The Chinese government should withdraw its draft law on foreign organizations, which represents “nothing more than a means to block the activities of groups Beijing doesn’t like,” Human Rights Watch said today in a submission to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Legislative Affairs Commission.
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.
This Huffington Post blog, by Peter Neill, founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, looks at the global love affair with big dams and the perils of forcing water to acquiesce to political ambitions and national pride, and the sometimes dangerous results of doing so.
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.
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.
China orders the closure of small plants in 10 polluting industries and a curb on the tapping of aquifers in an effort to reign in contamination of its water supply. Probe International Fellow, activist and journalist Dai Qing is quoted for this article by the Financial Times.
On March 30, China’s National Development and Reform Commission ordered the immediate closure of 66 golf courses across the country — the first sign of follow-up on a 10-year moratorium on new courses that a report by Beijing Today describes as “an admission of the failure” of that ban. During the past decade, instead of declining, the number of golf courses on the Chinese mainland exploded from 178 in 2004 to 528 in 2013. How did that happen in the face of a government crackdown?
A Chinese court has agreed to hear a lawsuit filed by an environmental NGO seeking $US4.8-million in damages from an industrial polluter in Shandong province — thought to be the first public interest litigation for air pollution under China’s new environmental law. ChinaFile reports.
More than fifty days have passed since detained legal activist and scholar, Guo Yushan, was taken from his Beijing home. His wife, Pan Haixia, posts her third letter to him online in his absence.