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.

Five years after earthquake, Haiti’s journalists show resilience amid threats to freedom of the press

Divided before the earthquake of 2010, the disaster united Haiti’s media landscape out of necessity and in the face of a strong adversary in the administration of President Michel Martelly. Nowadays, that landscape is facing a tight squeeze from a government opposed to press freedom and moneyed NGOs with communication agendas that outnumber the country’s news organizations 10 to 1. Shearon Roberts for Journalism in the Americas reports.

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.

Just one more foreign investor

Much has been written about China in Africa — China’s #1 spot as Africa’s biggest trading partner, its massive investment in infrastructure development across the continent, its hands-off approach to domestic politics — but is talk of China’s domination in Africa overdone? The Economist reports.