China is remaking the Xinjiang Muslims in an army of workers
The Communist Party is working aggressively to reshape Muslim minorities in the western region, mostly Uyghurs and Kazakhs, in loyal blue-collar workers to supply Chinese factories with cheap labor.
Under pressure from the authorities, poor farmers, small merchants and idle villagers of working age attend training and indoctrination courses for weeks or months, and then are assigned to sew clothes, make shoes, sweep streets or occupy others. jobs.
The efforts are parallel to the social engineering carried out in the Xinjiang indoctrination camps, which have housed one million or more Uyghurs and Kazakhs. Many workers attend political courses similar to those in the fields, practice military exercises and learn Chinese songs.
Watch: We obtained rare images looking into the controversial work program, where the movements and even the meals of the uniformed workers are strictly controlled.
Fact Review: The government says it is helping villagers get out of poverty and slowing the spread of religious extremism with constant work. But official documents, interviews and visits by The Times to Xinjiang show that local plans uproot villagers, restrict their movements and pressure them to remain in the workplace.
Big picture: The labor programs, together with the camps, are carrying out plans for China's leader, Xi Jinping, will strengthen control over Xinjiang, where Muslim minorities account for approximately half of the population.
A geneticist and a pastor are imprisoned in China
He Jiankui, the researcher who surprised scientists last year when he claimed that he had created the first genetically edited babies, He was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for "illegal medical practices."
Chinese state media said their work had resulted in a third genetically edited baby, which had not been previously disclosed.
Dr. El sent the scientific world to an uproar last year when he announced that he had created the world's first genetically edited babies: the twin girls. Many countries have banned such work, fearing that it may be misused to create "designer babies."
And Wang Yi one of the best-known Christian voices in the country and founder of one of its largest underground churches, He was sentenced to nine years in prison for subversion of state power and illegal commercial operations.
Mr. Wang's arrest is part of a broader effort to subdue all social organizations that operate independently of the government.
A 7-Eleven fights against Japan's hard working culture
Mitoshi Matsumoto, the most famous owner of a 7-Eleven convenience store in Japan, wants to do something unthinkable in his industry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: take a day off for New Year's Day, the most Japan's important vacation important
Now he says: 7-Eleven is trying to get him out of business.
The confrontation has supercharged a national debate about the commercial practices of the 24-hour convenience store industry, an integral part of the country's infrastructure, and about the country's devotion to working long hours.
Background: Mr. Matsumoto first drew attention when he told 7-Eleven that he would shorten his store hours, inspiring others to do the same and attracting the support of other convenience store owners.
The data: Last year, according to government statistics, the Ministry of Labor approved 246 claims related to hospitalization or death from overwork, with the retail industry among the main sources of complaints. And 568 workers who suffered work-related exhaustion took their own lives.
If you have some time, it's worth it
Our favorite stories from around the world.
This year, Times reporters delivered 125 offices, an often colorful series of features designed to offer an unconventional context in a culture, from 44 countries and six continents.
This is what else is happening.
Indonesia: A large mining company is trying to close illegal operations, which use mercury, but miners say there is no other way to make a living.
Snapshot: Above, polar bears in Svalbard, The most northern inhabited place in the world. The Norwegian archipelago is ready to be the next extreme holiday destination for tourists obsessed with climate change, nature and the Northern Lights hunting.
A decade-long debate: For some people, the next decade will begin at midnight tonight. For others, it will not begin until January 1, 2021. We break it down for you.
What we are reading: This essay of a Navy SEAL through Medium. Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, recommends the "slightly embarrassed testimony of a 52-year-old Purple Heart, now a freshman at Yale, about the respect he discovered for young university students he might have rejected once like "snowflakes. "
Now, a break from the news
Cook: It's New Year's Eve, but it's also a week night. Salmon roasted in butter with many herbs is easy and elegant. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations).
Read: An exclusive interview with Rihanna and a deep immersion in the lasting popularity of the Japanese cherry blossom are among the most exciting long readings of the year of the magazine T.
Listens: The "Armchair Expert,quot; podcast has made its name as a place for sincere conversations with celebrities, experts and authors, where many believe that the "serum of invisible truth,quot; seems to permeate every interview.
Smarter life: When you start the new year, remember to dedicate more time to yourself: being alone can improve your creativity and relationships. Here are seven more ways to be nice to yourself in 2020.
And now for the backstory in …
The fall of the Times Square ball
The Waterford crystal ball stands about 500 feet above Times Square, and we all know why, but really, why?
The idea of the fall of the New Year's ball came from our former editor Adolph S. Ochs. First, he persuaded the city in 1904 to change the name of Longacre Square to The New York Times, as the newspaper moved to the area from the center.
Then, on December 31, 1904, some 200,000 people celebrated New Year's Eve with a firework show in the 24-story Times Tower for the first time.
But Mr. Ochs wanted to overcome that. So the Times chief electrician made a giant ball of wood and iron and equipped it with 100 25-watt bulbs. He got off the flagpole of 70 feet above the building in late 1907.
The Times has relocated close twice, but the Christmas tradition has remained.
And it wasn't the first time he got up and dropped a giant ball. Since the early nineteenth century, the so-called the balls of time were used in the ports, falling every day at noon so that the sailors could see them through telescopes and configure the clocks of their ships.
That's all for this informative session.
We are leaving tomorrow for New Year's Day, but we will return on Thursday.
See you in 2020!
To Mark Josephson and Raillan Brooks for the break from the news. Today's backstory comes from Adeel Hassan's reports. You can contact the team at [email protected]
• We are listening to "The Daily,quot;. Our last episode speaks with a Times critic who fought this year with allegations of abuse against Michael Jackson.
• Here is our Mini Crossword Puzzle, and a hint: Buddy (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Burger King Whopper buns, President Trump's wives and confusing measures were the subject of some of the most memorable corrections of the 2019 Times.