The 12 Biggest Controversies of 2022

2022 will be remembered as an eventful year.

2022 can be defined as the year of freedom, as Covid cases have bottomed out and restrictions have eased. But political instability resonates in hardship and humanitarian suffering around the world. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a global economic downturn, inflation and a variety of other factors contributed to an unprecedented year. Whether it’s Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover or actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, 2022 will be one of many. Year of events. Here are the top 10 controversies that will make 2022 memorable:

Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover


One of the biggest corporate takeovers of 2022 is billionaire Elon Musk’s “hostile” takeover of microblogging platform Twitter. The $44 billion deal ended with him taking over the company in October. On October 27, Musk tweeted a video of him entering Twitter headquarters with a sink. Yet amidst the controversy, he went on to overhaul Twitter, including layoffs and a blue-check feature.

Iran protests over Mahsa Amini’s death


Massive protests rocked Iran following the Sept. 16 death in prison of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd, who was arrested on suspicion of violating the country’s strict dress code for women. In symbolic protests, women cut off their hair and burned their headscarves on camera. According to Islamic law in Iran, women must cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing. Iran continues to persecute protesters, including imprisonment and executions.

China’s zero-coronavirus policy


China’s aggressive zero-Covid policy has even focused on tough restrictions in a few cases. These include imprisoning millions of people for weeks or months, sparking public discontent and criticism. Rare public protests rocked the country in November after a deadly fire killed multiple people, largely because victims were prevented from escaping due to strict rules. Restrictions have now been eased, but experts believe the zero-tolerance approach has robbed the Chinese of herd immunity.

Russo-Ukrainian War


The ongoing war began with the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops in February, which Moscow has dubbed a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine”. Thousands have been killed and millions displaced across Ukraine, but Russia denies its forces are targeting civilians. Western countries support Ukraine, and defense aid continues to flow. After months of diplomacy, threats and sanctions, hope remains as the world prays for peace in 2023.

oscar slap


This year’s Academy Awards were memorable for an entirely different reason. Actor Will Smith once slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. What sparked the slap was Rock’s joke, comparing Jada’s tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore’s look in the movie G.O.Jane. Actor Jada suffers from alopecia, which causes hair loss. Smith later apologized to Locke and his family in an Instagram video.

US diplomat visits Taiwan


U.S.-China relations have escalated sharply this year following a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, which Beijing considers its territory. She is the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to visit Taiwan in decades. The August visit saw China vow “targeted military action” and send fighter jets over Taiwan’s air defense zone. A few days later, another U.S. congressional delegation visited Taipei, Taiwan’s de facto capital.

Imran Khan and the Pakistani crisis


Imran Khan, who led the PTI party, was ousted as Pakistan’s prime minister in April. He became the first Pakistani prime minister to lose a no-confidence vote. Notably, no Pakistani prime minister has served a full five-year term. Mr Khan claimed his government was overthrown by a US “conspiracy” because he refused to support the US and Europe against Russia and China on global issues. The US, however, rejected Mr Khan’s claims.

British political crisis


Britain ended months of political turmoil in October with Rishi Sunak becoming the country’s first Indian-born prime minister. Liz Truss defeated Sunak to become prime minister less than two months ago, but resigned as Britain’s shortest-lived Prime Minister’s duties. Her predecessor, Boris Johnson, resigned in July after dozens of ministers resigned from his scandal-plagued government.

India-China conflict


Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh on December 9. Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told Congress that none of the Indian soldiers were killed or seriously injured when repatriating People’s Liberation Army troops trying to cross the Line of Actual Control. The last time the two sides clashed in Galwan, Ladakh was in 2020, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Chinese officials reported four casualties, but the exact number was likely higher.

Layoffs in tech

Master Sun

The tech world has witnessed a wave of layoffs this year, with top IT companies shedding large numbers of workers amid rising inflation. These include IT giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. There is also speculation of mass layoffs at Google.

Kashmir Archives

Qian Wen

Filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s Kashmir Files has been the subject of controversy since its release in March this year. The film, based on the genocide and exodus of Kashmiris in the Kashmir Valley, has been dubbed “propaganda” by critics. Notably, Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who chaired the jury at the Indian International Film Festival in Goa last month, said the film was “vulgar”. All but one Indian filmmaker on the jury backed Lapid’s remarks.

US abortion ruling


The U.S. Supreme Court this year overturned a landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion. In June, the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, a move that was criticized by President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and other global leaders. Half a century after the Roe v. Wade ruling established women’s right to abortion, individual states can now allow or limit the procedure. Biden called it a “sad day for the court and the country.”

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