Jerome A. Cohen

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World leaders will soon gather in Beijing for the second forum on China’s Belt and Road Initiative — the $1 trillion plan involving China’s bilateral agreements with more than 100 countries to enhance “connectivity” by building infrastructure projects and deepening economic ties. In the run-up to the event, many critics have highlighted the projects’ negative impacts on host countries, such as debt traps, land seizures, corruption and environmental degradation. Some have pointed out the difficulties of establishing fair methods for resolving the many disputes that are arising between China and its new partners. A few have criticized the failure of certain projects to create adequate jobs for locals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers at a supply factory to Honda Motor's joint-ventures in China strike to demand for higher wages, in Guangdong province on June 7, 2010. (Associated Press)

They came for the feminists in the spring. In the summer, they came for the rights-defense lawyers. And on Dec. 3, the eve of China’s Constitution Day, Chinese authorities initiated a widespread crackdown on labor activists in the industrial powerhouse of Guangdong province.

Since they first appeared 20 years ago, China’s labor nongovernmental organizations have suffered regular rounds of repression and harassment, including tax audits, mafia violence and continual interrogation by security officials. But this most recent repression is more serious. It seems that the Communist Party is intent on stamping out labor activism in civil society once and for all.…  Seguir leyendo »

The slogan for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was “Beijing Welcomes You.” Now, seven years later, a draft law targeting foreign institutions — including universities, museums, athletic and cultural groups, professional associations and all nonprofit social organizations established outside of mainland China — makes clear that Beijing has become much less welcoming.

The draft “Foreign NGO Management Law,” released last month, is part of a package of legislation that includes strict laws on national security and antiterrorism. With this slate of broad and far-reaching statutes, President Xi Jinping, who evidently feels Communist Party rule is vulnerable to ideas from the outside world, is aiming to be the toughest leader since Mao.…  Seguir leyendo »