Category: Rule of Law

Will China’s dams control the Mekong’s flow?

Low water levels and stranded boats on the upper Mekong River — although, nothing new for a February in recent years — are once again stirring concerns over China’s dam-building program to the north. What is new is the apparent readiness of Chinese authorities to give an account of their actions to rectify the situation. The Lowy Interpreter reports.

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Without corruption, some ask, can the Chinese Communist Party function?

Has President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign accelerated China’s economic slowdown? Some say officials are “engaged in a test of will” with Xi, delaying decisions that would promote growth to avoid risks and to punish Xi for taking “away their cheese without offering anything in return.” The Washington Post reports.

Is China’s Internet becoming an intranet?

China’s ban on virtual private networks (VPN) prompts this ChinaFile conversation between global experts on the potential outfall from Beijing’s latest pullback on citizens’ online access. According to award-winning journalist George Chen: “These days, the government is keen to regulate everything it hates and promote everything it likes with new legislation or renewed enforcement. That’s what the rule of law Chinese-style is all about.”

Yang Zili and the paranoid regime

Xiao Shu in this piece comparing the 2001 incarceration of fellow Chinese journalist, Yang Zili, and his colleagues today from the Transition Institute, explores the deeper psychological cause driving the country’s “stability-obsessed regime”: a paranoia so institutionalized that it drives state power compulsively. A must read.

China’s environmental enforcement glitch

Declaring “war on pollution” is just the first step, writes Elizabeth Economy in this terrific piece for ChinaFile on the need for Beijing to invest more in the fundamentals of environmental protection: the enforcement of regulations and the necessary human and financial resources to those on the front-line of clawing back blue skies and clean water for China.

Looking forward to the moment when you return: Zhou Qinghui to Huang Kaiping

As China continues its crackdown on reform-minded scholars and civil liberties, the wife of yet another detained member of the respected Beijing-based think tank, Transition Institute, has spoken out in an open letter circulated online. Reaching out to her husband, Huang Kaiping, in the only way she now can, Zhou Qinghui recounts in vivid voice their first meeting, as fifth graders, up until the current day’s events, cast in shadow by the question mark of an uncertain future under a repressive regime.

Sustainable mining and quarrying

The Toronto-based environmental and public policy research institute, Environment Probe, takes on the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, which cautions against local decision making. Probe recommends empowering affected individuals and communities to determine whether and how proposed projects will go ahead. To further ensure that mining and quarrying are sustainable, Probe recommends making mining companies bear all their environmental risks and costs.

China’s water revival

Chinese citizens and industry are both willing to do their part to help turnaround the country’s water crisis, according to a new survey, but they don’t see how without a mechanism that allows the government, industry and end users to work together. Could that missing mechanism be market discipline, rule of law and citizen empowerment?

A letter to my husband Guo Yushan: II

Twenty days after the first letter to her husband, detained legal activist and scholar, Guo Yushan, Pan Haixia posted another exquisitely written follow-up letter to him online. In the time in between, Pan writes she is determined to honour Guo’s zest for life by not isolating herself: “I don’t want you to criticize me for indulging in self-pity” and “it would be unreasonable for me to act half-dead” when loved ones have been so supportive. Pan’s mood has become increasingly reflective, drawing on wisdom gained in moments past, as she finds herself embracing the philosophy that, “we little people all have an ultimate freedom that no one can take away: the freedom to choose the attitude with which we face our destinies.” She remains hopeful Guo will return home.