(November 16, 2011) The notice from tax authorities has launched Ai as a cause célèbre yet again but, this time, and significantly, within China.
A Brazilian judge has stopped construction on the world’s third largest dam. The Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon would flood about 500 square kilometres – displacing about 20 000 indigenous people – as well as diverting 80% of the Xingu’s flow. This Environment News Service article details the long and tortuous battles the Brazilian courts, government and indigenous peoples have fought over the project.
(October 19, 2011) Local governments in China typically fund themselves by land sales and property taxes. This article, from Economic Observer, surveys how the economies of Beijing, Shaanxi, Tianjin and Hubei fared over the past year. Notably, Beijing’s economy slowed due to restrictions on real estate and vehicle purchasing – major parts of local consumption and tax revenue.
Myanmar’s announced cancellation of the Myitsone dam on the Irrawaddy River has brought long-standing tensions with China into the open – including setting off conflicts with the Kachin Independence Organization in the north of the country. “It may be that the Myanmar government sees Chinese investment, in particular the Myitsone dam, as a destabilising force,” said Patricia Adams.
The wife of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose detention sparked an international outcry, has urged lawmakers to reject draft legislation that would cement in law police powers to hold dissidents in secret locations without telling their families. And Hu Jia, recently released from imprisonment on charges of subversion, has called for the “KGB secret police-style Red Terror methods” to be rejected.
(September 29, 2011) Liu Zhi from the Beijing-based Transition Institute looks at China’s costly and chaotic dam-building spree, and the legal and economic reasons behind the bad investments.
Even a gag order can’t silence dissident artist Ai Weiwei on the dark subject of human rights in China.
(July 4, 2011) Probe International’s Patricia Adams joined a Business News Network (BNN) panel to discuss the dangers of corporations wishing to do business in China given its poor human rights record.
(June 28, 2011) China releases human rights activist Hu Jia from prison, subject to ‘supervision’.
(June 15, 2011) How microblogs are becoming a platform for independent election campagins.
(June 8, 2011) “We believe that until the day the rule of law is established in China, what happened to Ni Yulan today could happen to each one of us.”
(April 21, 2011) Chinese hydrologist Lu Qinkan passed away April 11 in Beijing at the age of 97. Lu was known to the west as one of the most vocal critics of the Three Gorges Dam.
(April 15, 2011) Patricia Adams writes: Chinese authorities will invent crimes, if need be, to silence dissidents for exercising their right to freedom of speech. However, renewed efforts to curb criticism and protest reveal an entrenched public distrust towards the government: the people of China, and the world, are done listening.
(April 14, 2011) Three decades after China’s “opening,” the country’s oppressive style of leadership continues. Fearing a public uprising, the government has begun silencing critical elements – the high profile artist Ai Weiwei detained on a trumped up charge in early April has not been heard from since. Independent thinkers, such as Probe International Fellow and outspoken journalist Dai Qing, may be targeted next. Renowned Chinese fiction author Ma Jian writes about the significance of the Ai Weiwei arrest.
(April 12, 2011) In this first in a series, Voices From China, Chinese blogger Zeng Jinyan writes that the panicked response of Chinese citizens to the Japanese nuclear crisis betrays a fundamental distrust of the Chinese Government and official media.