A danger of dams

This Huffington Post blog, by Peter Neill, founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, looks at the global love affair with big dams and the perils of forcing water to acquiesce to political ambitions and national pride, and the sometimes dangerous results of doing so.

A letter to my husband Guo Yushan: IV

Eighty-six days after being taken from his Bejing home by police on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” Guo Yushan is officially arrested and charged with “operating an illegal business”. Guo’s wife, Pan Haixia, posts her fourth letter to him online in his absence. Pan appears to have gained a sense of renewed fortitude from the endurance of others in similar situations, the support of friends and the online world that permits “people to express in solidarity with others”; an outlet that has also allowed Pan to share these extraordinary letters that will stand the test of time as part of her country’s historical record.

China’s strike against NGOs: “into the pan and deep-fry”

Radio Free Asia speaks to Chinese activist, Hu Jia, following the release of an open letter sent by former Transition Institute members to the authority charged with deciding whether or not to prosecute two of its ex-staffers. According to Hu Jia, by bringing a charge of “illegal business activity” against Guo Yushan and He Zhengjun, the Beijing authorities are attempting to “strike at the mountain to frighten the tiger,” sending a warning to other non-profit organizations, domestic and foreign foundations, and foreign embassies in China.

An Open Letter to Procuratorate of Haidian District from senior researchers of the Transition Institute

Former members of the Beijing-based independent think-tank, Transition Institute, in this open letter to the authority charged with deciding whether or not to prosecute TI’s co-founder, Guo Yushan, and He Zhengjun, TI’s former administrative director, challenge the case against them and call for their immediate release. The Transition Institute was shut down last October in a heightened government crackdown on Chinese civil groups.

The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau’s Recommendation for the Indictment of Guo Yushan and He Zhengjun

indictment_1

In its recommendation to indict Transition Institute founder, Guo Yushan, and administrative director, He Zhengjun, for “illegal business operation,” the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said that the Transition Institute wrote research papers and articles and offered lectures at universities on such subjects as China’s tax reform, education rights, and legal reform using funds from domestic and international foundations, including Probe International. The police claim to have uncovered the alleged “illegal” activities while they were investigating Guo Yushan, an economist, for the suspected crime of picking quarrels and provoking troubles. “Criminal suspects Guo Yushan and He Zhengjun were captured and brought to justice on October 9, 2014 and November 26, 2014 respectively,” the Public Security Bureau says.

Foreign NGOs under increasing pressure in China

China considers new law aimed at crackdown on foreign NGO operations and funding of activities feared threatening to Communist rule. Probe International, named as one of several international foundations in a recent criminal investigation, told the New York Times: “From our perspective in Canada, it is perplexing that such activities [researching and writing articles and reports, and giving university lectures] would be considered illegal.”

Lawsuit over banned memoir asks China to explain censorship

Li Nanyang is challenging the confiscation of copies of a book by her father, Li Rui, a party elder. Credit Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times.

A lawsuit filed by the daughter of retired Communist Party official, Li Rui, challenges the legality of airport seizures in China after a book by her father — an unvarnished account of his experiences in the leadership — was confiscated by customs officials. The country’s border controls have sharpened dramatically in recent years, making it much riskier to bring banned books to mainland China, say publishers and authors. The New York Times reports.