Chinese state media thanks women for being hot

In an attempt to highlight the role of women in Beijing's annual National People's Congress, China's party newspaper the People's Daily published "Beautiful female journalists at two sessions," consisting of women asking questions and "beautifying" China's legislative session.  It's hard to think of a more awkward way for a media outlet to celebrate International Women's Day, except maybe last year's offering from China's state news wire Xinhua: "Attractive females at NPC, CPCC sessions."

A few points here: Surprisingly for staid state media, Xinhua and the People's Daily publish a lot of click bait in the form of near naked women: See for example today's "Bikini Parade in Panama to set Guinness Record," and "Seductive leg models in China." A few days ago People's Daily published a precursor article about the meetings' "beautiful service staff" (h/t to James Fallows and Adam Minter), as well as  "Versatile Tibetan beauties" and "Seven stunning beauties from Xinjiang," in questionable taste considering the persistent government crackdown in both those places. 

In a blog post, The Economist answers the question of why Western media describes the NPC as "rubber stamp" (because it accepts every law put before it). The patronizing media coverage of women and minorities smiling at the joy of being a part of China doesn't help, either. 

Porn remains illegal in China (though it's readily available), and even in state media, sex sells, and is far less sensitive than politics. The Chinese media website Danwei coined the term Skinhua to describe this practice. The sole commenter on the People's Daily journalist article, who aptly goes by Mr. Dong, snidely hints at this unexpected identity of state media: the JC Penny catalog of the internet age.


Nation of Kiribati considers relocation

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The Pacific nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land in Fiji so it can move islanders under threat from rising sea levels, in what could be the first climate-induced relocation of a country.

Anote Tong, the Kiribati President, said he was in talks with Fiji's military government to buy up to 2000 hectares of freehold land on which his 113,000 countrymen could resettle.

Some of Kiribati's 32 flat coral atolls, which straddle the equator over 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean, are already disappearing. The total land area is 811 square kilometres and the average elevation is less than two metres above sea level.

Relocation is still a last resort. Kiribati President Anote Tong is hoping to start by relocating some of this citizens to the Fijian island, to farm, and haul away landfill by barge to stop the sea's encroachment on his own country.

Obviously relocation on this scale would be unprecedented, but Kiribati isn't the only Pacific island facing this dilemma. Now-ousted Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed tried to highlight this emerging crisis with his underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. 

Since 2003, the government of Papua New Guinea has been slowly evacuating the entire population of dwindling Cataret Islands. Sun Come Up, a 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary on the Cateret evacuation is well worth a watch.