A growing demand for universal suffrage has emboldened Hong Kong activists, who now vow to shut down the city’s financial district with a mass sit-in if the Chinese government fails to come up with electoral reforms.

Last Stand In
Hong Kong:

The Power
of the
Powerless


August 2014

Editor’s Note: Tens of thousands of government supporters marched in Hong Kong on Sunday August 17th to express their opposition to a pro-democracy movement that has threatened to bring Asia’s biggest financial center to a standstill if the government does not open up the nomination process for electing the city’s top leader. A  democracy activist in Hong Kong, writing under a pseudonym for fear of government reprisals, writes exclusively for  The Reporters Inc. about the growing movement for expanded social and political freedom in the region.

BY KONG TSUNG-GAN (江松澗)

“The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing…

“People who live in the post-totalitarian system know only too well that the question of whether one or several political parties are in power, and how these parties define and label themselves, is of far less importance than the question of whether or not it is possible to live like a human being”

– From The Power of the Powerless, by Vaclav Havel (more…)

Michael Gonzalez, hospitalized in early July.

Jim McCleary is the Vice President of The Reporters Inc’s Board of Directors. To learn more about him, click here.

A Medical Mystery:
The Little Boy Who Can't Eat Anything


August 2014

BY JIM MCCLEARY

“Something’s really wrong,” Jennifer Gonzalez recalls thinking.

Her newborn son, Michael, was suffering from frequent vomiting and excessive diarrhea. He seemed to be unable to digest nutrients. His tiny body was literally rejecting any and all food.

“I knew first-time moms could be overly anxious about everything. But I also knew something just wasn’t right. It wasn’t OK,” Jennifer says.

For months after he was born in 2009, baby Michael couldn’t eat anything without getting sick. And now, five years later, virtually nothing has changed. It’s a daily struggle to keep him fed and nourished. The options to cure his condition are few.

It’s a case that has baffled doctors nationwide.

Home from the hospital after his birth in Fort Myers, Florida, Michael would sometimes wail for 20 hours straight. In fact, doctors once told Jennifer and her husband Thomas that Michael had broken a blood vessel in his throat from crying so much.

When Michael couldn’t keep even hypoallergenic foods down, like rice and apples, the Gonzalezes feared the worst.

They frantically sought medical advice from a number of specialists. Eight different doctors from across the country (more…)