Tiny Tips

According to one organizer, a scrappy former bank teller named Wu Lijuan, there are at least 70,000 people seeking to regain their old jobs or receive monetary compensation, a sizable wedge of the 400,000 who were laid off during a decade-long purge. Like many other state-owned companies, the banks slashed payrolls and restructured to raise profitability and make themselves more attractive to outside investors. “They tossed us out like garbage,” Ms. Wu, 44, said before a recent protest, scanning fellow restaurant patrons for potential eavesdroppers. “All we’re asking for is justice and maybe to serve as a model for others who have been wronged.” For a government determined to maintain social harmony, the protests and petitioning are vexing. Compared with farmers angry over seized land or retired soldiers seeking fatter pensions, the bank workers — educated, organized and knowledgeable about the Internet — are better equipped to outsmart the public security agents constantly on their trail:

“Women demand men have houses and cars, why can’t men demand women be virgins?” asked one man on the Tianya site. “So, greedy women, remember, you have to protect your hymens, because those are big dowries for you to exchange for money.” Some men who were interviewed agreed about the importance of finding a virgin. “I really care about virginity,” said Xia Yang, product manager for a technology company. “If you go to buy a cellphone, of course you’d want to buy a new cellphone. Who would spend the same amount of money to buy an old cellphone that’s been used for two years?” The virginity debate also underscores a contradiction in modern China: As the nation becomes more freewheeling, there remains a deeply conservative core:

The report listed numerous areas in which China’s military is on the march. China is deploying a new class of nuclear-powered submarines equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles. It is pouring money into space warfare systems and cyberwarfare capabilities. It is developing a “carrier killer” anti-ship ballistic missile. China has “the most active land-based ballistic and cruise missile program in the world,” the report said. Beijing “now possesses one of the largest” forces of surface-to-air missiles in the world, it added. And it has the “largest force of principal combatants, submarines, and amphibious warfare ships in Asia.”

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