Meg Davis Archives
For the past few weekends, I've been gradually deleting information from my Facebook account. Each Sunday, a few more photos come down. That's because I read Rebecca MacKinnon's call to arms, Consent of the Networked, which shows that Facebook, Twitter, and Google are acquiring the size and power of nation-states, but without the democratic accountability or transparency citizens may demand of the states that govern them. Mackinnon asks, "How do we make sure that people with power over our digital lives will not abuse that power?"
Chinese authorities hold periodic sweeps to detain sex workers, drug users, and other 'social undesirables' en masse in advance of national holidays and major government conferences. Sex workers, including feminist activist Ye Haiyan (also known as Hooligan Sparrow) are increasingly vocal in raising concerns about the effects of these raids, highlighting the hardships faced by the lowest-paid sex workers.
In the often-heated international debate about criminal penalties on sex work, we rarely hear the voices of sex workers themselves. But in China, a new network representing Chinese sex workers says that police crackdowns don't stop sex work - they only drive sex workers further underground, putting them at higher risk of violence and HIV/AIDS.
By Meg Davis
China's annual "two sessions" wrapped up this week, and Chinese lawmakers finally considered proposals to establish a national compensation fund for thousands of victims of the world's largest HIV blood disaster.
Back in 2002, Elisabeth Rosenthal wrote in the New York Timesthat in Henan, "poverty begat AIDS, but AIDS has begotten previously unimaginable poverty." For thousands who received tainted blood transfusions while local authorities covered up the epidemic, the compensation fund would be a life-changer.
By Sara L.M. Davis
In his recent New York Times op-ed, Paul Farmer calls for increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He's right, but to really put muscle into the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund also needs to change its top-down approach to funding, given the reality that HIV/AIDS specifically targets the most marginalized people in any society.
"We're thinking of starting an AIDS law center in Beijing," he wrote in his message. "Do you know anyone who might be interested?"
I did - in fact, I had just come home from having coffee with Jonathan Cohen of the Open Society Institute, who had mentioned an interest in funding an AIDS law project in China. That project launched both Li Dan's Korekata AIDS Law Center and Asia Catalyst.
By Sara L.M. Davis
Yu Hua's New York Times op-ed, "In China, Grievances Keep Coming", says that China's petitioning system works alongside the legal system as a parallel way to channel thousands of individual grievances each year. In fact, as Asia Catalyst sees in our work with Chinese AIDS NGOs, the petitioning system undermines social stability.