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China’s gloomy future

China’s increasing financial and economic assertiveness suggests its star is only set to rise on the world stage and that has prompted some major swagger on the part of its leaders. Swagger the nation’s long-term view doesn’t warrant. Commentary by John Robson.

Civil society’s diminishing “space to negotiate”

China Digital Times highlights Chinese writer and activist Zeng Jinyan’s post on Beijing’s crackdown on NGOs and, in particular, the independent think tank, Transition Institute. Even groups that historically have played an important role in China are finding themselves on the wrong side of the security apparatus, says Jinyan. Likewise, the space to negotiate is also closing fast for the country’s rights lawyers, reports CDT.

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.