Asia: March 2012 Archives

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The trials of Tweeting in China

Twitter may be blocked in China, but the Chinese have Sina Weibo, which the government tries to police but may already have lost hold of. (Photo: Reuters)

China last week shut down its sanctioned version of Twitter, when rumours of a coup spread like the proverbial "prairie fire" throughout the country.  A couple of weeks ago, Rick spoke with a journalist who knows how this "tweeting" system works. 
We know it as Twitter, though not in China, where it's blocked by state surveillance.

Instead, the state permits the Chinese version -- something called Sina Weibo. The principles are similar to Twitter. The parameters, not so much.

Not when Big Brother has its algorithmic finger posed above delete, just waiting to wipe out any sign of dissent in those 140 characters on Weibo.

That hasn't stopped hundreds of millions of Chinese from signing up. It just means they have to find clever ways around it.

Author Rachel DeWoskin has been looking into it. She lived in China for five years in the 90s, writing and consulting and eventually becoming a TV star in a hugely-popular Chinese program similar to Sex and the City. Her findings appeared in a recent edition of Vanity Fair magazine. She joined Rick from Chicago.

 Rachel's interview with Rick  

The March 22 Dispatches program

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Help for kids of India sex workers

Kalaivani was forced into sex work after her husband died and she had a family to support. Now she counsels women in Chennai's sex trade, and is proud that her two children have become educated professionals. (Photo: Priya Sankaran)

The lure of stardom has been the downfall of more than a few young women drawn from poor villages to the  lights of "Kollywood" -- the film industry in Chennai, the city once known as Madras.  The sex trade flourishes, and exploits them and thousands of mothers left by their husbands.
 The CBC's Priya Sankaran found a program here that is helping the chidren of sex workers break class, gender and caste barriers to at least get an education, in a secret location..

Listen to Priya's dispatch  

The March 22 Dispatches program

(There are no photos of the children or their teacher, to protect them all)

Baby was a sex worker for years. She describes all of the bribes they have to pay each night they work.(Photo: Priya Sankaran)

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China's painful healing, with bee-stings

Worker bees: Bees are traditional health workers in China, stinging to help cure what ails you. (Photo: Danielle Nerman)

Bee-sting therapy; no gain without pain
From China, a story of a bug that punches holes in people, but in a good way here. Or so Danielle Nerman thought about bee-sting therapy.

And while the bee therapy did cure the sinus problem, after the treatment Danielle developed a huge swelling in her neck on the side where she got the full sting.  It took a week to go away

If you've got a story of unorthodox medicine, maybe pictures of it from your time in some faraway place, email dispatches@cbc.ca

The March 15 Dispatches program
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Verbal autopsies shed light on death

 14 million verbal autopsies shed light on death


People call Prabhat Jha "Dr. Death" because of his passion for collecting information on why people die in developing countries.  He says he's goal is to reduce premature death as much as possible.

Scientists say the death toll in the developing world totals around 46 million each year, and for the great majority of them, nobody really knows the cause.

Since most occur at home, there's rarely a certified cause. So in India, where nine-million die annually, they're engaged in one of the largest investigations of human mortality ever attempted. 

It's called The Million Death Study, and it's been going on for the past 14 years. 

When it ends two years from now, scientists will have tracked nearly 14 million people, employing a technique called the verbal autopsy. 

Renowned Canadian epidemiologist Prabhat Jha leads the study, from the Centre for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto.

Listen to Prabhat's talk with Rick

The March 15 Dispatches program

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March 15 & 18 from - Torrimpietra, Italy - Butare, Rwanda - Beijing - Chicago - India

 From our correspondents around the world...


Rwandan journalist Didier Bikorimana out with a local fisherman in Butare, Rwanda who tells him people used to fish with anti-malaria mosquito nets on this lake, but they don't anymore. (Photo: Didier Bikorimana)

Millions of people die every year and no one knows exactly why. The Million Death Study aims to change all that.

Mosquito nets are for a) mosquitos or b) fishing. Both, it turns out, and their mis-use is a problem in Rwanda. 

First, Slow Food. Now, Slow Wine. Italy takes the beverage of Bacchus back to basics. 

Our China correspondent takes the sting out of Dr. Wang's miracle bees in a painful test of traditional medicine.

And, we'll revisit those scaly barbarians at the gate.  An update on  invasive Asian carp eating their way towards the Great Lakes.

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March 8 & 11, 2012 - from San Pedro, Mexico - Russia - Rome - China - Cape Town, South Africa

From our correspondents around the world....

Mauricio Fernandez Garza, mayor of the municipality of San Pedro, attends a ceremony to evaluate their police force in March, 2010. Fernandez Garza practises what some call vigilante justice, which he says keeps his city safe. (Photo: REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)

The Mexican mayor nobody messes with. Some who've tried to are dead. Vigilante justice maybe, but voters like it. 

Then, Putin's Kiss: the new documentary that reveals how the Kremlin uses the country's youth to police his political opponents.

Meanwhile, Italy is trying to shake up its economy by shaking up some of the most privileged people in the country. This could get interesting.

And, China's new literature of ambition.  Popular online novels preach self-promotion, at any cost.

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