Li Fusheng, Deputy General Manager of the Department of Assessments and Approvals (评估审查部), who is also a professor at the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, published an article in the widely read Chinese-language edition of Global Times, often distinguished by its nationalist tone. This article draws conclusions from Li’s “inspection trip” to Laos and Cambodia, organised by a Western NGO.
Li writes that Chinese companies tend to respond to local criticisms (which he describes as “not the mainstreamvoices”) by saying that their practices are not the best, but also not the worst. This, he writes, is true, but not a convincing communication strategy. Li stresses the importance of conducting proper environmental impact assessments, but devotes most of his space to urging companies to communicate better and respond to critical voices.
This is not a particularly new or unusual opinion in today’s China, but considering that other commentators continue to view NGOs as nothing but a disturbance, it attests to the usefulness of the approach taken by those Western NGOs who are focusing on bringing Chinese scholars and officials into contact with overseas critics.