Archive for November 16th, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Non-Governmental Organizations: the Crackdown continues

Anyone who has  ever worked to set up a company or any other kind of organization in China – commercial or non-profit – will know that to establish a reliable and calculable legal basis is a challenging task. This, among others, is probably what state chief councillor Wen Jiabao was referring to in summer, when he said that

[…] when China wants to establish a democratic country ruled by law [or a country with law and order – 中国要建立一个民主和法治的国家 (fǎ zhì)], the so-called rule by law means that after a political party took power, it should act in accordance with the constitution and the law, the party’s will and positions must be turned into constitutional and lawful provisions by rightful procedures, and the ways of organizing must be enacted in compliance with the constitution and the law – only that can be called a country governed in accordance with the law (依法治国, yī fǎ zhì guó).

That, however, seems to reflect Wen Jiabao’s personal opinion, rather than that of the CCP in general – and even when it comes to Wen’s own position, D. S. Rajan, the Chennai Centre for China Studies‘ director, voiced skepticism. The CCP may prefer to avoid obvious breach of law these days, but has developed a liking for using administrative means instead in processing its shitlists. Additional tax demands have apparently become a hot option for the Chinese authorities to have disliked organizations close down.

It's just a Tax Issue

No, no - it's nothing political. It's just a Tax Issue.

The Open Constitution Initiative faced closure in July 2009, after a demand of tax-related payments which apparently broke the organization’s neck. Generally, administrative procedures seem to be more frequently used in recent years,  in lieu of outright crackdowns.

An AIDS support group in Beijing, managed by Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), seems to be another organization in the row of organizations in China targeted by – apparently both local and national – Chinese authorities. In a blogpost on November 11, Ms Zeng wrote on her blog that the organization, Beijing Love Source Information Centre, was

under investigation from both national and local tax bureaus. […] In order to keep damages to the minimum, I, as the legal representative of Beijing Loving Source, hereby announce the formal closure of the Centre.  [Translation by C. A. Yeung, UnderTheJacaranda – more details and a link to Ms Zeng’s blogpost there.]

Ms Zeng is married to Hu Jia, who co-founded the organization and is currently in prison.

Ms Yeung wrote today that

things don’t look good for Jinyan. She is very worried but doesn’t know what can be done. She’s been threatened with arrest. It’s also been suggested to her that her family will be put under strict house arrest once Hu Jia is released. (similar to what is happening now to the blind activist Chen Guangcheng). Even Hu Jia’s younger sister has been barred from leaving the country. At the moment, I and other friends of hers are still keeping in touch with her on a regular basis but we don’t know how long this can last, as both phone and Internet communications are intermittently cut off.

Ms Yeung will post more information as it comes in.

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