Tag: human rights

‘Don’t aim at fame; just be a good, compassionate person’

The environmental awareness of Chinese people has changed dramatically in the 25 years since her path-breaking book, Yangtze! Yangtze! on the environmental and social effects of China’s Three Gorges Dam, was published. Now, renowned journalist, author, activist and Probe International Fellow and correspondent, Dai Qing, sits down with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for a look back on her experiences as a veteran reporter and the lessons of value she has learned along the way.

Powerful, must-see photographs commemorating Tiananmen Square

(June 4, 2014) On the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown today, we recommend a visit to the Twitter page of Patrick Chovanec and the tremendous photographs he has posted commemorating the events of June 4, 1989. Patrick is an adjunct professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a former business professor at Tsinghua

Fire on the water

(April 25, 2014) Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, has held water for at least five million years and is also known as the cradle of mankind for its abundance of hominid fossils, but may now suffer the same dry fate as the Aral Sea in central Asia thanks to hydro-electric development that ties neighbours Ethiopia and Kenya together. Writer Ben Rawlence looks here at how regional power plays can work against accountability and how the complexity of large projects and the many actors involved with them militates against holding anyone to account.

Civil disobedience in Sodom – A letter to Xu Zhiyong

(September 18, 2013) Guo Yushan, a longtime friend and colleague of high-profile Chinese human rights activist Xu Zhiyong, penned a grand and robust entreaty to Xu in late July (translated here into English), urging Xu to stand his ground as he awaits trial for “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” In reality, Xu, a well-known lawyer and founder of China’s fledgling “New Citizens’ Movement”, had called on officials to disclose their financial assets as it is thought assets disclosure will reveal the true level of corruption among government officials who exploit their political power for personal gain. In his letter, Guo likens Xu to Socrates facing the wrath of Athens and China to the disgraced biblical city of Sodom, and exhorts Xu to rise to his fate as an idealist, unrepentant — “let them charge you, let them torture you”.

Activist Dai Qing: How China limits change, and stores discontent

(September 11, 2012) The dispute between Japan and China over Japan’s decision to purchase a number of islands in the East China Sea, also claimed by China and Taiwan, has provoked spirited public protest in China this summer. But territorial disputes with Japan aren’t the only issue driving China’s summer of protest. Large, organized and, at times, violent demonstrations often sparked by environmental concerns – recently the wastewater drainage pipeline from the Japanese-owned Oji Paper plant – have become more frequent as citizens discover strength in numbers as a way to unleash long, pent-up anger at authorities. Japan’s highly regarded Asahi Shimbun newspaper turned to Probe International Fellow and correspondent, Dai Qing, to understand China’s recent wave of anti-Japanese protest and learned that Chinese officials would rather their people march against Japan than take to the streets to demand democracy, human rights and freedom. This interview also explores Dai’s own history as a champion for the environment and human rights in China, her stance against the construction of the massive Three Gorges Dam and ongoing restrictions of her activities by Chinese security: even a surprise party in celebration of her 70th birthday could not go ahead as planned by friends. Dai Qing reflects on such foolishness: “It is truly a waste of money to monitor such a patriot as me,” she insists.

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.

Prominent Chinese activist and wife beaten

(February 11, 2011) According to CNN, blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng and his wife have been beaten and placed under house arrest. Chen had only recently completed a four year prison sentence for publicly criticizing government policies. Chen has been a prominent human rights activist since 1998, when he organized protests against water pollution from a local factory in Yinan County.