May 23, 2012
We are pleased to announce that China Development Brief has re-emerged in another format as China Development Brief (English) which started up in May of 2010．We will continue CDB's focus on China's social development and civil society and provide reporting and resources for understanding these sectors. We thank Nick Young and CDB for their many years of excellent work which has made an important contribution to the development of China's civil society. In the near future, we hope to archive this website in our new CDB(English) website to preserve the work of the old CDB. To access the new CDB(English) website and read up on current news and analysis of China's civil society sector, please go to our website: http://www.chinadevelopmentbrief.cn.
With best wishes,
Shawn Shieh, Director and Editor
China Development Brief (English)
December 10, 2008
Efforts to revive this site (following the political difficulties of last year) have now fizzled out, writes founding editor, Nick Young, but it will remain accessible until the end of 2010 as an archive of past work; and our surviving Chinese partner, www.cdb.org.cn, will continue to post recruitment notices here. I, meanwhile, have migrated to Uganda where I am continue to write—about China, inter alia—on www.nickyoungwrites.com
Editorial | Gender | Governance and Social Policy | Health
Violent protests this month in Guangxi’s Bobai (博白) County—sparked, according to international press reports, by heavy-handed implementation of birth control rules—are a tragic reminder of the pain caused by a policy that has, nevertheless, played a key role in China’s social and economic transformation.
Editorial | Civil Society | Corporate Social Responsibility | Governance and Social Policy
Non profit organisations established by the Government of China to mobilise resources for public benefit work are frequently regarded by foreigners as fake, “Government-Organised NGOs.” But the signs are that, as the community of more autonomous, “grassroots” groups mushrooms and spreads, China’s political leadership sees all the more reason to maintain its own stake in the non profit sector. This mirrors China’s management of its industrial sectors and in some ways it makes sense.
Editorial | Labour and Migration | Law and Rights | Media | Subscription-only Content
Rural migrants to Chinese cities are having a very tough time, according to a report issued in March by Amnesty International. True enough. But hardly news to anyone at all familiar with the subject. Any well-informed broadsheet newspaper reader in the West knows this already, and so of course do all Chinese people who have been out of their village. So what was the point?
Editorial | Civil Society | Environment | Subscription-only Content
A paper published last year in The China Quarterly concludes, on the basis of interviews with Chinese university students, that “There is little likelihood of environmentalism among students transforming into an independent grassroots movement or becoming a source of pressure for political change.” The most revealing aspect of this study is not the finding but the fact that the researchers chose to pursue such a line of enquiry.
Why are watchers of China’s civil society so preoccupied with looking for signs of nascent, oppositional movements? The prevailing paradigm for social and political change, it seems, sees a necessary role at some point for barricades (or, at least, a “non-violent” variant.) Such a view is not only anathema to the Chinese authorities, inviting the kind of heightened security surveillance that we have seen over the last 18 months, it also implicitly discards—as naïvely idealistic, no doubt—the hope that rational debate and enlightened self-interest may deliver meaningful progress. Yet in a world that is melting at the seams that may be our best hope.
Editorial | Media | Subscription-only Content
Relaxation of controls on foreign journalists in China—intended, it seems, to promote “harmonious” reporting during the Olympics—is a welcome sign that the government is alert to the power of global public opinion and recognises the need for a more sophisticated approach to news management. This may be good news for Chinese journalists too if it proves to be the harbinger of greater domestic freedoms—which are necessary for the profession to develop and become the foundation for a globally competitive, Chinese media industry.
Editorial | China in the World | Civil Society | Subscription-only Content
November’s China-Africa summit in Beijing was like a coming-out ball for China as a new global force. As well as substantially boosting aid, trade and political ties, it further isolated Taiwan’s pro-independence movement and, as a bonus, gave Beijing extra, pre-Olympics practice in hosting major international events. But there was no sign of civil society at the party; and they should be invited next time.
Editorial | Corporate Social Responsibility | Environment | Subscription-only Content
In October the Ford Motor Company will, for the sixth year in succession, award grants to Chinese environmentalists and green NGOs in recognition of their ongoing contribution to sustainable development. This year, the car manufacturer is increasing the total prize money to CNY 1.7 million (USD 214,000) which is expected to be divided between fifteen organizations
Editorial | Ethnic Minorities | Governance and Social Policy | Subscription-only Content
In 1853, Karl Marx argued in the New York Daily Tribune that the introduction of railways to India would speed the “annihilation of old Asiatic society and the laying the material foundations of Western society in Asia.” This is an apposite thought to consider in the month that sees the opening of the world’s highest railway, linking eastern China, for the first time, to Lhasa in Tibet.
Editorial | Governance and Social Policy | Livelihoods | Subscription-only Content
The recent pledge by China’s top leaders to “construct a new socialist countryside” (建设社会主义新农村) appears designed to stem a growing tide of rural unrest and to address the concerns of urban intellectuals who, for several years, have been harping on “three problems of agriculture” (三农). But it is not yet clear whether the plan amounts to more than a rhetorical acknowledgement of growing “imbalances” in income and opportunity; and the reference to “construction”(建设) is depressingly familiar.