In International Rivers published a scorecard report on Chinese overseas hydropower companies. Huaneng Lancang , a subsidiary of energy monolith China Huaneng Group, used the moment to reach out to International Rivers, dropping an earlier unwillingness to interact with the organization over the Lower Sesan 2 dam in Cambodia. In and , International Rivers participated in a series of meetings with the Huaneng Lancang.
Several executives, including the company Chairman, travelled from Kunming to Beijing on short notice in order to attempt to rectify the poor review of their company and project. Huaneng Lancang were keen to use their unprecedented engagement with International Rivers to urge us to modify the report ranking, which would cast the company and the Lower Sesan 2 project in a better light.
We did not revise the report, however, and the company has since declined to meet with International Rivers. From Huaneng Lancang deprioritized communication and delegated junior employees with responding to us. While International Rivers were keen to use the opportunity to engage the company on issues such as benefit sharing, comprehensive impact assessments and community engagement, Huaneng Lancang appeared to be seeking a quick fix, namely, changing their ranking in the scorecard report. There are two main contract types for hydropower projects.
In Build Operate and Transfer BOT arrangements, companies assume the liability for environmental and social aspects of the project; they finance, design and build in exchange for operating rights, typically years. In my interactions and meetings, Chinese companies with EPC contracts tended to deflect the responsibilities for environmental and social impact assessments and compliance with local and international laws to clients — usually the host country government. Under an EPC contract, the company designs, builds and delivers the asset in an operational state.
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The client not the company is responsible for the financing, preliminary studies including environmental, social and cumulative impact assessments and legal requirements. Companies building EPC projects therefore have convenient excuses for why they do not ensure that proper due diligence is conducted. When companies with EPC contracts do implement environmental protection measures or provide compensation to resettled communities, no matter how insufficient these are, they claim to be going beyond their contract obligations.
Hiding behind contract types can mean that companies do not strive to develop better policies, mechanisms and practice, related to due diligence, environmental impact mitigation and monitoring or benefit-sharing with local populations. This creates reputational risks for companies. For example, the complaints about improper contracts, low pay and poor treatment from workers of subcontracted companies at the MW Isimba Hydropower Project in Uganda, expected to come online in this year, has had a reputational impact on the contractor China International Water and Electric and the parent company, China Three Gorges.
Chinese entities involved in developing hydropower projects overseas prioritize amicable government-to-government relations, and typically fail to actively demonstrate their social and environmental responsibility and commitments or understanding of benefit sharing. When companies have outlined their plans for benefit-sharing, these generally include providing one off payments of cash compensation for displaced communities, infrastructural development such as leveling land, building or improving roads and bridges, building schools or local community centers, adding fish to reservoirs or gifting company vehicles after the construction team leaves.
Benefit sharing at this level, focusing on short rather than long term outcomes, falls short on a number of fronts. International practice includes people who have been displaced as well as those who are impacted upstream, downstream or in the areas surrounding the reservoir. For most Chinese companies, however, only displaced people are eligible to receive benefits which have been defined by the company.
For example, the Lower Sesan 2 compensation plan lists only six villages, while independent studies have shown that the dam impacted at least villages. Secondly, initiatives like building or improving roads improves access to the work site often benefiting the company more than local communities. Consulting with local communities in the process of infrastructure development could help ensure the public is better able to benefit from the new infrastructure.
Adding non-native fish to reservoirs, which companies frequently do, including at the Lower Sesan 2 reservoir, is likely to diminish the balance of ecosystems and exerts even more pressure on native riverine species. Companies need to consider longer term monetary and non-monetary benefits like providing free access or preferential electricity rates, payments for environmental or ecosystem services, establishing long term community development funds, creating long-term employment, and ensuring custodianship over wildlife and other natural resources World Bank.
There are opportunities for Chinese companies, banks and the government to show that they are responsive to discussing projects with civil society organizations. One of these opportunities has been in the headlines in recent weeks. In recent months the Indonesian Forum for the Environment WALHI has filed a lawsuit challenging flawed environmental permits and has attempted to communicate with the Bank of China and Sinohydro for almost a year, but have been unable to open the door to meaningful discussions.
Despite months of unresponsiveness, the Bank of China publicly acknowledged reception of the letters within one business day. Projects as destructive as Batang Toru are currently under consideration by PowerChina Sinohydro and other Chinese hydropower companies. Similarly, the Koukoutamba Dam in Guinea, if constructed, would seriously impact Critically Endangered chimpanzees, flooding a protected national park area and resulting in the deaths of up to 1, specimens.
The foremost experts on dams have warned against a lack of consideration or monitoring for the long-term social and environmental impacts of dams. It is essential for companies to take into account the cumulative impacts of their projects as rivers perform tangible and intangible services on which we all ultimately depend. Yet, Chinese hydropower companies generally lack appropriate tracking and monitoring mechanisms to evaluate the cumulative impacts of multiple projects in their areas of activity. They tend to look exclusively at the project site, ignoring the broader repercussions on the environment and people.
If Chinese hydropower companies open to deeper engagement, their powerful interests will likely be challenged and they may have to change the way they conduct business. In particular, they may need to evaluate whether proposed large infrastructure projects are a means to decrease poverty and promote environmental conservation.
They may also have to more closely determine whether governments in Belt and Road regions have sufficient capacity to evaluate, monitor and oversee such projects. Chinese hydropower companies would be able to adapt — they usually have broad energy portfolios and have elsewhere proven their ability to build clean energy projects like solar and wind. China has the potential to be a global and responsible leader in developing clean energy, but it must not shy away from constructive engagement with civil society and communities.
Stephanie Jensen-Cormier is an independent consultant based in Costa Rica where she works on themes that interconnect environmental and social justice. On Jan 7, a note appeared on an obscure website for exhibition-related information saying that the National Conference Center in Beijing would clear its schedule for the entire April. While the Summit will certainly be presented as a huge success domestically, the world would probably judge it with a difference set of standards.
The information that is available so far can provide some guidance as to what to expect from the Summit. At the time when the 1 st Summit was held, 39 countries or international organizations were on board. A portion, if not all, of the new sign-ups will certainly translate into head-of-state participation in the Summit. But quantity is one thing, some guests are more equal than others. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, for example, has accepted the invitation despite his rollback of China invested pipeline projects.
His presence at the Summit will help assuage some of the concerns that Malaysia is backing out of the BRI. But a polarized us-versus-them atmosphere around on the initiative would make such a breakthrough extremely challenging. Beyond the political symbolism, what the Belt and Road Summit can actually achieve is another question that observers will be asking. For example, Will Mahathir use the occasion to determine the fate of the controversial East Coast Rail Link project that has been hanging in balance ever since his election? China has its own criteria to gauge success.
NDRC has apparently been tracking the completion of those action points. By Jan 22, , And the 76 items help translate those grand ideas into concrete, measurable steps:. Some recipient countries have also been pushing to redefine BRI on their own terms. Indonesia, for one, recently laid out four conditions for its BRI projects, which include use of environmentally friendly technology, maximize hiring of local labor, technology transfer and added value for local industry. It is a sign that countries are maturing in their approach to BRI by voicing their own demands and conditions, which may find their way into the BRI agenda reshaped by bilateral and multilateral interactions.
At the first Summit, 6 parallel sessions corresponding to the 5 Pillars plus one on think tank collaboration were organized. This year, besides the main forum and the Leaders Roundtable which Xi will preside over, 12 sub-forums plus one entrepreneurs convention will also be offered. Information from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment seems to suggest that an ecological sub-forum is definitely being planned. Other topics of sub-forum might emerge in the coming weeks. The general trend appears to be for the Summit to go more granular on issue topic discussions.
The general elevation of green issues in official rhetoric, MOUs and forum agenda begs the question if any concrete outcomes on the green governance of the BRI will come out of the 2 nd Summit. The Belt and Road Summit will be an ideal occasion to do that. The Coalition has been at the center of a controversy involving the United Nations Environment Program in particular its former head Erik Solheim who was forced to resign for violating UN codes of conduct , the United States and China.
The UN agency was questioned for its appeared coziness with the strategic initiative of a single member state. Whether China will successfully rollout the Coalition despite the setback is worth watching at the coming Summit. It is unclear at this moment whether specific environmental issues will be given a spot in the agenda. Any institutional development under the BRI on climate change beyond a rhetoric nod will be significant progress toward harmonizing the initiative with the Paris Climate Accord.
We have seen some concrete developments on the issue of desertification, where Chinese institutions have mobilized finance, technology and civil society support for afforestation projects along the Belt and Road. Unlike their Western counterparts, Chinese media do not have a long history of dispatching reporters globally to cover events from where they are unfolding.
Due to resource constraints and, more crucially, a lack of strong domestic demand for news thousands of kilometers away from home with the exception of a handful of countries such as the United States , media organizations in China invest grudgingly into overseas operations. The situation differs between state-owned outlets such as Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network , which in recent years have increased their global presence, and more independent outlets such as Caixin.
For the former group, the need to establish Chinese image overseas, more than the improvement of Chinese understanding of foreign affairs, has been the driving force of its global expansion. For the latter group, with all the intention of doing better international reporting, the lack of state support in setting up a stronger footing in foreign countries cripples its international ambition.
Zhang Hong Stella was, in her own words, one of the first-generation foreign correspondents working for a non-state Chinese media organization. While reporting from one country to another, she picked up an emerging theme that later became her research focus as a PhD candidate at George Mason University: the growing presence of China beyond its border and its political and economic implications. Zhang Hong Z : My intention was to write stories with more independence than what we usually saw in Chinese state media. A citizenry without empathy for its peers around the globe would become dangerously self-centered and hubristic.
Compared to Western foreign correspondents, we did not have the kind of institutional history and tradition that guide our operation overseas. Most non-state Chinese media only began to dispatch correspondents to other countries in the second half of the last decade, after a relatively liberalized period built up their coffer and ambition. When we were stationed in a foreign country, most of us did not have an office and had to build our sources and network from scratch.
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Situation of state media colleagues were slightly better, even though they were very much shaped and constrained by the nature of their outlets. For example, state media reporters were sometimes tasked to publish op-eds in local media, a not unimportant part of their job description. Z: I left journalism in , and before that I was mainly based in Europe.
Z: The BRI focuses very much on infrastructure building, with the Chinese state, not just Chinese companies, at the center of it. The level of Chinese overseas involvement and the stake is much higher now than when I was covering the space. Z: I think the first element that is not well understood and covered is the historical aspect.
Major Chinese energy companies started to systematically move into other markets around that time. In preparation for the accession to WTO in , a set of policies were also created to facilitate integration into the global market. On the other hand, Chinese companies, nurtured by strong domestic demand, ventured out for new markets and supplies.
BRI is an extension to that two-decade journey. To some extent, China is almost driven by an urge to compensate for being absent from the global scene for too long. It is still retaking the globalization class. This is not to say that Chinese leaders in the s were particularly prescient. And the lack of transparency on the Chinese side is also to blame.
This formula is obsessed with infrastructure development, as this is where state capital has comparative edge over private capital. Fed by a massive internal market and their monopoly status in key sectors, they have grown into gargantuan corporate conglomerates within a short period of time.
These conglomerates enjoy unique advantages in the current global economic structure. Engaging in such strategic sectors in turn locks in long-term structural opportunities for China in these countries. For example, after building the standard-gauge railway for Kenya, Chinese companies will remain in Kenya for years to train the locals how to operate the system according to Chinese protocols; the next generation of Kenyan engineers will know more about how to build things according to Chinese technical standards than European ones. There is no natural demand supporting a major port built out of a traditional fishing village.
China Merchants Group, the state-owned Chinese conglomerate that will be running the Hambantota Port, could rearrange some of its global shipping routes to go through Hambantota, creating business for an industrial zone that is to be built adjacent to the port. Is exporting the China development model the ultimate goal? As stated by the Chinese leadership, it is to build China into a real global superpower. Previous socialist regimes, such as the Soviet Union, never managed to plug itself so deeply into the global economy, let alone occupying structurally important positions.
For China, becoming a global superpower in the new era means attaining a strategic, structural advantage in the global economy. And its SOE-driven state capitalism is an instrument to that end. Do you think there is a role that Chinese media, think tanks or others can play to help shape global perceptions of the BRI? Z: There could have been a role for them to play, as theoretically speaking they should have better access to the Chinese actors participating in BRI, providing insights that outsiders often do not have.
But in reality it is hardly the case due to the generally closed culture with regard to the press. It seems Chinese journalists barring those from the state media tasked with propaganda hardly have better access to Chinese companies and government officials than their foreign counterparts.
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This might also have to do with the fact that reporter tends to be an entry-level job in China; veteran reporters either get promoted to editorial roles so they are no longer on the frontline doing reporting or leave the profession after being disillusioned I myself being an example. So you are left with young reporters who are energetic and passionate about doing good reporting, but without the necessary experience.
Plus, Chinese media, when doing stories, still have the tendency of writing to the ears of the decision makers, hoping to have some influence there. So I am not quite sure the Chinese media as a whole is capable of shaping the conversation as part of the global civil society. Do you think Chinese media can play the role of safeguarding against the negative impacts of the Going Out process, as many have hoped? However, I am a little disappointed that, for all the attention BRI is getting across the globe, we can think of very few cases of systematic and methodic reporting of BRI from the Chinese media that can draw wide attention.
I get the sense that non-state media today are becoming more and more like their state media peers in reporting only one kind of BRI story: that of Chinese investment bringing benefits to other parts of the world. I understand the limitations Chinese journalists are facing, but for someone who used to have high hopes for the profession, this is disheartening. PPDC: If media is not there as watchdogs, how should the Going Out process been governed given its massive political, social and environmental impacts?
Z: Scholars have described Chinese players as being more elastic with rules: they can follow higher standards when they enter developed markets but are more than happy to do the bare minimum when local governance is weak. That said, having the regulations is one thing, how they are implemented is another. To fundamentally create a system where Chinese players can be held accountable for their overseas activities, deeper governance reform and cultural change within China would be necessary. What a new genre in Chinese social media tells us about how the Belt and Road Initiative is perceived domestically.
The exchange underscores the weight assigned to urban middle class voices by a political elite keen to monitor a constituency consequential to national progress and stability. But SN is no ordinary disgruntled working man. It has become a genre, fueled by the economic slowdown and heightened trade tensions with the United States.
The escalation of the US-China trade tension in early became an assembly rallying cry for these online voices, who collectively shaped how the Chinese public perceived the clash between the two countries. Different from the brand of juvenile statecraft that resembles an online projection of masculinity, the emerging development bloggers build their profiles to exude maturity and credibility.
Chen Jing, for example, writes extensively on microeconomics, trade, and… football. At the top of the ladder sit countries with the highest per capita GDP, enjoying comfortable privileges, while other lower income countries fight to occupy favorable positions underneath. We should have confidence in ourselves. The racial message is even more explicit in his wildly popular post on how China could break from the East Asian model. A sense of injustice oozes from the text when he observed how, in the past two decades, the 20 or so countries that surpassed Japan in per capita GDP were mainly European.
Most of them lack vast agricultural lands or natural resources that support lucrative businesses such as agrochemicals or energy extraction, sectors dominated by Americans and Europeans. More importantly, he asserted that military shackles placed by the United States on East Asian states, particularly Japan and South Korea, suppressed their technological potential, as military-to-civilian transfer is a major pathway of technological innovation.
China, free from the above constraints, could be the only East Asian nation with the potential to redefine an East Asian developed economy, he declared. China has a population 28 times larger. How could the world absorb another 28 Samsungs? This is also a theme that SN often explores, although his views are colored by a more ideological tinge. Again using back-of-the-envelope calculations, he asserted in one of his posts that 1. Racially speaking, Asians would replace Caucasians as the majority.
Another blogger distilled the phenomenon into a globalization pyramid made up of 3 camps of countries: at the top are technology and capital providers, in the middle are labor providers and at the bottom are natural resource providers. To be clear, unlike the way it is scrutinized and debated in the West and in recipient countries, the BRI is barely an issue on Chinese social media, likely due to its lack of connection with the day-to-day experience of ordinary Chinese netizens. By then, the continent would have produced a group of mega-population countries. It will also help to spray the paws three times a day with an antifungal dog spray containing around 0.
This will also make your shih tzu more comfortable by providing relief from itching. Dry skin on the paws can occur when out walking in cold temperatures or sometimes just from the accumulative effect of walking on hard surfaces. Chemicals used for de-icing roads and sidewalks that come into contact with the paws can further dry them out by dissipating the natural skin oils secreted by the sweat glands, or they may even cause chemical burns. To decrease the probability of dry skin developing, make sure your shih tzu is well hydrated and drinks plenty of water.
Take some water with you on walks. If you have a humidifier in your household this will help too. Before you take your shih tzu out in cold weather apply a good quality paw wax to protect the paws from the elements and de-icing chemicals, or put your shih tzu in some good quality, all weather booties. When you return from any walk your shih tzu could become poisoned if any chemicals are ingested when he licks his paws, so clean the paws first with warm water and then apply some paw balm or paw spray to alleviate the discomfort of dry, cracked and chafed skin.
Make sure the balm or spray gets in between the pads and the toes. Only use products specifically made for dogs as human products will be too strong. Unfortunately, cuts and abrasions can happen from time to time. Deep cuts will need to be dealt with by your vet, just try your best to stop the bleeding until you get to the surgery. Apply pressure to the wound preferably with a sterile dressing. Minor scrapes you can deal with yourself. Wash the wound with warm water and antibacterial soap, then pat dry with a clean towel or cloth.
Apply some antiseptic cream to the wound, I find tea tree cream very good for this, then cover the wound with a sterile dressing. Blistering can occur during the summer months when your shih tzu has been walking on a road, sidewalk or sandy beach that has been baked in the hot sun. In hot weather, always test the temperature of the surface you are going to walk your shih tzu on by touching it with your fingers first. If this is the case, pick him up and carry him to somewhere more shady.
Bear in mind that some surfaces, such as tarmac, will be hotter than others, such as grass. Carefully pat the paws dry and wrap in gauze. If the blistering is severe or weeping, consult your vet as soon as possible. If there are no signs of any physical ailments, your shih tzu may be licking and biting his paws as a way of dealing with boredom or stress. Boredom may set in if your shih tzu is at home alone for long periods of time or if he has human company but no attention. Being home alone for long periods can also lead to stress through separation anxiety.
Other circumstances that can trigger stress for your shih tzu are bereavement, a new household member, beit another human or another pet, or if your household is noisy and chaotic. Take him for two walks of at least twenty minutes duration per day. Play at least one game with him, such as fetch the ball or tug the rope. If you have to go out somewhere take him with you if you can. Treat him to some interactive toys to play with, something with a puzzle to work out such as how to remove his treat from the toy.
A flavored toy he can chew may take his mind off of his paw. If your household is noisy and chaotic, find your shih tzu a quiet little corner out of the way that he can call his own little piece of territory. This corner needs to be somewhere where he is in frequent contact with you and other family members.
As for the stress caused by separation anxiety, I have a whole post just dedicated to dealing with this issue which you can find by clicking here. It will happen from time to time that a foreign body such as a stone or a burr may become lodged between the paw pads. When this happens you will probably notice your shih tzu limping before you notice the licking.
Gently remove the foreign body from the paw and bathe the paw with some antibacterial soap. If the skin is broken, treat as for cuts and abrasions.
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Another problem, and a potentially more serious one, where you may notice limping as the first symptom is the presence of an abscess or a tumor on a paw. These must be treated by your vet as soon as possible. They may be treated by medication alone but more severe cases may need to be surgically removed, particularly in the case of a tumor.
Clip the sharp end of one nail, let go and distract your kitty with a treat. Claws are an important and natural feature of cats, and their first line of defence. MORE: Do cats sweat? Follow Metro. The Fix The daily lifestyle email from Metro. Sign up. Share this article via facebook Share this article via twitter Share this article via messenger Share this with Share this article via email Share this article via flipboard Copy link.