This terrific commentary deals with Beijing’s crackdown on NGOs and its larger ramifications if the country’s (remaining) civil society groups do not stand together against tremendous pressure to steer clear of a “political red line” that keeps moving to ensure anything, if the authorities wish, can be deemed off-limits.
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.
Western NGOs that operate in China stay silent to remain in the Chinese Communist Party’s good books.
Chinese writer and activist, Zeng Jinyan, discusses here in this extraordinarily nuanced piece, first published on Chinese social media, the shifting ground affecting domestic “pragmatic” NGOs and the implications for foreign NGOs with partners in China.
Democracies and dictatorships alike are cracking down on NGOs, but for different reasons.
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.
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
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.
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.”
Amid China’s fiercely renewed attack on civil society and free speech advocates, Probe International is one of several international foundations named in a police indictment targeting two leading members of a Beijing-based independent economics and education think tank.
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.
Chinese activist, Hu Jia, has been under strict police monitor since his release from jail four years ago. Here, he talks to The Weekend Australian about his life in Beijing living in an apartment building — ironically named Freedom City — under constant surveillance.
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.
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.