Artist and filmmaker Zhang Bingjian sits in his Beijing studio in front of his Hall of Fame — portraits of corrupt Chinese officials. He has commissioned portraits of 1,600 officials convicted of corruption.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Zhang has already commissioned 1,600 portraits of corrupt officials. They are painted by different artists in southern China.
Corruption is usually thought to be a bad thing. But in China, the answer is no longer crystal clear.
For decades, the country's Communist Party has declared that corruption threatens its very survival. But there are signs that this is changing. Recently, the state-run media have begun arguing that corruption can't be stamped out, so it should be contained to acceptable levels. And some corruption appears to be tacitly condoned.
Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 12:19 pm
By a vote of 373-52, the House passed a massive bill that among other things keeps the interest rate on student loans from doubling on July 1.
"The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive bill on Friday combining funding for transportation programs, low-interest student loans, and the National Flood Insurance Program," the Reuters reports.
Julian Assange will defy a British Police notice to surrender. A member of his defense fund said the WikiLeaks founder will remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London because asylum law take precedence over an extradition order.
Saying he was afraid of persecution from the United States government and that his extradition to Sweden could hasten that, Assange has sought refuge and asylum from Ecuador.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts surprised the country yesterday by siding with the liberal wing of the court in the health care decision.
Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush and has reliably taken conservative positions. But after yesterday's decision, you can bet his welcome from conservatives who saw him as a hero has chilled.
Speaking to a conference of judges and lawyers outside of Pittsburg, Roberts acknowledged his predicament.
Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Nay Myo Zin is a former captain in the Myanmar army who now runs a charity and is a political activist. He says he quit the army because soldiers were "always made to do bad things," and thus preventing him from properly practicing his Buddhist religion.
Credit Reuters /Landov
A monk waves his alms bowl upside down in defiance of a threat to send troops to end anti-junta protests in Yangon on Sept. 25, 2007, during the country's monk-led Saffron Revolution.
In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.
But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.
Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 11:30 am
Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack combine to form a huge-sounding, full-blooded rock band, with the former blustering epically on guitar and the latter multitasking on drums and keyboards. Moody and portentous, the Baltimore duo's songs billow menacingly when they're not booming majestically, aided and shrouded by Wasner's enigmatic mumble.
On June 19, a week and a half ago, Fiona Apple released a brand new album, her first in seven years. The entire album had been available for streaming by NPR Music for a week and a half by then. Three days later, my copy arrived in the mail. It hasn't left my desk since.