Grind for September 21st, 2018
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
– Henry Ford
Chinese celebrity Fan Bingbing has been missing since June
Fan Bingbing is a Chinese actress you might recognize from appearances in the Iron Man and X-Men films. At age 36, she is the Chinese equivalent of someone like Jennifer Lawrence (best known for playing Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games movies).
In 2015, Times Magazine named Fan as China’s “most famous actress.” Last year, she topped Forbes’ China celebrity rich list with earnings of more than $43 million.
Fan has been missing since June, when, according to social media, she traveled to Tibet to visit a children’s hospital. She was reportedly under investigation for tax evasion, but it is possible she has been detained by the government for ‘bad behavior.’
Fan’s disappearing act comes amid a cultural clean-up in China wherein the Communist government is pressuring actors, musicians, and public figures to endorse socialist values. The crackdown has even extended to video games and bloggers.
Official Chinese media published a report earlier this month ranking Chinese celebrities in order of social responsibility, including moral conduct. Fan came in dead last with zero points.
A state-run publication reported last week that Fan had been placed “under control, and will accept the legal decision” of authorities. The story was withdrawn hours after it was published.
China has long sought to control the arts by censoring movies and literature. But with the advent of online media making such efforts harder, the government has turned to scare tactics.
Official bodies are now threatening to ban so-called “tainted artists” who engage in inappropriate behaviors like gambling, prostitution, and drug use.
Celebrities get destroyed by the media all the time in the US. But in China, the government has the power to make you disappear. No fighting it; no appeal to the media; no public trial. And the government can do this to anyone, anytime.
London Mayor wants another Brexit vote
On June 23rd, 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The vote was tight, with roughly 52% of voters choosing to leave the bloc.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government initiated the official withdrawal process in March 2017, which put the UK on track to leave the EU by March 2019 after a period of negotiations.
But as negotiations continue to fail, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling for a second vote.
Khan, who belongs to the opposition Labor Party, initially campaigned to remain in the EU. After the referendum, he accepted “the will of the British people” in choosing to leave.
Khan said he never expected to push for a re-vote, but that he had “become increasingly alarmed as the chaotic approach to the negotiations has become mired in confusion and deadlock, leading us down a path that could be hugely damaging.”
Khan, like many others, would rather remain in the bloc than reach a bad Brexit deal.
“The unfortunate reality is that Theresa May has failed to negotiate a Brexit position with her own party – let alone agree on a deal with the EU,” wrote Khan in an op-ed published this Sunday.
“With time rapidly running out, we are left with two possibilities: a bad deal, which could end up being so vague we leave the EU blind as to what our future relationships will be, or a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.”
Both scenarios are a far cry from the promises made by “leave” advocates during the Brexit campaign, argues Khan, adding that a second vote would not be a repeat of the first.
“It’s really important that this is not a re-run of the referendum, but the British public having a say for the first time on the outcome,” he told talk show host Andrew Marr.
Opponents have accused Khan of trying to complicate and delay the Brexit process.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister May has made it crystal clear that her government will not back a second vote: “To ask the question all over again would be a gross betrayal of our democracy – and a betrayal of that trust.”
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… J. Edgar Hoover liked to fire FBI agents whose palms were sweaty when shaking hands.