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July 3rd, 2014
07:21 AM ET

China's last women with "lotus feet"

Since 2005, Hong Kong-based photographer Jo Farrell has been on a mission to document China's last women with bound feet.

It was a symbol of beauty and social status that began in the Song dynasty but officially banned over a hundred years ago. But the practice continued in rural areas for a few years after the ban.

Farrell has spent a decade traveling to China’s Shandong and Yunnan provinces to forge a close relationship with 50 of China’s last women with bound feet.

Those women are now in their 80s and 90s. In this video, we discuss the brutal practice of foot binding and Farrell's sense of urgency to share her portraits of their "lotus feet."

June 12th, 2014
02:38 PM ET

Beijing to Hong Kong: We call the shots

Since the handover in 1997, Hong Kong has been ruled under the governing principle of "one country, two systems."

But a white paper issued this week by China's State Council Information office is trying to set the record straight, emphasizing Beijing's "comprehensive jurisdiction" over the territory.

The white paper puts forward the view that some Hong Kong residents are "confused or lopsided in their understanding" of the principle.

It says, "The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) is not full autonomy, nor a decentralized power. It is the power to run local affairs as authorized by the central leadership."

Political columnist and commentator Frank Ching calls the paper a clear warning to Hong Kong, pointing out a line about Beijing's right to declare a state of emergency in Hong Kong.

"If they declare a state of emergency, that means the People's Liberation Army can come in and take over the job of Hong Kong police."

He adds, "That would be the end of Hong Kong as we know it today."

Ching also makes an interesting observation about why the paper was released in seven languages.

"It's warning foreign countries not to use Hong Kong as a base for subversion."

June 10th, 2014
02:46 PM ET

One year of Edward Snowden's revelations

"If history tells us anything it's that whistle-blowers are usually treated kindly, and claims of national security much less so."

Here's my interview with Edward Snowden's legal adviser, Ben Wizner, one year after Snowden revealed himself as the NSA leaker.

June 6th, 2014
12:07 PM ET

Bullets in Beijing: Tiananmen leader Shen Tong looks back

Shen Tong is a Chinese dissident who helped lead the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crackdown, I asked him about his experience during the demonstrations, and the chilling moment when he realized troops were not shooting rubber bullets.

We also talked about a lack of awareness in China about what happened back then.

"It seems like there is a collective amnesia not only due to the lack of information but also due to at least this tacit agreement between the post-'89 police state and the urban population," he tells me via satellite from New York.

"'Let’s forget about the past and why rock the boat' because there are several groups of elite populations, not just in China, that are making so much money so quickly."

But Shen is certain that the collective amnesia concerning Tiananmen will inevitably lift.

"There are plenty of indications that collective memory, so important to the national psyche, cannot be forgotten," says Shen.

"So even though a lot young people don’t know the details... those memories can come back very quickly as we’ve seen time and again in history."

June 5th, 2014
02:34 PM ET

Liu Xiaobo's "June Fourth Elegies"

Before his arrest in 2009, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo would write a poem every year to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

The poems have been translated into English by Jeffrey Yang and published in the compilation, "June Fourth Elegies."

I talked to Yang about Liu Xiaobo's poetry, and the power of poetry to remember an event that has been publicly erased in China.

June 5th, 2014
02:18 PM ET

Inside Hong Kong's June 4 Museum

In an unassuming office building in Hong Kong, is the world's first museum dedicated to the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989.

Let's go inside.

May 27th, 2014
07:13 AM ET

After "Every Day in Cambodia"

Many CNN viewers know him as Mira Sorvino's guide in "Every Day in Cambodia," the 2013 CNN Freedom Project documentary that fixed a spotlight on child sex trafficking in the country.

American activist Don Brewster has dedicated his life to saving Cambodia's children. As the founder of Agape International Mission, he has helped rescue hundreds of girls from sexual slavery.

In Hong Kong, I talked to Brewster about how he tracks down Cambodia's enslaved girls, helps to rebuild their lives, and equips local communities to join the fight against the despicable trade.

Brewster also tells me about the impact of the Freedom Project documentary, and how it has led to justice for some of the girls in Cambodia.

May 16th, 2014
02:11 PM ET

A strong message against illegal ivory

This week, the Hong Kong government started to destroy almost 30 tons of confiscated ivory.

It is destroying the massive stockpile by burning it. Officials plan to incinerate about three tons of illegal ivory a month. The process is expected to take at least a year.

Ivory has long been valued in China for making prized seals and carvings - turning China into a global hub for the illegal ivory trade.

So can this high-profile government program send a strong enough message to end the public's appetite for elephant tusks?

I talked to wildlife activist Sharon Kwok for her reaction to the campaign.

May 15th, 2014
05:34 PM ET

Breaking down #FCCNetNeutrality

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to move forward with a proposal that could create Internet "fast lanes." Now the FCC will collect public comments on the new rules for net neutrality.

There have long been concerns that the rules would undermine an open Internet where all content is treated equally, and instead allow companies to pay for priority access.

A Twitter chat earlier this week reveals that the FCC is concerned about protecting an open Internet and is considering all options.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler tweeted, "Title II is a viable option we’re considering. We are listening and welcome continued discussion. #FCCNetNeutrality"

That's a reference to Title II of the Communications Act. Currently, broadband Internet is not bound by those common-carrier regulations.

Our regular tech contributor Nick Thompson, editor of the NewYorker.com, points out that there are two ways to for the FCC to safeguard net neutrality: pass new rules that could get bogged down in court, or reclassify Internet providers as public utilities under Title II.

Click on to hear Nick break down the issues at stake and the options for the FCC.

May 14th, 2014
06:54 AM ET

What is needed to stop torture?

It has been 30 years since the United Nations adopted the Convention Against Torture, which commits all governments to combating the abuse.

And yet, torture remains widespread across Asia.

Amnesty International reports there are at least 23 Asia-Pacific countries still carrying out acts of torture. It adds that the true number is likely to be higher.

The human rights group says China and North Korea are among the worst offenders.

Torture is also used to force confessions or silence activists in other countries in the region including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

What is needed to finally stop torture?

I posed that question to Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director of Amnesty International. Click on to hear her thoughts on what can finally end the brutal practice.

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