Category: Rule of Law

Who’s on notice: Ai Weiwei or the Chinese government?

(November 16, 2011) The notice from tax authorities has launched Ai as a cause célèbre yet again but, this time, and significantly, within China.

Brazilian judge blocks Belo Monte dam

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.

Official Chinese land grabs

(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.

Dam postponement seen as rebuke to Beijing

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.

Chinese activists protest secret arrest law

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.

Ai Weiwei: The Sunflower Revolutionary

(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.