concept of a year today. Perhaps a year meant an orbit of the moon (a month) instead of an orbit of the sun (12 months).
But if we make the changes accordingly, while it brings the age of the biblical figure Adam down from 930 to a more reasonable 77 at the time of his death, it also means he would have fathered his son Enoch at the age of 11. And Enoch would have only been 5 years old when he fathered Methuselah.
Similar inconsistencies arise when we adjust the year figures to represent seasons instead of solar orbits, noted Carol A. Hill in her article “Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis,” published in the journal “Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith” in December 2003.
Tags: Body & Mind, health, psychology
Upon trawling my mind as to how to define what this article is trying to convey, I decided to visit the World Health Organization’s website to define the area of Mental Health and its many different forms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health (and mental health) as: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Mental health is an integral part of this definition.”
How many of us can actually admit that we can know what our Mental Health is? Yes, that’s correct. There is simply not one single answer because Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and insomnia to name but a few are extremely complex and in many cases an intellectual minefield.
I did something on the way to work a couple of days ago partially out of disbelief but mostly out of frustration. I stopped trying to board a rush hour train and simply slumped my body onto the bench nearest to me. I refrained from being part of this scurry and began being consumed by the panic, havoc, and the general disarray of the many bodies thrusting and cramming relentlessly onto a Path train in order to get into work on time.
The constant rushing from one place to the next, the anxious glances at your wrist watch, the uneasy shuffling on the subway during rush hour, your heart beats faster and becomes more anxious, the perspiration builds on the palm of your hands, another quick glance. Damn, it’s almost 9:00 am and you are not going to make it to work on time.
Now stop for just a moment, if this is you and this happens five times a week on top of handling the heavy workload, on top of raising a family—you really need to be privy to the inner sanctums of your Mental Health.
Some individuals are fully aware and actively promoting a positive mind set within their lives, which is a smart and intelligent move.
But for those that don’t, your ability to handle stressful situations may well dictate the structure and successfulness of your life.
Mental health and anxiety issues can be just as detrimental to one’s well being as any other physical illness, yet we as individuals continuously fail to acknowledge these underlying and very prevalent issues.
When the topic of Mental Health is mentioned the concomitance ensues, which unfortunately is usually one of negativity. The whole spectrum of Mental Health is vast, complex and extremely multidimensional topic.
Not only do many individuals refuse to discuss their Mental Health openly, but in some cases remain in denial that their Mental Health maybe in actual fact be experiencing an overload.
One of the first steps to promoting a positive Mental Health within one’s life starts with actively acknowledging your Mental Health. Equipped with this knowledge one should then be talking steps to ensure your mental attitude is residing within a controlled environment.
Denial is a major component of depression and anxiety with prevents many individuals from taking the first positive steps.
According to Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, ”If you’re in denial, you’re not being realistic about something that’s happening in your life—something that might be obvious to those around you.
Sadly this in turn can lead to a multitude of issues and bottomless pits. These signposts include loneliness, depression, and isolation. They also include loss of self esteem through loss of a job or person through death.
All of the above scenarios are an attack on ones Mental Health and general well being causing individuals to become mentally ill, they feel as if they have nobody to turn to.
The current economic climate is having disastrous effects on individuals and their families, marriages have failed because of arguments about incomes, job losses and pressure to keep the family together in these turbulent times.
Although there are many contributing factors related to Mental Health issues many experts have cited poverty and economical factors as a major contributor including socio economic status. A culmination of the above leaves an individual with not only a feeling of vulnerability and disadvantage but is also seriously damaging to self confidence and belief.
Those who love and support you can see if you look tired, if your humor is mellow, and if you are generally just not being yourself.
These issues combined have a ripple affect essentially undermining ones confidence; this in turn reduces their productivity within their communities.
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
There are many herbs and foods that can treat and prevent a wide variety of illnesses and diseases. Many people are beginning to use natural antibiotics and remedies for these illnesses rather than relying on traditional Western medicine with risks and side effects.
Natural antibiotics can be powerful treatments for illnesses, preventing disease and keeping the body’s health in balance. Natural antibiotics, such as honey, ginger and Echinacea, among others, are powerful remedies to a wide variety of illnesses and diseases.
Honey has natural antibiotic properties. Spreading it on wounds and burns can fight infection and promote faster healing. Using locally sourced honey can also combat seasonal or environmental allergies. Since bees use local pollen to make their honey, people with pollen allergies can find relief by consuming local honey. As a natural sweetener, adding honey to tea is an excellent way to get its health benefits.
Garlic is an herb used commonly in cooking, but it can also be used as a remedy to fight off infections and diseases such as ear aches, colds, flus, and pneumonia. The herb can help boost the immune system and reduce risk of heart disease, and it contains lots of vitamin C, which is beneficial to people’s health. Because it is used so widely in cooking, garlic is readily available for anyone who needs it.
Tags: archaeology, Culture, Science
By April Holloway, http://www.ancient-origins.net
Archaeologists in Russia have unearthed a suit of armor made entirely of bone, which belonged to an ancient Siberian knight who lived around four millennia ago. The Siberian Times reports that the stunning discovery was found in near-perfect condition and is the only example of bone armor found in the Siberian city of Omsk.
The armor consists of different plates made up of small fragments of bone that have been joined together. Testing is being conducted to determine the type or types of animals that the bone came from, but it is suspected to be from deer, elk, and/or horse. Analyses are yet to determine its exact age but Siberian archaeologists say it dates back up to 3,900 years.
Yury Gerasimov, a research fellow of the Omsk branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, said that the bone armor would have belonged to an elite warrior and would have given “good protection from weapons that were used at the time – bone and stone arrowheads, bronze knives, spears tipped with bronze and bronze axes.”
The armor was found buried at a depth of 1.5 meters at a site of sanatorium where there are now plans to build a five star hotel. It had been buried on its own rather than alongside a body, which poses a few mysteries. Armor had great material value during the Bronze Age and great care and maintenance was required to keep it in prime condition. Therefore, the fact that it was buried in the ground without being part of a burial, suggests that it may have been some kind of offering.
“While there is no indication that the place of discovery of the armor was a place of worship, it is very likely. Armor had great material value. There was no sense to dig it in the ground or hide it for a long time – because the fixings and the bones would be ruined,” said Gerasimov.
The Bronze Age bone armor is also inconsistent with the style and trends of the Krotov culture, which inhabited the forest steppe area of Western Siberia, and more closely resembles that of the Samus-Seyminskaya culture, which originated in the area of the Altai Mountains, approximately 1,000 km away and later migrated to the Omsk region. This has led archaeologists to propose that the suit of armor may be a war trophy, or it could have been a gift or exchange between cultures.
The researchers now have a big task ahead to clean and reconstruct the armor. Although it is in good condition, there are still some parts that have fragmented into tiny slivers of bone and all these will need to be reassembled. The hope is to reconstruct an exact replica of the suit of armor.
The archaeological site where the armor was found includes a complex of monuments belonging to different epochs, from the Early Neolithic period to the Middle Ages, including settlements, burial grounds, and manufacturing sites. The research team hopes to save the site for future study and preservation.
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Tags: Chinese culture, classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun
Trailer: 2015 World Tour
Tags: animals, Body & Mind, environmental issues, health, Nature, sustainable development
SYDNEY—California has become the newest region to ban lightweight plastic bags, joining four states and territories in Australia in restricting the use of disposable plastics. The move comes as Australian researchers study the toxicity of plastics, which are polluting the marine environment at a molecular level.
The Californian ban was signed into law on Sept 30, making plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies prohibited from July 1, 2015, with convenience and liquor stores to follow a year later.
In Australia, non-biodegradable lightweight plastic bags are banned in Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, but the legislation does permit the use of compostable, bio-degradable bags.
While the bans on bags represent important progress, researchers are finding the threat of plastics goes deeper than the disposable products we can see. Professor Richard Banati from the the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) says the full lifecycle of plastic is not yet understood and its degradability is questionable, particularly when litter is left to float in oceans.
The present paradigm is “the solution to pollution is dilution” but his research indicates otherwise.
“Dilution has its limits,” he said in a phone interview.
Beyond the Visible
There is no doubt that on a visible pollution level plastic is a huge problem. Scientists have found evidence of plastics choking or smothering many marine animals and ecosystems.
In a report released last month, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found plastic constituted most of the rubbish floating along Australia’s coastline, with densities ranging between a few thousand pieces of plastic per square kilometre to more than 40,000 pieces.
“About three-quarters of the rubbish along the coast is plastic,” said CSIRO scientist Denise Hardesty after collating data from survey sites every 100 km along the Australian coastline. “Most is from Australian sources, not the high seas, with debris concentrated near cities.”
Professors Banati’s work, however, looks beyond the visible. Using nuclear scientific methods he is examining a more insidious interaction – plastic contamination at the molecular level.
Following the results of an earlier collaboration with biologist Dr Jennifer Lavers, who was researching plastic in shearwater birds, the two scientists found that when plastic interacts with sea water, it absorbs heavy metals, becoming more toxic as it degrades. Looking at shearwater feathers at the molecular level they have identified the presence of plastic particles.
“Micro plastic particles are perfectly bite sized pieces for things like krill, zoo plankton, filter feeders and all of the marine creatures at the very base of the marine food web,” Dr Laver said.
Professor Banati is now collecting a larger sample for further research, conducting his own survey from Hobart to Sydney Harbour.
His aim is to identify the full life cycle of plastic, its impact on marine life and the food chain.
The forensic method, he said, will make plastic traceable and in that respect make producers and consumers accountable.
It is the increasing use of plastic on a mass level that is the concern. Identifying the full life cycle of plastic will allow for a better understanding for industry and government of how and when it can best be used.
“Traceability will allow us to make policy decisions,” he said.
Tags: CCP, China, Hong Kong, human rights, Society
A photo captures the city’s imagination and helps it let go its anger
By Li Zhen
HONG KONG—On Sept. 29 the government withdrew the riot police, and at least 100 thousand students and adults continued gathering outside the central government offices in Admiralty, and in Causeway, Wan Chai, and Mong Kok. After a night of terror on Sept. 28, the mood in the city had shifted, a shift perhaps captured by an Epoch Times photograph that went viral.
On the night of Sept. 28, a young protester stood opposite the police outside the Central Government offices. Suddenly, and without provocation, the police discharged pepper spray.
The young man was preoccupied with filming, and the pepper spray went onto his face and in his eyes. He cried out in pain, “We are unarmed. How can you attack us like that?”
The policeman standing opposite the young man said, “I know, I know.” Then, while dressed in the face shield and gas mask that made him look like something other than a human being, the policeman took out his own water bottle and began rinsing the young man’s eyes.
At that moment, Epoch Times photographer Yu Gang snapped a photo.
The simple image has touched countless Hongkongers. They find the photo soothing in a time of trouble. It seems to encourage people to set aside their anger, and the positive feelings it engenders are circulating through the Internet and into society.
Within a few hours after the photo was uploaded to the Hong Kong Epoch Times Facebook page, over a million people saw the post in their news feed.
One netizen responding to the photo wrote, “Of course we understand they [the police] are just doing their jobs. We are not mad at them. We are mad at the authorities.”
Another wrote, “I used to be a policeman and understand they have to obey orders when on duty. Why only put the blame on frontline police? From my point of view, it’s the commissioner who should take the most responsibility. He should apologize and be dismissed from his position. Note that it is DIMISSED!”
“The police have gone too far, but the chief criminals are [Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying and [Police Commissioner] Tsang Wai-hung. Should have them kneel and apologize to everybody,” wrote a netizen.
Another netizen wrote, “I heard the police kept saying ‘sorry’ to protesters while firing pepper spray.”
Some netizens also showed support and admiration for the reporters and photographers working at the front lines. “Without you guys, there won’t be any news. Thank you all for risking your lives to record everything from the beginning,” read one post.
The photographer Yu Gang said that while covering the protests he was caught in the tear gas and could hardly breathe. A few people helped him get out of that place, and one of them was a policeman. Yu remembered he saw the word “police” on one person through a translucent rain coat.
Peacefulness, Compassion, and Tolerance
After the police fired volleys of tear gas into the crowds on the night of the 28th, the authorities obviously realized the gravity of the situation and changed their tactics.
Condemnation for the police action immediately descended on Hong Kong from around the world, and statements of support for democracy in Hong Kong were forthcoming from the UN Secretary General, the White House, and Canada’s foreign ministry.
In Hong Kong, the indignation over the use of pepper spray and tear gas against unarmed students and protesters is citywide and extends through all parts of society.
Beneath the indignation, there is a mutual grief. Hongkongers have lost faith in the police, and a relationship built over a long period of time is now gone.
There are reports that the Hong Kong police are split on how to handle the demonstrators. Some are tormented at having targeted unarmed and compassionate young students, some of whom may be their relatives or people they know. After the night of tear gassing, some police announced their resignations on Facebook.
In the current situation, the police will have a hard time increasing the violence. Hong Kong is a special region. It is a small city with a population of about 7 million. Inhabitants here share the same Chinese traditions and also the colonial culture inherited from the United Kingdom. They mainly speak Cantonese and some English. They identify with one another.
The pro-democracy protesters have won over the whole city, even the entire world, with their peacefulness, compassion, and tolerance.
A Hongkonger wrote on Facebook that he has never seen such polite demonstrators. They have not damaged a single car or harmed any public facilities or anything at all. They did not attempt to fight back after being doused with pepper spray and being immersed in clouds of tear gas. They pick up their trash and clean up after themselves.
During their demonstrations, they sing and cry. They distribute food and water in an orderly way. Some students study at the site.
When the coordinator of the rally asked the protesters to leave after the police unleashed the tear gas on the 28th, none left. Instead, more people came to join. They are fighting for a better Hong Kong and displaying the true spirit of Hong Kong for the whole world to see.
As a Hongkonger wrote on the internet, “At this moment, I have to admit that I’m truly proud of you all, my fellow Hong Kong people!”
Translated by Michelle Tsun.
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Tags: beyond science, Body & Mind, psychology, Science
By Tara MacIsaac
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.
A lucid dream is a dream in which a person realizes he or she is dreaming and is able to consciously interact with the dream. People can learn to dream lucidly through various techniques (discussed later). Some psychologists use lucid dreaming to treat trauma victims, including veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge, who received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, has also said that studying lucid dreams may greatly help us better understand the phenomenon of dreaming; unclear dreamer-recall has always been a great hindrance to studying dreams, but lucid dreamers are able to remember their dreams with greater clarity. They are also able to perform actions in dreams following the instructions of researchers.
Psychologist J. Timothy Green treated a Vietnam War veteran who had recurrent nightmares about the time he saw his best friend killed in battle.
It was the same every time. His friend would fall, and blood would flow from his neck until he finally died.
“Because his dream was always the same, I suggested he pick one particular moment in the dream and each night as he fell asleep to mentally and emotionally visualize himself back in that particular moment and remind himself that he was dreaming. He decided to use the moment when he found that his buddy had died as the signal he was dreaming,” Green wrote in an article on Therapist-Psychologist.com.
The veteran followed Green’s advice and was able to realize he was dreaming when he saw his friend. He was then able to redirect the dream, telling his friend the war was over and they were going home. The friend didn’t die this time, but instead got up smiling and walked away.
The nightmare that had haunted this man for three decades did not return.
Green hypothesizes that nightmares are either subconscious attempts to make the individual aware of something, or they are “a psychological attempt to end a difficult, even terrifying event, in a less traumatic manner.”
“During lucid dreams, the individual is able to face the frightening images in his or her dreams and have the dream end in a more favorable and less traumatic manner,” Green wrote.
Neuroscientist and science writer Bill Skaggs noted that people who dream more often are also likely to be depressed.
“People who are very severely depressed often show an excess of REM sleep—the type of sleep in which dreams occur,” he wrote in a post on Quora.com. “Reducing the amount of REM sleep is an effective way of reducing the level of depression, at least temporarily.” Whereas eliminating REM sleep—eliminating dreams—is a temporary solution, Green helps patients change the dreams for more lasting results.
The Place of Lucid Dreaming in Dream Studies
LaBerge began studying lucid dreaming more than 40 years ago for his Ph.D. at Stanford. At the time, many dismissed the phenomenon of lucid dreaming as temporary arousals from sleep. The experiments of LaBerge and others, however, showed the physical effects of lucid dreaming on the brain, eye movement, and muscle movement.
The effects on the brain set lucid dreaming apart from waking life, but also from imagining. A lucid dreamer performing a certain action, such as singing, in a dream produced different brain activity than the same person singing in waking life or imagining singing while awake.
Such experimentation was only possible with lucid dreamers. LaBerge directed a test subject to signal to him while in the dream using pre-determined eye-movement patterns. Once the dreamer realized he was dreaming, he would make the eye-movements, which would also cause the eyes of his physical body to move. Then he would sing. When he was finished singing, he would make the eye movements again.
This way, LaBerge could see where the singing began and where it ended and could examine the brain activity data for that exact time period to see how it correlated to the action.
“The fact that recall for lucid dreams is more complete than for non-lucid dreams … presents another argument in favor of using lucid dreamers as subjects,” LaBerge wrote in “Lucid Dreaming: Evidence and Methodology.” “Not only can they carry out specific experiments in their dreams, but they are also more likely to be able to report them accurately. That our knowledge of the phenomenology of dreaming is severely limited by recall is not always sufficiently appreciated.”
How to Realize You’re Dreaming
Green had directed his patient to picture a scene as he was falling asleep and to also be aware that that scene is within a dream. This is one method of training yourself to dream lucidly.
Others have suggested would-be lucid dreamers get in the habit of asking themselves in waking life, “Am I dreaming?” If it’s a habit, you’re more like to ask yourself this question in a dream and realize it is indeed a dream.
Having a predetermined signal in mind can also help. For example, in the film “Waking Life,” which is themed around lucid dreaming, the main character knows that if he flips a light switch and it doesn’t change the lighting level, he’s in a dream. Many lucid dreamers have reported that establishing similar signals for themselves is helpful.
WikiHow gives several other techniques, including marking an “A” on your palm. Whenever you see the “A,” it can remind you to ask yourself whether you’re awake.
LaBerge wrote: “As long as we continue to consider wakefulness and sleep as a simple dichotomy, we will lie in a Procrustean bed that is bound at times to be most uncomfortable. There must be degrees of being awake just as there are degrees of being asleep (i.e. the conventional sleep stages). Before finding our way out of this muddle, we will probably need to characterize a wider variety of states of consciousness than those few currently distinguished (e.g. ‘dreaming,’ ‘sleeping,’ ‘waking,’ and so on).”
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