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What to do with $10,000 now!

Sep 20, 2012

If you have an extra $10,000, options abound for you to boost the value of your home, give to charity or take off on a cheap European vacation.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili to walk from Beijing to the central Chinese city of Changsha. Since setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, walking along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stops along the way to send letters to local officials. Her plea: China must change the way it handles sex abuse.

That idea, and her walk, are bolder than they first seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare and difficult to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. Though the country last year vowed to crack down, laws remain weak; All too often, perpetrators walk. "In China, we blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao. "That's what we're trying to change.[CHECK WORDING.]"

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated parts of the planet is not a bad way to capture attention. The sight of a young female backpacker is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions and offer rides (which she declines). "They ask 'Why would you travel on foot? 'It would be much easier to drive,[CHECK QUOTE]' she says. In an online video about her journey, she explains that walking is a way to reclaim a space — the street — where girls and women are at-risk. This and other posts have earned her followers. Some offer money, or a place to sleep. Others, including TK and TK, just picked up and joined her on the road.

Xiao Meili and her friends are, in some ways, unexpected activists. Born in Sichuan province in 1989, Xiao is part of a generation the Chinese call 'post 80s.' Among older folks, the conventional wisdom is that these only children of China's economic boom are spoiled, a-political bunch more interested in cell phones than social movements. Raised by doting, aspirational parents many do indeed feel burdened by the pressure to succeed in a world where success is defined as a good education, a lucrative job, a flat, marriage (to someone of the opposite sex), then a kid. For most families, cross-country protest walks are not part of the deal.

That, of course, is part of the appeal. The daughter of a TK and TK, Xiao cared little for politics growing up—she was too busy studying. At University in Beijing, she started to read more, she says, including feminist writing from Taiwan and the United States. Spending an academic semester in Taiwan gave her a glimpse, of a "more equal, healthy" society. She went on to star in Chinese adaptation of 'The Vagina Monologues.' On Valentines Day 2012, she dressed up in a blood-drenched gown to protest domestic violence. But when it comes to family, she's more reserved. "My parents don't know I'm here," she says.

The freedom of the road and the desire to do something daring, something different, keep Xiao Meili and her supporters moving forward. Most are students or recent graduates who are frustrated with, or downright dismissive of, mainstream Chinese politics. TK, 24, a videographer from TK, is making a movie about young people involved in social movements. A young woman who gave her English name as Florence, "after Florence nightingale," said

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili to walk from Beijing, in the north, to the central Chinese city of Changsha. After setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stops along the way to send letters to local officials. Her plea: Change the way you handle cases of sexual violence and abuse.

That request, and her walk, are bolder than they first seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids. It's awkward, for one, and nobody thinks they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. All too often, perpetrators walk free. "We blame victims, not the people who abuse them," says Xiao Meili, whose real name is TKTK. "That's what we want to change."

A 2000 km stroll is not a bad way to capture people's attention. The sight of a young female traveler is relatively rare on China's freeways. People stop to ask questions or to offer rides (which she declines). She is also active on social media, posting regular updates via China's Twitter-like messaging service. Her dispatches, photos and videos have earned her a following of like-minded, feminist followers. Some donate money to support her trip, or offer her accommodation along the way. Others, including TK, TK, and TK, TK, decided to join her on the road.

ys Xiao, people often stop to ask her what she's doing, to offer a ride, or to tag along.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili to walk from Beijing, in the north, to the central Chinese city of Changsha. After setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stops along the way to send letters to local officials. Her plea: China must change the way it handles cases of sexual assault.

That request, and her walk, are bolder than they may seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. China's law regarding sex crimes are spotty and enforcement is lax; All too often, perpetrators walk free. "We blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao. "That's what we want to change."

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated places on the planet is not a bad way to capture attention. The sight of a young female traveler is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions or offer rides (which she declines). Xiao is active on social media and posts regular updates via a Twitter-like messaging service. Her dispatches, photos and videos have earned her a following of like-minded followers. Some send money, or open their homes. Others, including TK, TK, and TK, TK, picked up and joined her on the road.

ys Xiao, people often stop to ask her what she's doing, to offer a ride, or to tag along.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili, a young feminist, to walk from Beijing, in the north, to the central Chinese city of Changsha. After setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stops along the way to send letters to local officials. Her plea: China must change the way it handles cases of sexual assault.

That request, and her walk, are bolder than they may seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. China's law regarding sex crimes are spotty and enforcement is lax; All too often, perpetrators walk free. "We blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao. "That's what we want to change."

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated places on the planet is not a bad way to capture attention. The sight of a young female traveler is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions or offer rides (which she declines). Xiao is active on social media and posts regular updates via a Twitter-like messaging service. Her dispatches, photos and videos have earned her a following of like-minded followers. Some send money, or open their homes. Others, including TK, TK, and TK, TK, picked up and joined her on the road.

Xiao Meili and her friends are, in many ways, unexpected activists. Born in Sichuan province in 1989, Xiao is part of a generation the Chinese call 'post 80s.' Among older folks, the conventional wisdom is that (mostly) single children of China's economic boom are a-political materialists. They were raised by doting parents in the aftermath of Tiananmen, the thinking goes, and they merely want to get ahead.

Xiao's generation, often called 'the post-80s,' are often dismissed as a-political materialists.

ys Xiao, people often stop to ask her what she's doing, to offer a ride, or to tag along.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili, a young feminist, to walk from Beijing to the central Chinese city of Changsha. After setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, walking along rumbling highways, around construction pits, down tree-lined streets. She stopped along the way to send letters to local officials. Her plea: China must change the way it handles cases of sexual assault.

That request, and her walk, are bolder than they first seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. Though the country last year vowed to crack down on child sex abuse, laws remain weak. All too often, perpetrators walk. "In China, we blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao, over tea in Changsha. "That's what we're trying to change.[CHECK WORDING.]"

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated parts of the planet is not a bad way to capture attention, as Xiao Meili has learned. The sight of a young female traveler is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions and offer rides, which she declines. "They ask 'Why on earth are you traveling by foot? 'Wouldn't it be easier to drive?' she says. In a video dispatch about her journey Xiao explains that walking is a way to reclaim a space — the street — where women and girls are sometimes under threat. Her social media posts have attracted support. Some offer money, or a place to crash. Others, including TK, TK, and TK, TK, picked up and joined her on the road.

Xiao Meili and her friends are, in many ways, unexpected activists. Born in Sichuan province in 1989, Xiao is part of a generation the Chinese call 'post 80s.' Among older folks, the conventional wisdom is that these (mostly) single children of China's economic boom are a-political materialists. Raised by doting, aspirational parents many do feel burdened by the pressure to succeed, where success is narrowly defined: good education, lucrative job, flat, marriage, kid. Cross-country protests are not typically part of the deal.

Xiao's generation, often called 'the post-80s,' are often dismissed as a-political materialists.

ys Xiao, people often stop to ask her what she's doing, to offer a ride, or to tag along.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili, a young feminist, to walk from arid Beijing to the humid central Chinese city of Changsha. After setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, walking along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stopped along the way to send letters to local officials. Her message: China must change the way it handles cases of sexual assault.

That idea, and her walk, are bolder than they may seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. Though the country last year vowed to crack down on child sex abuse, laws remain weak; All too often, perpetrators walk. "In China, we blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao, over tea in Changsha. "That's what we're trying to change.[CHECK WORDING.]"

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated parts of the planet is not a bad way to capture attention, as Xiao Meili has learned. The sight of a young female traveler is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions and offer rides (which she declines). "They ask 'Why on earth are you traveling by foot? 'Wouldn't it be easier to drive?' she says. In an online video about her journey, Xiao says walking is a way to reclaim a place — the street — where women and girls are harassed. This and other posts have attracted support from netizens. Some offer money, or a place to crash. Others, including TK, TK, and TK, TK, picked up and joined her on the road.

Xiao Meili and her friends are, in some ways, unexpected activists. Born in Sichuan province in 1989, Xiao is part of a generation the Chinese call 'post 80s.' Among older folks, the conventional wisdom is that these (mostly) single children of China's economic boom are a-political materialists, more interested in cell phones than social movements. Raised by doting, aspirational parents many young people do indeed feel burdened by the pressure to succeed—where success is defined as good education, lucrative job, flat, marriage, kid. Cross-country protest walks are not part of the deal.

That, of course, is part of the appeal.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili, a young feminist, to walk from Beijing to the central Chinese city of Changsha. After setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, walking along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stopped along the way to send letters to local officials. Her message: China must change the way it handles sex abuse.

That idea, and her walk, are bolder than they first seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. Though the country last year vowed to crack down, laws remain weak; All too often, perpetrators walk. "In China, we blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao. "That's what we're trying to change.[CHECK WORDING.]"

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated parts of the planet is not a bad way to capture attention, as Xiao Meili has learned. The sight of a young female traveler is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions and offer rides (which she declines). "They ask 'Why on earth are you traveling by foot? 'Wouldn't it be easier to drive?' she says. In an online video about her journey, she says walking is a way to reclaim a space — the street — where girls and women sometimes at-risk. This and other posts have attracted support online. Netizens offer money, or a place to crash. Others, including TK, TK, and TK, TK, picked up and joined her.

Xiao Meili and her friends are, in some ways, unexpected activists. Born in Sichuan province in 1989, Xiao is part of a generation the Chinese call 'post 80s.' Among older folks, the conventional wisdom is that these only children of China's economic boom are spoiled, a-political materialists, more interested in cell phones than social movements. Raised by doting, aspirational parents many do indeed feel burdened by the pressure to succeed—where success is defined as a good education, a lucrative job, a flat, marriage, then a kid. Cross-country protest walks are not part of the deal.

That, of course, is part of the appeal. The daughter of a TK and TK, Xiao cared little for politics growing up—she was too busy studying. At University in Beijing, she started to read more, including feminist writing from Taiwan and the United States. Spending an academic semester in Taiwan gave her a glimpse, she says, of a "more equal" society. She starred in a Chinese-language adaption of 'The Vagina Monologues' and met other feminist activists and scholars in Beijing. On Valentines Day 2012, she dressed up in a bloody-speckled gown to protest domestic violence. But when it comes to family, she's more reserved. "My parents don't know I'm here," she says.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

One hundred days. That's how long it took Xiao Meili to walk from Beijing to the central Chinese city of Changsha. Since setting out in September, the TK-year-old trekked south and east through the Chinese heartland, walking along rumbling highways, around construction sites, down tree-lined streets. She stops along the way to send letters to local officials. Her plea: China must change the way it handles sex abuse.

That idea, and her walk, are bolder than they first seem. In China, as elsewhere, it is rare to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids. It's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they're at risk. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are sometimes shamed, not supported. Though the country last year vowed to crack down, laws remain weak; All too often, perpetrators walk. "In China, we blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao. "That's what we're trying to change.[CHECK WORDING.]"

A 2000 km walk through one of the mostly densely populated parts of the planet is not a bad way to capture attention. The sight of a young female backpacker is relatively rare on China's freeways, so people stop to ask questions and offer rides (which she declines). "They ask 'Why would you travel on foot? 'It would be much easier to drive,[CHECK QUOTE]' she says. In an online video about her journey, she explains that walking is a way to reclaim a space — the street — where girls and women are at-risk. This and other posts have earned her followers. Some offer money, or a place to sleep. Others, including TK and TK, just picked up and joined her on the road.

Xiao Meili and her friends are, in some ways, unexpected activists. Born in Sichuan province in 1989, Xiao is part of a generation the Chinese call 'post 80s.' Among older folks, the conventional wisdom is that these only children of China's economic boom are spoiled, a-political bunch more interested in cell phones than social movements. Raised by doting, aspirational parents many do indeed feel burdened by the pressure to succeed in a world where success is defined as a good education, a lucrative job, a flat, marriage (to someone of the opposite sex), then a kid. For most families, cross-country protest walks are not part of the deal.

That, of course, is part of the appeal. The daughter of a TK and TK, Xiao cared little for politics growing up—she was too busy studying. At University in Beijing, she started to read more, she says, including feminist writing from Taiwan and the United States. Spending an academic semester in Taiwan gave her a glimpse, of a "more equal, healthy" society. She went on to star in Chinese adaptation of 'The Vagina Monologues.' On Valentines Day 2012, she dressed up in a blood-drenched gown to protest domestic violence. But when it comes to family, she's more reserved. "My parents don't know I'm here," she says.

The freedom of the road and the desire to do something daring, and different, keep Xiao Meili and her supporters moving forward. Most are students or recent graduates who are interested in women's issues, gender, or social movements.

Xiao's request comes at a good time. Last year, China was rocked by a string child abuse cases, each grimmer than the last. In one well-publicized case, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi province was convicted of molesting seven school girls.

And with that, they set out through the muck. They hope to reach Guangzhou by spring.

A technician checks the light in the Congress Hall before the start of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in Davos Jan. 21, 2014
Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Whom to Watch at the World Economic Forum in Davos

As the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicks off Tuesday in the snowbound Swiss town of Davos, more than 40 heads of state and government will be competing to make a lasting impression, for themselves and their countries, among the 2,500 participants. Here are five who will have a head start:

Maryam Rahmanian for The Washington Post / Getty Images 

Hassan Rouhani
Depending on how things are progressing in another part of Switzerland — Montreaux, scene of the Syria peace talks — Iran's president may be just a little distracted during his Davos debut. But the purpose of his trip is to take advantage of the momentum from the Jan. 20 start of the six-month nuclear freeze agreement between Iran and the six world powers. Rouhani's message: As the negotiating parties begin work on a long-term deal, Iran is open for business. It isn't really: most of the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe remain in place. But Rouhani's trip is mostly about optics. Iran, he will be saying, is no longer an international pariah. He delivers a special address on Thursday.

Benjamin Netanyahu Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty Images 

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel's prime minister follows Rouhani (a few hours later) with a discussion on Israel's economic and political outlook. Netanyahu will keep up his rhetoric about Tehran being an unreliable negotiator. Don't buy the peace deal, he will say, it's just a smokescreen that allows Iran to build nuclear weapons. But that message didn't get much traction at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City last fall, where Rouhani's charm offensive won the day. Netanyahu is unlikely to find many takers in Davos.

Enrique Pena Nieto Omar Torres / AFP / Getty Images 

Enrique Pena Nieto
Mexico's president is one of the WEF's Young Global Leaders, and his country is making a splash at Davos this year. He will be seeking to capitalize on Mexico's growing economy, which has recently become the country's dominant narrative, overtaking the usual stories about drug cartels and kidnappings. If potential investors are impressed by energy, Pena Nieto will display plenty of it: he will deliver a special address and participate in two panel discussions, all on a single day, Thursday.

Dilma Rousseff Evaristo Sa / AFP / Getty Images 

Dilma Rousseff
The president of Brazil makes her first appearance in Davos just as tough questions are being asked about her country's economic prospects. Three years of lackluster growth have some wondering if Brazil should lose its place among the BRICS. There are doubts, too, about the country' ability to host soccer's World Cup this summer. Top all that off with lingering fears of political unrest, after last year's massive street demonstrations. Rousseff delivers a special address on Friday.

Shinzo Abe Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images 

Shinzo Abe
Japan's prime minister has stirred things up in Asia over the past couple of years. His country's economy has been doing remarkably well, but Abe's aggressive rhetoric and military muscle-flexing has annoyed China and South Korea, while winning some praise from other Asian nations that see Japan as a bulwark against an increasingly militaristic China. The Chinese president and prime minister won't be at Davos, but perhaps South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye will have a cautionary word or two? Abe and Park both speak on Wednesday.

Whom to Watch at the World Economic Forum in Davos

As the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicks off Tuesday in the snowbound Swiss town of Davos, more than 40 heads of state and government will be competing to make a lasting impression, for themselves and their countries, among the 2,500 participants. Here are five who will have a head start:

Hassan Rouhani

Maryam Rahmanian for The Washington Post / Getty Images

Hassan Rouhani
Depending on how things are progressing in another part of Switzerland — Montreaux, scene of the Syria peace talks — Iran's president may be just a little distracted during his Davos debut. But the purpose of his trip is to take advantage of the momentum from the Jan. 20 start of the six-month nuclear freeze agreement between Iran and the six world powers. Rouhani's message: As the negotiating parties begin work on a long-term deal, Iran is open for business. It isn't really: most of the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe remain in place. But Rouhani's trip is mostly about optics. Iran, he will be saying, is no longer an international pariah. He delivers a special address on Thursday.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty Images

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel's prime minister follows Rouhani (a few hours later) with a discussion on Israel's economic and political outlook. Netanyahu will keep up his rhetoric about Tehran being an unreliable negotiator. Don't buy the peace deal, he will say, it's just a smokescreen that allows Iran to build nuclear weapons. But that message didn't get much traction at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City last fall, where Rouhani's charm offensive won the day. Netanyahu is unlikely to find many takers in Davos.

Enrique Pena Nieto

Omar Torres / AFP / Getty Images

Enrique Pena Nieto
Mexico's president is one of the WEF's Young Global Leaders, and his country is making a splash at Davos this year. He will be seeking to capitalize on Mexico's growing economy, which has recently become the country's dominant narrative, overtaking the usual stories about drug cartels and kidnappings. If potential investors are impressed by energy, Pena Nieto will display plenty of it: he will deliver a special address and participate in two panel discussions, all on a single day, Thursday.

Dilma Rousseff

Evaristo Sa / AFP / Getty Images

Dilma Rousseff
The president of Brazil makes her first appearance in Davos just as tough questions are being asked about her country's economic prospects. Three years of lackluster growth have some wondering if Brazil should lose its place among the BRICS. There are doubts, too, about the country' ability to host soccer's World Cup this summer. Top all that off with lingering fears of political unrest, after last year's massive street demonstrations. Rousseff delivers a special address on Friday.

Shinzo Abe

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Shinzo Abe
Japan's prime minister has stirred things up in Asia over the past couple of years. His country's economy has been doing remarkably well, but Abe's aggressive rhetoric and military muscle-flexing has annoyed China and South Korea, while winning some praise from other Asian nations that see Japan as a bulwark against an increasingly militaristic China. The Chinese president and prime minister won't be at Davos, but perhaps South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye will have a cautionary word or two? Abe and Park both speak on Wednesday.

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