Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Go to another part of town

One of the mysteries of the Iranian regime is the "morality police." Are they part of the government? Under whose authority do they operate? Or are those questions that only an ignorant non-believer would ask?

And what would be the equivalent of the Ershad in the other countries you have studied?

Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police
An anonymous team of Iranian app developers have come up with a solution to help young fashion conscious Iranians avoid the country's notorious morality police known in Persian as Ershad or guidance.

Ershad's mobile checkpoints which usually consist of a van, a few bearded men and one or two women in black chadors, are deployed in towns across Iran and appear with no notice.

Ershad personnel have a very extensive list of powers ranging from issuing warnings and forcing those they accuse of violating Iran's Islamic code of conduct, to make a written statement pledging to never do so again, to fines or even prosecuting offenders.

The new phone app which is called "Gershad" (probably meaning get around Ershad instead of facing them) however, will alert users to checkpoints and help them to avoid them by choosing a different route.
Part of Gershad screen

The data for the app is crowdsourced. It relies on users to point out the location of the Ershad vans on maps and when a sufficient number of users point out the same point, an alert will show up on the map for other users. When the number decreases, the alert will fade gradually from the map.

In a statement on their web page the app's developers explain their motives in this way: "Why do we have to be humiliated for our most obvious right which is the right to wear what we want?…

The app has rapidly become a hot topic on Iranian social media, with users generally welcoming it as an innovative way to avoid a potentially unpleasant encounter with the guardians of national virtue…

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The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Diversity in China

Beneath the apparent absence of cleavages in China, there is diversity. What are the political reasons for the differences between policies in Hui and Xinjiang?

Light Government Touch Lets China’s Hui Practice Islam in the Open
As the call to prayer echoed off the high walls of the madrasa and into the surrounding village, dozens of boys, dressed in matching violet caps, poured out of their dorm rooms and headed to the mosque.

That afternoon prayer ritual, little changed since Middle Eastern traders traversing the Silk Road first arrived in western China more than 1,000 years ago, was at once quotidian and remarkable.
Men gathering before prayers at a mosque in Linxia.

That is because in many parts of the officially atheist country, religious restrictions make it a crime to operate Islamic schools and bar people under 18 from entering mosques…

With an estimated Muslim population of 23 million, China has more followers of Islam than many Arab countries. Roughly half of them live in Xinjiang… where a cycle of violence and government repression has alarmed human rights advocates and unnerved Beijing over worries about the spread of Islamic extremism.

But here in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region… that kind of strife is almost nonexistent, as are the limitations on religion that critics say are fueling Uighur discontent.

Throughout Ningxia and the adjacent Gansu Province, new filigreed mosques soar over even the smallest villages, adolescent boys and girls spend their days studying the Quran at religious schools, and muezzin summon the faithful via loudspeakers…

Unlike the Uighurs, who speak a Turkic dialect and whose Eurasian features set them apart from the country’s Han Chinese majority, the Hui speak Chinese and are often indistinguishable from their non-Muslim neighbors. In much of China, the white caps worn by men and the head scarves worn by women are all that give them away…

Religious leaders said that the government had become especially vigilant about tamping down competition and potential strife among different Islamic factions. Several imams said party officials were most concerned about Salafis, an ultraconservative Sunni sect whose strict interpretation of religious texts has been associated with extremism…

The party is increasingly seeking to leverage this good will by positioning the Hui as mercantile emissaries to the Muslim world, a role that has been bolstered by President Xi Jinping’s national initiative for a new Silk Road, known as One Belt, One Road, which seeks to revive China’s ancient trade routes with Asia, Europe and the Middle East…

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

A word as part of a battle

When a political system has as little transparency as China's, simple things like titles become clues to what's going on behind the scenes. Here's one interpretation.

In spite of the appearances of centralized authoritarianism, it's good to remember a 13th century assessment of Chinese government, "Heaven is high and the emperor is far away" [天高皇帝远 or Tian gao, Huangdi yuan]. It's sometimes translated as "The mountains are high and the emperor is far away." There were times and places even during the Cultural Revolution when Mao wasn't in control of everything.

Xi Jinping Assuming New Status as China’s ‘Core’ Leader
Xi
China’s president, Xi Jinping, has already grasped more power more quickly than his two recent predecessors, and he has shown a taste for audacious decisions and a loathing for dissent. But a new push to praise him as China’s “core” leader, a term resonant with the formidable stature once held by Deng Xiaoping, suggests that his steely quest for dominance is not over…

In the stagecraft of Chinese politics, formulaic expressions like “core” (in Mandarin, “héxīn”) are tokens of power. Officials have suggested that hailing Mr. Xi as a leader of such stature — one in the footsteps of Deng, who ruled China through its transformation after Mao’s death — carries a warning not to question, let alone challenge, his authority as the government navigates turbulent changes…

Mr. Xi, whose formal titles include general secretary of the Communist Party, has signaled his demands for greater loyalty through recent central leadership meetings, with the message filtering downward…

“Resolutely safeguard the absolute authority of the party center under Comrade Xi Jinping as general secretary,” Chen Quanguo, the party secretary of Tibet, said on Wednesday. “Staunchly safeguard, support and be faithful to General Secretary Xi Jinping, the core.”…

Mr. Xi… appears to be laying the groundwork for promoting loyalists, which will culminate in the party’s next congress in 2017, said Joseph Fewsmith, a professor at Boston University who specializes in Chinese elite politics. Mr. Xi was installed as top leader at the last congress in 2012 and is likely to remain party leader until 2022.

Despite Mr. Xi’s daunting power, he presides over a political elite that includes many appointees promoted by his predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. The congress will give Mr. Xi a chance to install his own people, and he wanted to stress the importance he places on submitting to his goals, Professor Fewsmith said…

By contrast, Mr. Xi’s immediate predecessor as president and party chief, Mr. Hu, conspicuously never gained the title of core leader in party pronouncements. That was widely seen as reflecting Mr. Hu’s position as a relatively weak leader, long overshadowed by Mr. Jiang, who governed through consensus that critics said bred deadlock and corruption.

Since coming to power in November 2012, Mr. Xi and his allies have implicitly presented their task as cleaning up the mess left by Mr. Hu: corruption, excessive industrial investment, pollution, social rancor and inequality, and incipient opposition to one-party rule…

“He’s been reconfiguring the patterns of Chinese politics to strengthen his position step by step,” Jin Zhong, the chief editor of a website in Hong Kong that focuses on Chinese politics said. “The anticorruption campaign, taking control of law and order, reforming of the military, all have concentrated power,” he said. “This ‘core’ expression is another step.”

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Mass line propaganda

Wow!

Propaganda for the mass line has really changed. It used to be long, boring speeches, beautifully drawn posters, and long xiaozu meetings. Now, it's rap, Beethoven, and South Park-style animation. You really have to see it to believe it.

Remember the Four Comprehensives!

Video Extols China’s Party Slogans, Turning to Rap and Beethoven
China’s Communist Party propagandists turned to rap and Beethoven this week in their quest to reach a target audience often rendered indifferent to dull party slogans by lifelong consumption.

“It is everyone’s dream, to build a moderately prosperous society comprehensively,” goes the song in a cartoon video released by Xinhua, the state news agency. It extols the “Four Comprehensives,” priorities that President Xi Jinping laid out in December 2014:

  • Comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society
  • Comprehensively deepen reform
  • Comprehensively govern the country according to the law
  • Comprehensively apply strictness in governing the party

State news media have since praised the priorities as a guide to realizing the China Dream, a concept of national strength and prosperity that Mr. Xi has also put forth.



"Follow Me, the Four Comprehensives"


Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Monday, February 08, 2016

"These are not the droids you are looking for."

Well, maybe they are, but no one will openly admit it. And it seems that Xi has a new name for democratic centralism: consultative democracy.

Xi extends greetings to non-CPC parties, invites valuable advice
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged non-communist parties to make greater contribution in accomplishing ambitious development goals in the new year.

Xi and party leaders
Xi made the remarks at a gathering… in Beijing, extending Lunar New Year's greetings to all people from non-communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and those without party affiliations, an official statement said…

Xi said he appreciated the work and efforts of the non-communist parties and personages in providing valuable suggestions and ideas, and he expected even greater contributions from them in the new year.

He called for more consultation between the CPC and non-CPC political parties as one of the key aspects of the consultative democracy with Chinese characteristics…

Consultative democracy is defined as a democratic pattern led by the CPC that sees all sections of society consulted on major issues before and during policy-making processes.

Xi said the non-communist parties and personages can serve as an abundant think tank, and he called for more valuable advice, especially on major and difficult issues concerning economic development and comprehensive deepening reform…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Friday, February 05, 2016

Contending with violence

Nigeria is threatened by violence all over the country. In the southeast, Biafran terrorists fight against the destruction of the environment and corruption; in the Middle Belt, mobile populations fight over scarce resources; in the northeast, Boko Haram terrorizes everyone; and possible ISIS bombers strike Abuja and Lagos.

And the solutions are… ?

Boko Haram blamed for deadly attack on Nigeria village
Dalori
At least 50 people are reported to have been killed in north-eastern Nigeria in a gun and bomb attack by suspected Boko Haram militants…

Witnesses said the attackers arrived on motorbikes and in lorries and were wearing military uniforms, Nigerian media reported.

Survivor Alamin Bakura told the Associated Press that he hid in a tree as the attackers struck on Saturday evening.

He said he saw militants firebomb huts and heard the screams of children as people were burned to death. He said several members of his family were among those killed or wounded.

Boko Haram has also been blamed for deadly bomb attacks in neighbouring Chad…

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Another sign of the times in China

China's president seems to have decided that China has done enough of the opening up needed to gain respect of the West. Now, economic power can earn that.

China Is Said to Force Closing of Women’s Legal Aid Center
Guo Jianmei, founder
of the Women's
Legal Service
The Chinese authorities have ordered a leading women’s legal aid center in Beijing to shut down operations… another sign of a continuing crackdown on civil society.

The center was highly symbolic for having been born of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, a moment when China, struggling to be accepted internationally after the 1989 military suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square, loosened controls on civil society activities…

“It looks like they are trying to crush all people with any influence,” said a longtime women’s rights campaigner who requested anonymity while discussing a politically sensitive matter. “As far as well-known people go today, it’s ‘kill one and scare 100’ to make sure no one else tries to do anything. Controls on thought and speech are intensifying. The repression of lawyers and NGOs is growing.”…

The closing of the center signifies a tightening of the restrictions on civil society because its work helping women in domestic violence, child custody, land rights and employment disputes had long been tolerated by the government…

“The Chinese government is increasingly hostile of civil society actors who are doing work that was tolerated in the past,” especially groups with links to international organizations, she said.

The All-China Women’s Federation, the Communist Party body that represents women’s interests in China, could not be reached for comment.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Inequalities with Chinese characteristics

It's not just in the USA that politicians are watching for the effects of inequalities. Will they affect politics, legitimacy, socialization, and political culture?

Studies Point to Inequalities That Could Strain Chinese Society
President Xi Jinping calls it his “China Dream” — a vision of a cohesive, equal society, increasingly wealthy and healthy, and happily wedded to Communist Party rule, ardent patriotism and traditional values. That vision, splashed on television and billboards everywhere here, has driven Mr. Xi’s vow that under his administration, Chinese society will become more equal and just.

But two new studies from institutes in Beijing suggest that while Chinese people remain wedded, though not always blissfully, to the status quo, Mr. Xi confronts a persistent undercurrent of discontent with inequality in incomes, schooling opportunities and health care. That social strain could become troublesome, especially if the economy continues to falter…

Mr. Xi and his prime minister, Li Keqiang, have said that overcoming these social imbalances is a priority. But the report, drawing on the results of an annual survey covering more than 35,000 adults and 13,000 families, warns that more needs to be done.

“These problems demand effective solutions,” the report said. “Otherwise, it is very possible that they will threaten social stability and become a bottleneck in social and economic development.” …

The study shows that… family background plays a powerful role in determining people’s level of schooling, especially parents’ educational attainment. But in China, political privilege is also an important factor. Whether your father is a member of the Communist Party… is a powerful determinant of educational attainment…

Discrimination against girls has weakened, but it remains a powerful factor in the opportunity for schooling…

Unequal access to health care has also been a source of dissatisfaction for many Chinese…

“Compared to the working class, and especially workers in the state sector, China’s middle class has a more positive assessment of perceptions of the rich-poor gap, trustworthiness of officials and government performance,” the study said. “The middle class has the potential to become a social stabilizer.”

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Criticizing your predecessors

Well, George Washington was a slaveholder. Mao "made mistakes." But Lenin was "delirious"?

And do you recognize the reference to reinforcing cleavages?

Putin denounces Soviet founder Lenin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday criticized Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, accusing him of placing a ‘‘time bomb’’ under the state and sharply denouncing brutal repressions by the Bolshevik government.

The harsh criticism of Lenin, who is still revered by communists and many others in Russia, is unusual for Putin…

Putin’s assessment of Lenin’s role in Russian history came during Monday’s meeting with pro-Kremlin activists in the southern city of Stavropol. Putin denounced Lenin and his government for brutally executing Russia’s last czar along with all his family and servants, killing thousands of priests, and undermining the Russian state by drawing administrative borders along ethnic lines…

Lenin
Putin was particularly critical of Lenin’s concept of a federative state with its entities having the right to secede, saying it heavily contributed to the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. ‘‘It was a time bomb under our state,’’ he said, adding that Lenin’s was wrong in a dispute with Josef Stalin who advocated a unitary state model.

Putin also blasted the Bolsheviks for making Russia lose World War I in their quest for power, making Russia suffer defeat by Germany and cede large chunks of territory just months before it lost World War I. ‘‘We lost to the losing party, a unique case in history,’’ Putin said.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











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