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China: An unconventional communist state

China is manipulating the global media to cover up its culpability in the spread of the Wuhan virus.

Hari K. Sharma

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A few months ago, noted scholar Brahma Chellaney in one of his articles for Washington Times referred to China as the world’s “strongest and richest dictatorship”. On a closer scrutiny, one can easily determine that the statement carries a lot of weight. Currently, the world is facing two crises simultaneously — Covid-19 and China’s growing assertiveness and interventionist policies that have added fuel to the speculations that the world is heading towards World War III. There can be various explanations to this erroneous and unpredictable behaviour of China. Other than China’s current compulsions of how to tackle the post-Covid wrath of the world, it is also facing domestic problems of growing unrest in mainland China, protests in Hong Kong and its mounting desire to “reunify” Taiwan.

China is an unconventional state in the history of communism and socialism. It can’t be compared with any other communist state, particularly with the former Soviet Union. Unlike any other existing communist country, China is not small in size and population, isolationist, inwardlooking, economically weak and socially fragile. China is a homogenous state with approximately 92% of its population is Han Chinese and it is dealing with the rest of its ethnic diversity and religious minorities with a policy that was historically referred as “thought remolding” or “brainwashing”. More than a million Muslims in China’s concentration camps is a testimony to how China deals with multiculturalism.

Despite having a politically closed authoritarian system it took active interest in world politics, its regional and global dynamics and institutions of global governance. China is neither economically dependent nor technically primitive; rather, it is the world’s second largest economy and one of most technologically advanced states that has emerged as a counterweight to the US in almost every possible sense. China has the largest share in global trade and has huge bilateral trading relations with almost each of its competitors or perceived enemies. By 2018, its total trade in goods had jumped to $4.6 trillion or 12.4% of global trade. It has hugely invested around the world and initiated some of the world’s most ambitious projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Many countries have already fallen in the debt trap of China and are now reeling under its growing pressure to compromise their sovereignty and become a subsidiary partner in China’s grand designs. Over the years, particularly after 1970, China has used every opportunity that comes its way to increase its power and wealth. The Chinese state has slowly and steadily climbed the ladders of power through deftly calculated and meticulously executed policies.

“Peaceful rise of China” that was part of the new security concept formulated by Chinese think tanks in the mid-1990s became an official policy of China under Xi Jinping’s predecessor, Hu Jintao. It allowed China to grow its economic and military power, increase its global penetration in every possible sense without giving any impression that China is actually preparing itself for a revisionist role in future. Now, this peaceful rise of China became a headache for the world and threatening global security and stability like never before. Most of the former communist states were ideologically constrained, socially delicate and economically dependable. During the entire cold war phase the former Soviet Union was actually no match to the US’s economic and technological superiority. Soviet Union’s communist allies were also largely dependent on its political, economic and military support and possibly none could sustain and flourish without its constant support. To some scholars, Cuba here was an exception.

“Modern” China is a politically closed system and the Communist Party of China (CPC) is ruling the roost since Mao’s proletariat revolution in 1949. There are no political freedoms and liberties. Press freedom is still unknown in an era of social media and interconnected world. The state controls the flow of information in China and literally nothing could go against the Chinese state and the CPC. Yet, there is one remarkable change in its strategy that makes it different from all other communist states including the former USSR. China has invested heavily in its academic institutions of higher learning, gave liberal funding to its modern think tanks and focused on technological innovation. According to a report, China’s budgetary spending on education remains above 4% of GDP in 2018, successively for the seventh year. In 2018 China spent nearly 3.7 trillion yuan (about $520 billion), accounting for 4.11% of its GDP. Unlike any other former communist states, it has liberalised its economic policies under Deng Xiaoping, adopted a flexible and more pragmatic approach towards economy and that’s the reason that despite being an authoritarian state it did wonders on the economic front. Some of its modernday critics even called China’s economic model “statecontrolled capitalism”. China tapped the actors, forces and institutions of globalisation in its interest. It trained its workforce and liberally exported them to Western democracies to exploit the economic opportunities offered by free societies. Needless to say that China receives the second highest remittances from its people residing abroad.

 It would be interesting to note that according to the US’s Department of Homeland Security there were 272,470 undergraduate and graduate students from China enrolled at US universities in the academic year 2018- 19. China is the number one source of international students to the US.In addition to this, according to the revised estimates of the US census bureau, the US was hosting around 5.08 million people of Chinese origin in 2016, making it the largest group of Asian Americans. There are also examples of some other prominent countries that are flooded with people of Chinese origin. It is important to note that they have greatly contributed to China’s soft power, helping the Chinese state to penetrate their system economically, politically, culturally and strategically. China has created a deep state in almost each of its competitor and potential enemies’ territory by using its ideological allies, money power, pan-national nexus of dispossessed or disgruntled groups and other people with vested interests.

Sometimes we wonder as to how come China was able to wield so much influence across countries that even the mightiest are finding it hard to counter it effectively. The answer probably is that an authoritarian state or a prolonged dictatorship has a comparative edge over democracies and free and open societies. Democracies or democratic values, processes and institutions can be used against itself. Democratic systems are transparent, accountable, open and rule based; but less stable and consistent in comparison to authoritarian regimes or dictatorships. For example, China has no liability, answerability or accountability towards its people. Its policies are more consistent, coherent and its political system is apparently stable. The state has a strong control over public opinion via direct control over the means of information and communication. The Chinese state can divert its economic resources at will, at any point of time and without any opposition. It is a huge leverage for China particularly when it is referred to as the richest and most powerful dictatorships of the world. Currently, China is manipulating the global media to cover up its culpability in the spread of the Wuhan virus and provided generous funding to different giants that shape up the public opinion.

Any modern democracy, however mighty it is supposed to be, can’t counter China unilaterally as there can’t be a fair competition due to the authoritarian nature of the Chinese state. Over the years it has penetrated almost every global institution, manipulated and controlled the flow of information, created a fifth column in competing democracies and bought subsidiary alliance partners. China’s policies and posturing can’t be separated from some of the harsh realities of its socio-political system. ‘Sooner the better’ it would be for the international community to realise this, and act accordingly.

The writer is Assistant Professor, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi

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5 MUST-HAVE JEWELLERY PIECES FOR KARVA CHAUTH

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As we spent yet another year at home in our pyjamas, the ongoing festive season has given us the perfect excuse to dress up! It is that time of the year when festivity in India is in its full swing. India boasts of an array of significant festivals, of which Karva Chauth, marks one important celebration for married couples.

Karva Chauth is a celebration of the pious bond between a husband and a wife. Ladies dress up to the nines and observe fast from sunrise to moonrise for a day for the safety and long lives of their husbands.

Undoubtedly, like every year, ladies would be stressed about choosing the perfect outfit for the special day. But do you think your search will be limited to finding a good dress? Of course not!

With your sartorial choices taking the front seat, do not forget to have your hands on the must-have jewellery pieces that not only compliment your clothes but also your personality.

Bhavesh Navlakha, founder of online fashion jewellery brand Sukkhi helped ANI list the trending jewellery pieces that would be a one-time investment for you to perfectly style your outfit not only for Karva Chauth but also for the entire festive season:

1. Pearl choker: Chokers are never out of style and are a beautiful addition to accentuate Indian outfits. The choker lends an edginess to your chosen ethnic outfit. An elegant pearl choker can elevate any outfit and give a rather classy look without being too heavy.

2. Long-chain jhumkis: Long-chain jhumkis, also referred to as Bahubali-inspired earrings, is a style statement that acts as the perfect addition to any ethnic outfit. It is a contemporary take on traditional earrings which adds a touch of glamour to your outfit without the need for any more jewellery.

3. Pearl bangles: Bangles are one of the most traditional accessories used in India. Bangles are a versatile jewellery piece that compliments our ethnic outfits. Adding jewellery pieces to your wrist acts as the perfect accessory to just about every Indian outfit.

4. Jhumkis: Jhumkis are immensely popular as one of the most worn jewellery pieces and is loved by everyone for their intricate design. Jhumkis can be paired with Indian ethnic outfits and also western outfits to create an eye-pleasing ensemble.

5. Kundan neckpiece: Kundan neckpieces look elegant and sophisticated and can glam up your outfit in no time. Not just for Karva Chauth, but Kundan sets can be worn by pairing them with your favourite outfit and layering the necklaces.

With jewellery trends constantly evolving and changing every year, we find it hard to keep ourselves updated on them. So, now that we have got you all covered, style your outfit with the above-mentioned jewellery pieces, making your ensemble not only look great but also speaking volumes for you!

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Needledust launches its first-ever store in Mumbai

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India’s first-ever designer jutti label, Needledust is thrilled to announce the launch of their first-ever store in Mumbai at Reliance’s first premium mall in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, Jio World Drive.

Housing more than 90+ premium and luxury brands, JIO World Driver is an exciting hub for luxury, fashion, shopping and entertainment. Located in Bandra Kurla Complex, and spanning across an area of 17.5 acres at Maker Maxity, Jio World Drive is Mumbai’s newest, vibrant urban hangout. The precinct is home to 72 prominent International and Indian brands, 27 culinary outlets with cuisines from across the globe, Mumbai’s first rooftop Jio Drive-In Theatre, an open-air weekend community market, pet-friendly services, a dedicated pop-up experience and other bespoke services. With an international consumer base, Needledust launched in 2014 with an original first of its kind product in the designer jutti space.

Following the immense success of their existing stores in Delhi & Chandigarh and a spectacular online presence on Needledust.com, this is a significant milestone for the brand as they open their doors to the tinsel town. 

Needledust brings to you a line of bespoke fine leather juttis that speak the charm of a true old school artisan with a desire to recreate this age-old craft for those who wear, admire, preserve its elegance and culture.

The celebrated label is all about unbridled passion for the revival of the jutti and unmatched craftsmanship, amalgamating the finesse of old royal moulds with innovative design and embroidery patterns that impeccably reflect 21st-century aesthetics.

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MANUBHAI JEWELLERS LAUNCHES AN EXCLUSIVE BRIDAL JEWELLERY COLLECTION FOR NEW BRIDES-TO-BE

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This wedding season, Manubhai Jewellers, a leading jewellery brand for over 30 years has made the process of finding the perfect jewellery for all the brides-to-be more special and remarkable. The brand has launched a new campaign called “Wedding by Manubhai” that features jewellery for every function – Sangeet, Mehendi and Wedding -along with a special traditional experience for all the new brides-to-be to wish them good luck and prosperity.

Speaking about the new campaign, Samir Sagar, Director, Manubhai Jewellers, said, “We at Manubhai Jewellers have been creating intricate and beautiful pieces of jewellery that balance between tradition and contemporary design to suit every occasion. For the wedding season, we want to take the opportunity to highlight the traditional values associated with our brand and offer a new bridal experience.” Manubhai Jewellers are popularly known for their specially crafted and curated collections in Mumbai. With a retail presence in Borivali, they cater to every customer’s needs ranging from beautiful modern diamond pieces to fanciful and chic gold wear, to traditional Kundan and Jadau jewellery. The brand is one of the few jewellers in Mumbai creating bespoke designs in Polki, Temple and Antique.

Additionally, Manubhai Jewellers are also committed to specialising in bridal jewellery called Madhuban. The Madhuban collection features beautifully handcrafted inspirational jewellery displayed in the store with a royal theme. Manubhai’s traditional concepts stand are brilliantly reflected through the indigenous craftsmanship of the Madhuban collection and has made the brand popular among the best jewellery shops in Mumbai. Further, all jewellers at Manubhai are hallmarked and certified.

Further, to make the moment special for new brides, Manubhai Jewellers have also introduced “Madhuban Delight” wherein the bride is first welcomed in a traditional way with the ‘Aarti thali’ and then gifted with a ‘Potli’ – a traditional drawstring bag that contains silver coins, vermilion, rice and Swastik that symbolise good luck, prosperity and imply the underlying cultural significance of ceremonial rituals.

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Karva Chauth 2021: Stand out with these easy makeup looks

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Karva Chauth, an important festival for married couples has always been about dressing up to the nines and sporting elaborate makeup looks for women. Karva Chauth is a celebration of the pious bond between a husband and a wife. Ladies dress up to the nines and observe fast from sunrise to moonrise for a day for the safety and long lives of their husbands. This year Karva Chauth will be celebrated on 24 October, that is, Sunday.

Ladies, you may even have spent days planning out your Karva Chauth outfit and makeup look. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic easing down, there is much of a point in getting decked up like earlier.

So, it is time to come up with a makeup look that is not only appropriate for your special day but also worthy of posting on Instagram!

Check out the simple tips listed below by Professional MUA Sahibjeet Kaur shared with ANI to create a makeup look that is unapologetically you:

1. Basic red, with popping eyeliner or kajal: Women love to wear traditional red shades for their Karwa Chauth, but another trend that has really taken up and we cannot get enough of is the coloured eyeliner or kajal look. Gone are the days when your eyes could carry only basic black or simple brown colours. Now, you can use coloured eyeliner or kajal to add a unique point to your Karva Chauth look. Add trendy colours like lime green, electric blue, and bubblegum pink to your eyeliner or Kajal. You can play around with a sleek cat-eye look or experiment with a graphic liner look by doing a cut-crease with a coloured liner. Apply bold blood-red lipstick with small size red bindi. To compliment your look, style your dress with gajra, mang tikka, and a choker neckpiece.

2. Have fun with the eyeshadow palette: Bid adieu to your basic pink and red eyeshadow look. Explore the peppy colours in the palette and blend the shades that go with your outfit. To add more glam to your eye makeup, apply artificial lashes on your eyes and coat them with intense mascara. Go light with your lip-shade to let your eyes do the talking!

3. Smokey eyes with a glitter twist: A trend that can never become stale is the basic smokey eye makeup look. But, why should you settle for basic? Pick up your makeup brush tool and add some glittery twist to the whole look. Choose a colour matching to your outfit for the smokey eyeshadow. Blend it until you achieve the perfect smoke. Apply artificial lashes to your eyes and coat them with intense mascara. Ditching the basic black, add a glittery twist to the whole look by applying a silver shiny eyeliner. Apply nude or glossy lipstick and a stroke of highlighter on your cheekbones. If you can wear big jhumkis, it can enhance your look like anything.

4. Add some glow to your look: Steer clear of your ultra-bright golden highlighter and go for a subtler look instead. Opt for a subtle highlighter in the shade of rose gold, champagne, or dull gold. Apply it at the high points of your cheekbones, on your brow bones, and down your nose to give yourself that lit-from-within look. This will make your makeup look understated while still making you look effervescent.

5. Get peachy with blush: Red, pink or green- choose any colour for your outfit and peachy makeup will add volumes to your look! Go for a peachy blush with a slight shimmer to add warmth to your face and elevate that dewy look. You can apply the blush straight across your cheekbones and nose to create a pretty fresh look and to your nose to give yourself that lit-from-within look.

Pro-tip: Do not neglect your eyebrows. You can use an eyebrow pencil to shape up your eyebrows or can use eyeshadow to give a natural uplift to your brows.

Now that we have got you all covered, try out these makeup tips to glam up this Karva Chauth!

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DIAL M FOR MINIMALISM

With the adage ‘Less is more’, allow your furnishings and accessories to come through placing them judiciously, giving your home an effective yet understated appeal that is easy on the eyes.

NAMRATA KUMAR

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Clamping down on consumption for some has indirectly affected their aesthetic (most for the better). It has initiated a shift in consumer choices. The year 2020 and a majority of 2021 have seen a shift in design trends. Instagram accounts with zen influencers have made impressions in the aesthetic inclinations of many. Enter Marie Kondo, the purveyor of minimalism with tidying up as her motto. Known to preach cleanliness, she believes ’Tidying up’ fosters joy and serenity. Indulgence and maximal living is a personal choice and we are not arguing about it. Respect, Kardashians and Jenners.

However, understated interiors are an aesthetically pleasing choice of decor. This style that is #trending can be incorporated into homes of all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s Japanese, modern or Scandinavian, there are many ways to achieve this coveted look. An added advantage is it is not labour intensive to execute so you can save energy for your upcoming HIIT session. Most of these sleek looks can be achieved by incorporating simple streamlined furniture with chalky hues for upholstery.

Clean modern lines, a pastel palette of colours and simple silhouettes. With the adage ‘Less is more’, allow your furnishings and accessories to come through placing them judiciously, giving your home an effective yet understated appeal that is easy on the eyes. Colours are imperative.

A decluttered coffee table with a statement pot planter can do the trick. Facets that add to the zen features range from contemporary ceramic bowls to a some-free soy wax candle. These contemporary bowls can be procured from Ellementry, a home accessory studio from Jaipur. Nestasia (an online Indian home store) boasts of geometric ceramic pots that are unique and trendy. They are available in chalky hues in harmony with a minimalist’s handbook. For everything else there is Ikea.

Rattan mirrors are topping the charts for sprucing up your blank spaces. Choose from a range of hand made rattan numbers to bevelled circular pieces. One mirror on a single wall should do the trick. A multitude of small rattan mirrors can add that subtle adornment. These handmade rattan numbers could be found at gingercrush.com. You could also explore www.pepperfry.in for some sleek round mirrors by the brand Flairglass.

Tables with sharp lines or curves comply with the minimalist’s montage. Sofas and couches with forms conforming to the Marie Kondo design sensibility.

If you’re looking to fix the mess, commit to tidying up. Investing in simple yet effective pieces with minimum maintenance. Airy spaces with sunlight pouring in are therapeutic. Choose earthy and pastel colours in tandem with the zen philosophy. To destress, declutter.

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ICDMA FOUNDER TO INTRODUCE AI PLATFORM FOR IDENTIFYING AND MITIGATING DIGITAL RISKS

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ICDMA is a provider of IT services such as Cyber Forensics, IT Audit, IT Risk Evaluation, and Digital Security. In recent years, it has become a tried-and-true standard for businesses looking to defend their brands, enterprises, and reputations from crippling cyber attacks. They develop and deploy information security platforms and services, both standard and personalised, to protect, evaluate, and respond to cyber threats such as security breaches that occur in your systems and networks. The services they provide include Application and Web Development, Graphic Design, Security Audits, Cyber Security Services, Vulnerability Assessments, Fraud Risk Management, and IT Consultancy.

In addition, the firm achieved awards for being the best Cyber Forensics firm preventing businesses from external threats. A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the security of an organisation, business, or government agency from cyber threats. Their primary role is to analyse any possible threat that might occur through or to your system and come up with plausible and practical solutions to protect you.

Being a cyber security expert and analyst, Dheeraj Kumar has years of experience and stays up-to-date with the current crimes and security trends. He believes that like many other professions, this is a never-ending learning field. They monitor your networks and then analyse them to find common threat patterns or trends. Further, they design software that suits the needs of the problem at hand and ensures that these measures are maintained properly. If, in any case, they encounter a new problem, they utilise their years of experience and knowledge to produce a unique solution.

Witnessing the increased cyber threats, Cybersecurity analyst Dheeraj advises people to use the Internet wisely and productively. Dheeraj is currently working on an Al-driven platform for identifying and mitigating digital risks and counteracting brand impersonation attacks with the company’s patented technologies at its core. Dheeraj’s experience in threat hunting and cyber intelligence has been fused into an ecosystem of highly sophisticated software and hardware solutions designed to monitor, identify, and prevent cyberattacks.

A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the security of an organisation, business or government agency from cyber threats. Their primary role is to analyse any possible threat that might occur through or to your system and come up with plausible solutions.

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