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After leaving China Women News, Lü Pin began to work with women intellectuals pioneering women’s rights advocacy in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2009, Lü Pin founded ‘Feminist Voice.’ Its sharp interpretation of women issues through a feminist lens attracted many young educated women. A small NGO called ‘One-yuan Commune’ was established in Beijing that quickly became a springboard for street activism from 2012 to 2015.


Wang Jiangsong, April 13, 2018     In late March in the Changning district of Shanghai, 3,000 sanitation workers went on strike. Before long, the air was filled with a foul odour as garbage quickly began piling up in the streets. Trash collection is a public service, and the consequence of a strike is not limited to the walls of a factory compound like most industrial actions. In this case, hundreds of thousands of residents, including students, public servants, intellectuals, white collar workers, and entrepreneurs all had their lives disrupted. When they understood the reason for the strike, however, they were sympathetic and supportive of the workers, and took it upon themselves to post pictures and comments on social media (here, here, here). Police were […]


Andrea Worden, March 14, 2018   “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” –– UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders     The Chinese government attacks human rights defenders (HRDs) – those who peacefully defend and promote human rights – on a range of fronts. First, and most critically, are the government’s attacks on HRDs at home. The relentless crackdown on human rights defenders has gone from bad to worse under Xi Jinping, and we can expect the downward trend to accelerate now that Xi is no longer constrained by term limits. While the resilience of China’s beleaguered HRDs is remarkable, their numbers are shrinking; a few […]


Meng Han, October 11, 2017     Continued from Part One   Governmental Dysfunction and NGO Work In our time of great changes, the term “NGO”—when applied to our Service Center—inevitably has some political connotation. NGO workers have nothing to do with any criminal activities, but have everything to do with governmental dysfunction. It is precisely because of this that we drew attention from society. It is also because of this that the media, scholars, and workers have taken an interest in us and observed our work. As a matter of fact, it is inevitable that NGOs will impact the government in any country. The core issue is in what manner NGOs are making an impact. In my opinion, the involvement of the Service Center […]


Meng Han, October 10, 2017   On December 3, 2015, Guangdong police raided a series of labor NGOs in the Pearl River Delta area, detaining several NGO leaders and activists. Among them was Meng Han (孟晗), a then 50-year-old experienced labor activist and an intern at Panyu Migrant Worker Service Center in Guangzhou. Meng Han had served nine months in jail for leading a rights struggle in between 2013 and 2014, and this time, he was tried and sentenced to twenty-one months in prison. Last month he was released and shortly afterward he posted “Notes From Prison” (《狱中札记》) on social media. He was subsequently questioned by police and given warnings. “We are innocent,” he told the court in 2013 and his words still ring true, […]


March 31, 2017 Taiwanese pro-democracy activist Lee Ming-che disappeared on March 19 after clearing immigration in Macau. China has confirmed that Lee is being investigated on suspicion of ‘pursuing activity harmful to national security.’ This is an unauthorized translation of his wife’s statement. — The Editors   Lee Ching-yu’s Press Release: I’ve been a historian of Taiwan’s period of political violence, the “White Terror,” for many years. Now that my own my loved one is detained, terror grips my heart. I’ve tried so hard to calm myself, to carefully compose my thoughts. I know from the history of the White Terror in Taiwan that when a country’s system of rule of law hasn’t risen to international standards, all attempts to offer defenses according to the […]


January 3, 2017 This Q & A can be read as a companion piece to the Guardian report. It focuses more on Dahlin’s work, the interrogations, and the legal features of his case. Given that China’s “Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations” took effect on January 1, 2017, we hope the conversation offers insight and perspective. – The Editors     CHINA CHANGE: Peter, you are a Swedish national; on January 3, 2016, you were taken into custody by Chinese national security agents for allegedly “endangering national security.” It was not until nine days later that the international press reported that you had been disappeared on your way to the Beijing airport. Then, on January 15 and 19, the Global Times and the […]


Yaxue Cao, July 26, 2016 Li Tingting (李婷婷), also known as Li Maizi (李麦子), is one of the “Feminist Five” in China who were detained on the eve of the International Women’s Day in 2015; they were planning a protest against sexual harassment on public transportation, which is insidiously prevalent in China. The women were released after 37 days in detention following an unprecedented international outcry. I met with Li Tingting recently over a Sunday brunch, and we spoke about her detention, women’s rights, LGBT advocacy, and civil society. — The Editors YC: Let’s begin from your experiences during the arrest of the Feminist Five on March 6. Li Tingting: At that time my girlfriend and I were living in a rental. The police came […]


Who the activists are, and why the government is striking hard against their NGOs By Yaxue Cao, published: December 10, 2015     Chinese police on December 3 began a series of sudden raids of labor rights organizations in Guangdong, questioning at least 25 staff members and managers of about five organizations, according to labor activists and lawyers in the area. Three individuals—Zeng Feiyang (曾飞洋), Zhu Xiaohai (朱小梅) and He Xiaobo (何晓波)—were confirmed to be criminally detained. On December 7, Deng Xiaoming (邓小明) was criminally detained, while two other NGO staff members are still in police custody and their status remains uncertain. The father, wife, and older brother of Zeng Feiyang have all been interrogated by police. Peng Jiayong (彭家勇) also may have been criminally […]


By Lu Chai, published: May 21, 2015 “[F]ew options remain. You can turn your back on groups that are targeted and in trouble, and continue to advertise your own abstention from all things political. Or you can face up, with honesty, to the reality that civil society has little space to work in, muster your courage, and raise objections.”   The Beijing public security authorities have issued an indictment opinion that hammers the first nail into the coffin for the Chinese nonprofit think tank Transition Institute (TI, 传知行). The opinion recommends that the procuratorate indict Guo Yushan (郭玉闪)and He Zhengjun (何正军)on the charge of “illegal business operation.” There isn’t much to say about the case itself. A lot of solid commentary with a sound command of the law have already been written about the fact that the accused are innocent, and that […]


By Song Zhibiao, published: May 17, 2015 We present you the second commentary out of China on the draft law. The first one, by Dr. Wan Yanhai, one of China’s NGO pioneers, briefly examines the operational path of Chinese NGOs from early 1990s to the present, and how the three recent laws will dead-end rights advocacy NGOs in China. This, it turns out, is what Xi Jinping means by “governing the country according to the law.” – The Editor   Among draft laws currently under a second reading in China’s National Congress of People’s Representative is the People’s Republic of China Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations Management Law (a bilingual version). What’s the merit of this law? Chinese legal professionals specializing in the public interest have given […]


By Wan Yanhai, published: May 13, 2015   In March 2007, Guo Yushan (郭玉闪)and others co-founded Transition Social and Economic Consulting Limited, otherwise known as Beijing Transition Institute. In July 2013, Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs sent Transition Institute (TI) a violation notice, alleging that the organization had not registered, and was operating publicly as a “private non-enterprise” without legal basis. Four years earlier in 2009, Gongmeng[1] (公盟, or Open Constitution Initiative) was outlawed by the government for the same “reason;” the contents of its entire office, including research data, was confiscated. Falling prey to the same tactics that had affected groups like Aizhixing (爱知行) and Gongmeng, TI was twice the target of audits from Beijing Municipal Tax Bureau, in 2009 and 2013. On October 9, […]


By Beijing Yirenping Center, April 14, 2015   On April 14, Hong Lei, the Spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), stated publicly that our organization, Beijing Yirenping Center (BYC), “has allegedly violated the law, and will be punished.” Our organization’s response is as follows: 1.  We welcome MOFA in its open discussion on BYC, as this is an improvement upon the break-in raid into our office, in the early hours of March 24. 2.  BYC will take the accusation from MOFA seriously. We will hire legal counsel to respond in accordance with China’s laws, as well as pursue the March 24 office raid. 3.  Since BYC’s founding in 2006, we have been the target of rigorous “solicitude” from various departments and levels of […]


A translation of a VOA report in Chinese, published: March 11, 2015 Professor Xia Min of CUNY: “Xi’s fear is exactly that the maturing of civil society will organically provide, with the organizing capacity and solidarity within Chinese society, a platform for the building of political parties.”   A documentary produced by the well-known investigative journalist Chai Jing, formerly with CCTV, Under the Dome, has struck a deep chord in China. At the end of the documentary, Chai mentions that as China’s revised Environmental Protection Law is implemented, civil society environmental groups will have the unprecedented right to bring public interest lawsuits against polluting companies. However, according to a Beijing News (《新京报》) article [1], since the law went into effect in January 2015, only three […]


By Chang Ping, published: March 4, 2015   “Each and every part (of the petroleum industry) is basically a monopoly.” “Under a monopoly there can be no innovation.” “Outsiders can’t break into it at all.” “It is the one and only child. The toys are all his. He plays with them anyway he wants, and he throws them around.” On camera, one after another, Chinese policy-making officials and environmental administrators indicted the China National Petroleum Corporation, a SOE that has contributed a great deal to air pollution in China according to Chai Jing’s documentary Under the Dome. One quickly realizes that it is also a pretty accurate assessment of the Communist Party regime itself and China’s political landscape. “It’s not that I’m afraid to die; […]


By Liu Yu, published: February 25, 2015 “You see?  No hands are raised by those who are absent in the classroom.  Everyone is here. What a wonderful class!”   I complain about China now and then, and a friend of mine pointed out my failing to appreciate it. “China is in great shape now,” she pointed to the window. “Can’t you see? It is now in many ways a lot more advanced than overseas!” I guess I have to agree. Following the direction of her finger, I can see the gleaming facades of skyscrapers, the new cars of all makes and models, and the hustle and bustle of daily activities, even with the polluted air and reduced visibility. The prosperity is real. And add to […]


By Zhai Minglei, published: February 4, 2015 (Chinese original was published in October, 2014.) Get a glimpse of one of the quietest but most admirable NGO activists in China who has been held incommunicado since October 10th, 2014. – The Editor     At this very moment, I am in Shanghai, jotting down some memories of mine. In China, some people are often silently disappeared for what their conscience has led them to do, and this is more terrifying than death. In the last two days, two of my good friends, Guo Yushan (郭玉闪) and Kou Yanding (寇延丁), were detained. When something like this happens to your own friends, you feel the sort of anger and helplessness that is difficult to convey unless experienced first-hand. […]


By Chang Ping, published: December 22, 2014   On 19 April this year, at the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review held in Geneva, while Ti-Anna Wang, the daughter of the democracy activist Wang Bingzhang, whom a Chinese court had sentenced to life imprisonment, was giving testimony on her father’s behalf, a man photographed her using a concealed camera. After investigating the matter, the UN cancelled this man’s UN pass. This incident revealed an “open secret” – the man who photographed Ti-Anna enter the conference room as a representative of a Chinese non-governmental organization (NGO), he and his organization in fact work for the Chinese government, and their work includes taking intimidating photographs. The Chinese government did not have to pay much of a price […]


By Song Zhibiao, published: November 17, 2014 Editor’s update: Liren Rural Libraries announced its closure on September 18, 2014.   The Liren (literally: “cultivating talents”) Rural Libraries, which is devoted to aiding rural students to broaden their reading horizons and expand their learning opportunities, has met with the worst crisis since its founding. Its official Weibo revealed that, at the end of August, eleven Liren Rural Libraries, one after another, have undergone official reviews by such local agencies as the Education Bureau, the Culture Bureau, and the Culture and Sports Bureau. Two of the libraries have already been notified by their partner schools that the schools were terminating their cooperation with the libraries. In additional comments, Li Yingqiang (李英强), who previously served as a responsible […]


By Chang Ping, published: November 15, 2014 Editor’s update on Ye Haiyan: Ye Haiyan was released at midnight on November 12. She has since been placed under house arrest, guarded by local policemen, the Communist Party’s local Politics and Law Committee, and neighborhood workers. Her boyfriend, while with her currently, has received threats from the Chinese authorities that he either leaves her or faces detention himself.   On October 23 at UN headquarters in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reviewed the Chinese government’s periodical report. Chinese officials promised on the spot that Chinese NGOs would not face retaliation for taking part in this meeting. I was there at the meeting. To me, the promise first sounded ridiculous because, why […]


By Zeng Jinyan, published: October 30, 2014 “Watching his friends, who happen to be the hope of a better China, going to prison one after another, is more than personal shame. It is the shame of our time.”   Kou Yanding was taken away by police in Beijing on October 10th for “picking quarrels and provoking disturbances.”  The day before on October 9th, Guo Yushan was criminally detained on the same charge. Two days before the arrest, Kou Yanding, otherwise known as Button, was free in Hong Kong, helping me make a breakfast of eggs in noodle soup in my kitchen. To her friends in the NGO circle, Kou Yanding is a bestselling author on such incendiary subjects as trying on parliamentary procedures in Chinese […]


By Xu Zhiyong Today and tomorrow, we bring to you two articles about the case of a young man called Song Ze. He was a volunteer at Dr. Xu Zhiyong’s Open Constitution Initiative, an NGO dedicated to providing legal aid to disempowered people in China. We at SRIC are in no position to fully report the many cases such as Song Ze’s, but what we can do, and are trying to do here, is to illustrate a case well enough so that it sheds light and provides insight. On China’s black jails which this article explains very well, you may also want to watch Melissa Chan’s report that allegedly got her expelled from China. Hannah is the translator of the following piece by Dr. Xu. […]


This post is continued from yesterday. The book Poor Economics is the source for these general ideas, I’m simply discussing how they would apply to China’s context. Culture shifts, not culture shift Cultures often create systems of reciprocity that create some kind of “fairness” within the family. However, as the authors point out, just because one part of a culture changes doesn’t mean the corresponding pieces change as well, and the system becomes unfair in a way that continues poverty. One instance of this would be in family arrangements. Traditionally the grandparents help their children raise the next generation, and children also traditionally support their parents when they reach old age. While these two may seem to be connected, in modern China grandparents have been expected to […]


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