African leadership should speak out at the UN, US commercial embargo of Cuba should end, Fan Bingbing’s tax practices are not unusual, India’s ties with Russia can survive American interference, Women’s rights are co-opted for their political impact

A roundup of global commentary for the Oct. 22, 2018 weekly magazine.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters
Fan Bingbing poses at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, May 2018. The actress was recently charged with using yin-yang contracts, which are a common form of tax evasion in China.

The Guardian / Lagos, Nigeria

African leadership should speak out at the United Nations

“It is ... disheartening to observe that not even one of the African leaders in attendance [at the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations] plucked up the courage to speak poignant truths to the superpowers...,” writes Afam Nkemdiche. “From the destabilizing unidirectional flow of global wealth and the 2008 global financial collapse ... [to] the rising threat of climate change, there exist many a bitter truth from which the African leaders could have chosen to address the leadership of the UN.... Contemporary African leaders must now climb out of that humdrum valley of rehearsing hackneyed speeches at international conferences, and contemplate ... questioning the sustainability of existing international finance and trade.”

Periódico 26 / Las Tunas, Cuba

US commercial embargo of Cuba should end

“The world has condemned and calls for an end to the United States [economic embargo] of Cuba,” writes Bertha Mojena Milián. “It is an elementary right of the island to be able to decide its future without any foreign interference, [and] without constantly suffering from the incoherence and blunders of a policy that prevents us from paying for our imports as any [other] country.... Cuba maintains its just demand for an end to the policy, and thanks the international community for its continued support in all possible international forums, including the UN General Assembly.... [The policy] that the U.S. today seeks to impose ... represents the longest economic war in history, and deeply touches Cuban families of all generations.”

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Fan Bingbing’s tax practices are not unusual

“When Fan Bingbing ‘disappeared’ in July, there was much speculation about what had happened to China’s highest-paid actress,” writes Mimi Zou. “She returned to the spotlight [recently] when Chinese authorities announced that she has been ordered to pay ... penalties for tax-related offences.... Central to the authorities’ investigation is Fan’s use of ‘yin-yang contracts’ to conceal her real earnings. The actor entered into two contracts for the same work: a ‘yang’ (‘in the light’) contract ... and a separate ‘yin’ (‘in the dark’) contract.... However, yin-yang contracts, which have become ubiquitous in many parts of the economy, will not disappear after the latest crackdown. One can only hope that the long-standing tacit tolerance of such practices by government authorities and courts will begin to change.”

Arab News / Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

India’s ties with Russia can survive American interference

“It was a staring contest with the US and India won it fair and square,” writes Ranvir S. Nayar. “In the weeks leading up to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arrival in India for the annual summit between the two nations, Washington had been threatening and cajoling India not to go ahead with the purchase of S-400 Triumf missiles from Russia.... Nevertheless ... Russia and India inked the $5.5 billion S-400 deal.... The reaction from Washington was rather muted and it appears that, finally, the US’s bluff on sanctions has been called successfully by India.... New Delhi knows it would be ill-advised to forsake its ties with Russia.... [T]he relationship seems to be back on track and strong enough to weather the recent turbulence.”

The Moscow Times / Moscow

Women’s rights are co-opted for their political impact

“[T]he scandal that surrounded the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ... stirred up intense controversy...,” writes Anna Rivina. “This case ... has sparked a strong reaction from not only the Republicans and Democrats locked in a power struggle and from their constituents, but also from every segment of Russian society.... It turns out that even people on opposite ends of the political spectrum in Russia ... are united in their unwillingness to see the real problems women face.... The issue goes deeper ... than the debate conducted by warring political factions in [Russia] and the United States.... Who among them is genuinely concerned about women’s personal safety at home and in public?”

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