China orders the closure of small plants in 10 polluting industries and a curb on the tapping of aquifers in an effort to reign in contamination of its water supply. Probe International Fellow, activist and journalist Dai Qing is quoted for this article by the Financial Times.
On March 30, China’s National Development and Reform Commission ordered the immediate closure of 66 golf courses across the country — the first sign of follow-up on a 10-year moratorium on new courses that a report by Beijing Today describes as “an admission of the failure” of that ban. During the past decade, instead of declining, the number of golf courses on the Chinese mainland exploded from 178 in 2004 to 528 in 2013. How did that happen in the face of a government crackdown?
According to Beijing’s bid to hold the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the environmental impact of the Games will be “ecofriendly” and “sustainable”. Experts say otherwise: providing snow for events will be tough in a city where “it just doesn’t snow” and “a Martian-like plan” will be needed to create artificial cover. Conservationists worry about moves to build Olympic ski resorts in national parks and protected nature reserves. Ski resorts, meanwhile, require water and lots of it but Beijing doesn’t have water.
Construction of a controversial hydropower project that would flood one of the last remaining unaltered stretches along China’s famed Yangtze River has been blocked by the country’s environmental regulators — a surprise defeat in the face of an unrestrained dam-building boom that many opponents worry will cause an irreversible legacy of damage.
Sri Lanka’s new government is reviewing all investment projects signed by the previous administration. Chinese companies, awarded the majority of those deals, are at the center of the storm. Sri Lanka’s new finance minister, Ravi Karunanayake, says Chinese firms “used the opportunity of a corrupt regime to crowd out other companies”. CNNMoney and Business Insider report.
A third of the $18 million slated to combat Ebola in Sierra Leone may have gone to pay non-existent “ghost” workers, a government audit finds.
Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff says “far too little attention has been devoted to understanding why multilateral development lending has so often failed”. In his experience, MDBs are most valuable as “knowledge” banks — sharing soft development infrastructure such as experience and best practices rather than financial muscle. The latter, he says, has led to their “greatest failures”.
Blind human rights activist, and self-taught lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, gives an extraordinary interview here with the British broadcaster Matthew Bannister, detailing his very dramatic escape from China to the U.S., as well as his difficult childhood as part of a misunderstood and mistreated disabled community, where he first began speaking out to demand change.
A Chinese court has agreed to hear a lawsuit filed by an environmental NGO seeking $US4.8-million in damages from an industrial polluter in Shandong province — thought to be the first public interest litigation for air pollution under China’s new environmental law. ChinaFile reports.
Just as China took a moment to enjoy Washington and Tokyo’s discomfort over Europe’s biggest economies declaring in favour of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank, Washington and Tokyo took a moment to caution joiners to beware of governance standards. We say: beware of multilateral development banks in general.
Lawyer Xi Xiangdong: Record of a meeting with He Zhengjun of the Transition Institute, detained on suspicion of “operating an illegal business”
This record of a meeting between He Zhengjun, a member of the Beijing-based independent think-tank Transition Institute, and his lawyer, Xi Xiangdong, earlier this year, details the roadblocks thrown up by prison authorities in disregard of the regulations that should permit a lawyer access to his client within a certain time frame.
More than fifty days have passed since detained legal activist and scholar, Guo Yushan, was taken from his Beijing home. His wife, Pan Haixia, posts her third letter to him online in his absence.
Is the ultimate dome preventing China’s skies from clearing a political one?
One year after Premier Li Keqiang declared war on pollution, the central government seems to be refraining from making any new promises on the matter this year, focusing instead on following through on all its previously set targets. South China Morning Post reports.
A smog documentary that went viral in China over the weekend and riveted the nation with its TED Talks meets Al Gore blend of compelling data and engaging instruction, managed to both survive China’s censors and get “the chop”.