As China braces itself for the possibility of an omnipotent digital dystopia — a credit rating system aimed at reducing the resources, choices and activities of every citizen to a single trustability score — one Chinese newspaper has revealed a Big Data menace already underway. For a small fee, anyone in China can invade your private data sphere.
Environmentalists celebrate as Beijing appears to abandon plans to build mega dams on its Grand Canyon of the East. Although dam-building isn’t off the table in other parts of China, activists say Beijing is deterred in this case by growing concern for the environment, the wisdom of dam construction in areas of high seismicity and – most importantly – the economics of large-scale dams that no longer make financial sense in a slowing Chinese economy, in combination with the scale of difficulty in transmitting electricity from remote regions to the rest of the country.
Despite substantially increasing their renewable energy sources, those sources are “still a tiny fraction” of China’s energy mix, says Probe International’s Patricia Adams in this interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Beijing played the Paris climate agreement for money and kudos. But no country that ratified the agreement was in it to win the war on global warming, says Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, in this radio interview with the Australian current affairs program, Counterpoint.
Taiwan’s first female president, and its most defiantly democratic, faces increased pressure from Beijing over the island’s national identity. Canada’s “quietude” amidst the ongoing squeeze has been noted.
New academic research and analysis shows President Xi Jinping’s high-profile anti-corruption drive has fallen short of its goal. Citizens blame local graft on the central government rather than regional authorities. The Financial Times reports.
Former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler and an all-party alliance of MPs call for Canada to vote down countries known for their human rights violations – Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Cuba – as they seek re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Michelle Zilio reports for the Globe and Mail’s Ottawa bureau.
“Justin Trudeau’s recent statements about considering an extradition treaty with China, a military dictatorship that executes more ‘criminals’ than any other country, and hoping to get a free trade deal with China to double trade by 2025 are both troubling.” Once again, he is showing poor judgment when it comes to China and has done so before. Bill Tieleman for The Tyee.
China’s dam-building spree on the Tibetan Plateau has given Beijing immense leverage as controller of the region’s “blue gold” and with that power comes responsibility. For starters, to permit an open assessment of the impacts of these projects – particularly given the region’s vulnerability to seismic risk – and to share those findings with neighboring countries and the people most directly affected by dam construction upheaval.
More on the Three Gorges Dam’s flood control capabilities and its performance in one of the wettest seasons for China since the record-breaking El Niño event of 1997-98. In this report, The Economist concludes the country’s weakened river pulse is “in danger not only from floods but from its flood controls.”
This terrific article by the Financial Post echoes the warning signs of an earlier Post piece by Probe International’s Patricia Adams on trade with China and, in particular, China’s state-owned enterprises.
These comments by Tanzanian economics professor Humphrey Moshi serve as quite an indictment of the wayward World Bank. When China — no stranger to poor practices itself — is your “saviour” from bad World Bank policies … The Daily News reports.
2016 will be a decisive year for hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong. Southeast-Asia based journalist, Tom Fawthrop, looks at the notion of ‘nice dams’ that supposedly don’t inflict too much damage on their surrounding environments and their opposite reality: the hidden costs of hydropower and the irreversible destruction of unique ecosystems.
China moves into “Minority Report” territory with its latest surveillance project aimed at identifying citizen threats before they strike.
China expands its corruption crackdown beyond public sector “tigers” and “flies” to include private sector executives and even university officials.