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Chinese NGOs meet with African NGOs on holding Chinese companies accountable

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Author: NGOs in China

[此中文翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

2019年11月21日

上周,我荣幸地加入了一群中国非政府组织,参加在科特迪瓦(Cote d’Ivoire)首都阿比让(Abidjan)的非洲企业责任联盟。今年大会的主题是“中国在非洲投资的影响,机会和责任制”。

中国非政府组织代表团由位于华盛顿特区的中国问责制项目(China Accountability Project)的创始人张晶晶组织。中国问责制项目是一个由经验丰富的中国公益律师和环境专业人士运营的非营利组织,致力于让中国公司对环境影响和侵犯权利负责。它一直在弥合中国公民社会组织与非洲和拉丁美洲同行之间的知识鸿沟。

这次聚会是非洲企业责任联盟首次让中国非政府组织与非洲非政府组织会面。到目前为止,我要说的是,这是独立的中国非政府组织,而不是官方的中国非政府组织或官办非政府组织,第一次有机会与非洲NGOs讨论和制定有关管理中国投资负面影响的最佳民间社会做法。

作为具有在中国从事劳动和环境保护工作经验的非政府组织,我们想分享我们在这些问题上作为在中国的非政府组织工作的经验,并提供有关公民社会状况以及中国环境和劳工运动的更真实的图画。我们还想就非洲非政府组织,工会和社区如何应对中国对非洲投资的负面社会和环境影响提供一些建议。我们希望通过这次经历,能够使非洲人摆脱对华人的陈规定型观念,并为中国人的面孔增添更多人性。

第一天,坐在会议厅里,我们受到当地一支铜管乐队和鼓乐队的欢迎,这使人想起了新奥尔良的蓝调乐队,随后是一群脸上涂满颜料的妇女表演传统的歌舞。我们受到了非洲企业责任联盟组织者的欢迎,并听取了一位尼日利亚学者在非洲问题上所做的关于非洲中国问题的主题演讲。

我作了一个关于中国劳工运动的演讲,谈到了我在中国劳工通讯上的经验,在那次活动中,我们与中国劳工活跃人士一起组织了涉及劳资纠纷的工人,并对他们进行了集体谈判策略和技术的培训。我还谈到了我的赞比亚之行,考察了中国制造业和采矿业工作场所的劳资关系,以及赞比亚的一些中国公司多年来如何学会承认独立工会(中国没有这种工会)并从事集体谈判。与他们一起改善工资和工作条件。

我的其他同事谈到了环保运动,以及他们的经验,要求公司和政府部门通过竞选和诉讼对污染负责。他们展示了中国公司对本国的负面环境影响,以及中国非政府组织如何使这些公司承担责任。有人建议非洲公司也可以这样做,但要花些时间,制定战略计划,也许还要得到中国非政府组织的帮助,以找出如何最好地减轻中国公司在非洲造成的损害。

听众中的非洲人非常好奇,并提出了很多问题。他们的问题常常反映出他们所看到的中国公司对其社区造成的破坏表示愤慨。一名男子问中国只是向非洲输出犯人,这是真的吗?我们的答案:没有任何证据。另一个人问,如果非洲国家简单地拒绝接受中国的投资,将会发生什么事。我们的答案:中国投资者与其他投资者没有什么不同;它们在很大程度上是全球资本主义秩序的一部分。只需看看亚马逊主要是由白人(非华裔)农民,矿工和伐木工人掠夺。各国不会对来利用其资源和劳动力的其他投资者关闭大门,那么您为什么要对中国投资者这样做呢?我们要问的不是如何将这些投资者排除在特定国家之外(尽管可能有充分的理由将某些行业或从事非正式/非法活动的投资者排除在外),而是如何更好地规范和管理由他们的投资带来的风险。

第二天花时间研究公司问责机制,从申诉机制到更大的透明度和信息披露,再到诉讼。会议的重点是通过中国国家和商业贷款资助的大型自然资源开采项目。这些项目是报纸上的头条新闻,它们的庞大规模和涉及的资金数量,以及它们对当地社区和环境的影响,突显了迫切需要采取行动来追究这些公司的责任。

在一次关于劳资冲突的小型单独会议上,中国在非洲的另一个层面受到关注,但从长远来看却可能同样重要:中国公司和企业家进入经济的其他领域的浪潮。正如David Dollar在其2016年布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)报告《中国与非洲的参与:从自然资源到人力资源》(China’s Engagement with Africa: From Natural Resources to Human Resources)中指出的那样,中国在非洲的融资可能集中在国有企业在能源和交通运输领域的大型项目上,但是在非洲的大多数中国人分散在服务,制造业和农业领域的各种私营企业中。没有关于非洲有多少中国人实际生活和工作的好数据。据说许多人去大型项目上班,最终他们逾期居留,自己创业或为其他中国企业工作。Howard French在2014年出版的《中国的第二大洲:一百万移民如何在非洲建立新帝国》(, China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa)一书中经常使用非洲百万华人这个神话般的数字。

在赞比亚,在那里生活的中国人估计有20,000至100,000人。无论人数多少,中国移民不仅在首都卢萨卡(Lusaka),而且在铜带城市恩多拉(Ndola)和基特韦(Kitwe)无处不在。那里有很多华人家庭。在中国的购物中心和商店中,大多数商品都是从中国进口的。有中餐馆和赌场,中医诊所等等。

美元暗示,随着中国对自然资源的需求随着时间的推移逐渐减少,中国在这些行业的增长将变得更加重要。他的报告标题”从自然资源到人力资源”都指出了这种转变。这种规模较小的私营部门活动没有得到与采掘资源部门大型融资交易同样的关注。最重要的是,它对非洲大陆的累积影响正在迅速增长,越来越受到当地居民的重视。

这种影响是我们关于劳资冲突的小型会议的主题,劳资冲突很快转移到其他问题上,例如中国公司在制造业和服务业中竞争和挤出非洲公司,中国公司与非洲供应商之间缺乏联系,中国工人从事可能给予非洲人的工作,非洲人缺乏技能转移和培训。

为期两天的时间讨论中国在非洲的投资这个重大的主题显然不够,但这是一个好的开始。控股公司的生态系统有很多部分要负责。重点是矿山和水坝等大型自然资源开采项目,以及致力于透明度和信息披露的非政府组织,以及运动和诉讼等机制。组织社区,工会和商业协会,以解决中国投资的社会和经济影响,并提供申诉,监督和问责机制,不仅要追究中国公司的责任,还要追究政府的责任,这些非洲国家应对造成中国和其他外国投资的负面影响负责… … 这些讨论很容易又会花上两天时间。正如Charles Kojo Vandyck所指,非洲的民间组织也可以“通过多部门召集和论坛来触发关于《联合国指导原则》的对话”,并可以在“非洲联盟(African Union),西非国家经济共同体(Economic Community of West African State),南部非洲发展共同体(Southern Africa Development Community),中部非洲经济和货币共同体(Central African Economic and Monetary Community)和东非共同体(East African Community)。”

为期两天的会议提出的观点是,非洲的局势与中国的局势并没有那么大的不同。在这两个地方,都在起草包含国际标准的法律,法规和准则。该法律框架为公民社会建立了各种切入点,以要求国家和公司承担责任。当我总结了三个来之不易的经验教训时,我要在演讲中回到这一点:

其中之一是,中国和非洲在制定法律方面具有丰富的经验,这些法律在不同程度上都融入了国际标准,但是这些法律可能存在缺陷,或者根本无法实施或执行。这就是民间社会的来历。

第二,除非非政府组织,工人和社区共同呼吁改善法律,并要求政府,银行,国际金融机构和公司对遵守这些法律负责,否则这些法律将不会有用。

第三,如果我们要为公司、工人和社区实现真正的双赢解决方案,那么民间社会不仅需要进行点名指责,还需要进行组织工人和社区、与公司、政府和其他利益相关者进行互动、施压和谈判的工作,并实现Vandyck所称的可持续业务的遥远承诺,他将其定义为:

“…在整个价值链中尊重人权的企业。这种类型的业务不仅会利用其利润的一部分通过公司的社会责任来促进社会事业,而且还会在其运营以及使用其产品或服务的社区中维护人权。”

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Author: NGOs in China

[此中文翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

2019年11月21日

上週,我榮幸地加入了一群中國非政府組織,參加在科特迪瓦(Cote d’Ivoire)首都阿比讓(Abidjan)的非洲企業責任聯盟。今年大會的主題是“中國在非洲投資的影響,機會和責任制”。

中國非政府組織代表團由位於華盛頓特區的中國問責制項目(China Accountability Project)的創始人張晶晶組織。中國問責制項目是一個由經驗豐富的中國公益律師和環境專業人士運營的非營利組織,致力於讓中國公司對環境影響和侵犯權利負責。它一直在彌合中國公民社會組織與非洲和拉丁美洲同行之間的知識鴻溝。

這次聚會是非洲企業責任聯盟首次讓中國非政府組織與非洲非政府組織會面。到目前為止,我要說的是,這是獨立的中國非政府組織,而不是官方的中國非政府組織或官辦非政府組織,第一次有機會與非洲NGOs討論和製定有關管理中國投資負面影響的最佳民間社會做法。

作為具有在中國從事勞動和環境保護工作經驗的非政府組織,我們想分享我們在這些問題上作為在中國的非政府組織工作的經驗,並提供有關公民社會狀況以及中國環境和勞工運動的更真實的圖畫。我們還想就非洲非政府組織,工會和社區如何應對中國對非洲投資的負面社會和環境影響提供一些建議。我們希望通過這次經歷,能夠使非洲人擺脫對華人的陳規定型觀念,並為中國人的面孔增添更多人性。

第一天,坐在會議廳裡,我們受到當地一支銅管樂隊和鼓樂隊的歡迎,這使人想起了新奧爾良的藍調樂隊,隨後是一群臉上塗滿顏料的婦女錶演傳統的歌舞。我們受到了非洲企業責任聯盟組織者的歡迎,並聽取了一位尼日利亞學者在非洲問題上所做的關於非洲中國問題的主題演講。
我作了一個關於中國勞工運動的演講,談到了我在中國勞工通訊上的經驗,在那次活動中,我們與中國勞工活躍人士一起組織了涉及勞資糾紛的工人,並對他們進行了集體談判策略和技術的培訓。我還談到了我的讚比亞之行,考察了中國製造業和採礦業工作場所的勞資關係,以及贊比亞的一些中國公司多年來如何學會承認獨立工會(中國沒有這種工會)並從事集體談判。與他們一起改善工資和工作條件。

我的其他同事談到了環保運動,以及他們的經驗,要求公司和政府部門通過競选和訴訟對污染負責。他們展示了中國公司對本國的負面環境影響,以及中國非政府組織如何使這些公司承擔責任。有人建議非洲公司也可以這樣做,但要花些時間,制定戰略計劃,也許還要得到中國非政府組織的幫助,以找出如何最好地減輕中國公司在非洲造成的損害。

聽眾中的非洲人非常好奇,並提出了很多問題。他們的問題常常反映出他們所看到的中國公司對其社區造成的破壞表示憤慨。一名男子問中國祇是向非洲輸出犯人,這是真的嗎?我們的答案:沒有任何證據。另一個人問,如果非洲國家簡單地拒絕接受中國的投資,將會發生什麼事。我們的答案:中國投資者與其他投資者沒有什麼不同;它們在很大程度上是全球資本主義秩序的一部分。只需看看亞馬遜主要是由白人(非華裔)農民,礦工和伐木工人掠奪。各國不會對來利用其資源和勞動力的其他投資者關閉大門,那麼您為什麼要對中國投資者這樣做呢?我們要問的不是如何將這些投資者排除在特定國家之外(儘管可能有充分的理由將某些行業或從事非正式/非法活動的投資者排除在外),而是如何更好地規範和管理由他們的投資帶來的風險。

第二天花時間研究公司問責機制,從申訴機製到更大的透明度和信息披露,再到訴訟。會議的重點是通過中國國家和商業貸款資助的大型自然資源開採項目。這些項目是報紙上的頭條新聞,它們的龐大規模和涉及的資金數量,以及它們對當地社區和環境的影響,突顯了迫切需要採取行動來追究這些公司的責任。
在一次關於勞資衝突的小型單獨會議上,中國在非洲的另一個層面受到關注,但從長遠來看卻可能同樣重要:中國公司和企業家進入經濟的其他領域的浪潮。正如David Dollar在其2016年布魯金斯學會(Brookings Institution)報告《中國與非洲的參與:從自然資源到人力資源》(China's Engagement with Africa: From Natural Resources to Human Resources)中指出的那樣,中國在非洲的融資可能集中在國有企業在能源和交通運輸領域的大型項目上,但是在非洲的大多數中國人分散在服務,製造業和農業領域的各種私營企業中。沒有關於非洲有多少中國人實際生活和工作的好數據。據說許多人去大型項目上班,最終他們逾期居留,自己創業或為其他中國企業工作。 Howard French在2014年出版的《中國的第二大洲:一百萬移民如何在非洲建立新帝國》(, China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa)一書中經常使用非洲百萬華人這個神話般的數字。

在贊比亞,在那裡生活的中國人估計有20,000至100,000人。無論人數多少,中國移民不僅在首都盧薩卡(Lusaka),而且在銅帶城市恩多拉(Ndola)和基特韋(Kitwe)無處不在。那裡有很多華人家庭。在中國的購物中心和商店中,大多數商品都是從中國進口的。有中餐館和賭場,中醫診所等等。

美元暗示,隨著中國對自然資源的需求隨著時間的推移逐漸減少,中國在這些行業的增長將變得更加重要。他的報告標題”從自然資源到人力資源”都指出了這種轉變。這種規模較小的私營部門活動沒有得到與採掘資源部門大型融資交易同樣的關注。最重要的是,它對非洲大陸的累積影響正在迅速增長,越來越受到當地居民的重視。

這種影響是我們關於勞資衝突的小型會議的主題,勞資衝突很快轉移到其他問題上,例如中國公司在製造業和服務業中競爭和擠出非洲公司,中國公司與非洲供應商之間缺乏聯繫,中國工人從事可能給予非洲人的工作,非洲人缺乏技能轉移和培訓。

為期兩天的時間討論中國在非洲的投資這個重大的主題顯然不夠,但這是一個好的開始。控股公司的生態系統有很多部分要負責。重點是礦山和水壩等大型自然資源開採項目,以及致力於透明度和信息披露的非政府組織,以及運動和訴訟等機制。組織社區,工會和商業協會,以解決中國投資的社會和經濟影響,並提供申訴,監督和問責機制,不僅要追究中國公司的責任,還要追究政府的責任,這些非洲國家應對造成中國和其他外國投資的負面影響負責… … 這些討論很容易又會花上兩天時間。正如Charles Kojo Vandyck所指,非洲的民間組織也可以“通過多部門召集和論壇來觸發關於《聯合國指導原則》的對話”,並可以在“非洲聯盟(African Union),西非國家經濟共同體(Economic Community of West African State),南部非洲發展共同體(Southern Africa Development Community),中部非洲經濟和貨幣共同體(Central African Economic and Monetary Community)和東非共同體(East African Community)。”

為期兩天的會議提出的觀點是,非洲的局勢與中國的局勢並沒有那麼大的不同。在這兩個地方,都在起草包含國際標準的法律,法規和準則。該法律框架為公民社會建立了各種切入點,以要求國家和公司承擔責任。當我總結了三個來之不易的經驗教訓時,我要在演講中回到這一點:

其中之一是,中國和非洲在製定法律方面具有豐富的經驗,這些法律在不同程度上都融入了國際標準,但是這些法律可能存在缺陷,或者根本無法實施或執行。這就是民間社會的來歷。

第二,除非非政府組織,工人和社區共同呼籲改善法律,並要求政府,銀行,國際金融機構和公司對遵守這些法律負責,否則這些法律將不會有用。

第三,如果我們要為公司、工人和社區實現真正的雙贏解決方案,那麼民間社會不僅需要進行點名指責,還需要進行組織工人和社區、與公司、政府和其他利益相關者進行互動、施壓和談判的工作,並實現Vandyck所稱的可持續業務的遙遠承諾,他將其定義為:

“…在整個價值鏈中尊重人權的企業。這種類型的業務不僅會利用其利潤的一部分通過公司的社會責任來促進社會事業,而且還會在其運營以及使用其產品或服務的社區中維護人權。”

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Article
3 December 2019

Chinese NGOs meet with African NGOs on holding Chinese companies accountable

Author: NGOs in China

21 November 2019

Last week I had the privilege of joining a group of Chinese NGOs to attend the African Coalition of Corporate Accountability’s General Assembly in Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire. The theme of this year’s General Assembly was “Impacts, Opportunities and Accountability in the Context of Chinese Investment in Africa.” 
 
The Chinese NGO delegation was organized by Jingjing Zhang, founder of the China Accountability Project (CAP) based in Washington, D.C.  CAP is a nonprofit organization run by experienced Chinese public interest lawyers and environmental professionals and dedicated to holding Chinese companies accountable for their environmental impacts and rights violations. It has been bridging the knowledge gap between Chinese CSOs and their counterparts in Africa and Latin America.
This gathering was the first time ACCA had Chinese NGOs meeting up with African NGOs. I would go so far to say it was the first time independent Chinese NGOs, as opposed to official Chinese NGOs or GONGOs, had an opportunity to discuss and strategize with African NGOs about best civil society practices for managing negative impacts of Chinese investment.
 
As NGOs with experience working on labor and environmental protection in China, we wanted to share our experiences about working as NGOs in China on these issues and provide a more realistic picture of the state of civil society and the environmental and labor movements in China. We also wanted to provide some recommendations on how African NGOs, trade unions and communities could respond to the negative social and environmental impacts of Chinese investment in Africa. We hoped through this experience, we could move Africans away from stereotypes about Chinese and add more humanity to a Chinese face.
 
The first day, sitting in the meeting hall, we were welcomed by a local band of brass and drums that recalled a New Orleans blues band, followed by a group of women with painted faces doing a traditional song and dance. We were welcomed by ACCA organizers and heard a keynote address about China in Africa from a Nigerian academic doing graduate work on China in Africa. 
 
I gave a presentation about the labor movement in China, speaking about my experience at China Labour Bulletin where we worked with Chinese labor activists to organize workers involved in labor disputes and trained them on collective bargaining strategies and techniques. I also spoke about my trip to Zambia looking at labor relations in Chinese workplaces in the manufacturing and mining sector, and how some Chinese companies in Zambia had learned over the years to recognize independent unions – something China does not have - and engage in collective bargaining with them to improve wages and working conditions.
 
My other colleagues spoke about the environmental movement, and their experience holding companies and government departments accountable for pollution through campaigning and lawsuits. They showed the negative environmental impact that Chinese companies on their home country, but also how Chinese NGOs had been able to hold these companies accountable. The suggestion was that African companies could do the same but it would take time, strategizing and perhaps assistance from Chinese NGOs to figure out how best to mitigate the damages wrought by Chinese companies in Africa.

 

The Africans in the audience were a very curious crowd and asked a lot of questions. Their questions often reflected a pent-up anger against what they saw as the damage visited upon their communities by Chinese companies. One man asked whether it was true that China was only sending criminals to Africa. Our answer: there’s no evidence of this. Another asked what would happen if African countries simply refused to accept Chinese investment. Our answer: Chinese investors aren’t all that different from other investors; they are largely part and parcel of the global capitalist order. Just look at the pillaging of the Amazon being carried out by mostly white (non-Chinese) farmers, miners and loggers. Countries do not shut their doors to other investors who come to exploit their resources and labor, so why would you do that to Chinese investors? What we should be asking is not how to keep these investors from a particular country out (although there may be a good reason to exclude investors in certain sectors or those involved in informal/illegal activities), but how to better regulate and manage the risks that come with their investment.
 
The next day was spent looking at corporate accountability mechanisms ranging from grievance mechanisms, to greater transparency and disclosure of information, to lawsuits. The sessions focused on large-scale natural resource extraction projects financed through Chinese state and commercial loans. These are the projects getting the headlines in the paper, and their sheer size and amount of money involved, as well as their impact on local communities and the environment, highlights the pressing need to do something to hold these companies accountable.
 
In a small separate session on labor conflicts, another dimension of China in Africa came up that gets less attention but may be no less important over the longer run: the wave of Chinese companies and entrepreneurs moving into other sectors of the economy. As David Dollar points out in his 2016 Brookings Institution report, China’s Engagement with Africa: From Natural Resources to Human Resources, Chinese financing in Africa may be concentrated on the large-scale projects in the energy and transportation sectors carried out by state-owned firms, but the majority of Chinese people in Africa are dispersed across a wide range of private firms in services, manufacturing and agriculture. There is no good data on how many Chinese actually live and work in Africa. Many are said to go to work in large projects and end up overstaying their visas and going into business for themselves or working for other Chinese businesses. The mythical number of one million Chinese in Africa is often used as in Howard French’s 2014 book, China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa.
 
In Zambia, the estimates of Chinese living there ranged anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000. Whatever the numbers, the presence of Chinese migrants not only in the capital of Lusaka but also in the Copperbelt cities of Ndola and Kitwe were ubiquitous. There are many Chinese raising families there. There are Chinese malls and stores carrying mostly merchandise imported from China. There are Chinese restaurants and casinos. There are Chinese medical clinics, and so on. 
 
Dollar suggests that the growth of Chinese in these sectors will become more important, as demand in China for natural resources tapers off over time. This shift is suggested in the title of his report, From Natural Resources to Human Resources. This smaller-scale private sector activity has not received the same amount of attention as the large financing deals in the extractive resource sector. Most importantly, its cumulative impact on the continent is growing quickly and increasingly being critically received by local populations.
 
This impact was the subject of our small session on labor conflicts which quickly moved to other concerns such as Chinese firms competing and crowding out African firms in manufacturing and services, lack of linkages between Chinese firms and African suppliers, Chinese workers taking jobs that could be given to Africans, and the lack of skills transfer and training for Africans.
 
Two days to discuss a topic as enormous as Chinese investment in Africa was clearly insufficient but it was a good start. There are many parts to the ecosystem of holding companies accountable. The focus was on large-scale, natural resource extraction projects such as mines and dams, and on the NGOs that work on transparency and information disclosure, and on mechanisms such as campaigns and lawsuits. There could easily have been another two days devoted to organizing communities, trade unions and business associations to address the social and economic impact of Chinese investment, and providing grievance, monitoring and accountability mechanisms not only to hold Chinese companies accountable but also to hold governments in those African countries accountable for enabling the negative impacts of Chinese and other foreign investment. As Charles Kojo Vandyck points out, CSOs in Africa can also “trigger conversations about the UN Guiding Principles through multisectoral convenings and forums” and in regional institutions such as “the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and the East African Community (EAC).”
 
One point that was made through the two-day meeting was that the situation in Africa is not all that dissimilar to the situation in China. In both places, laws, regulations and guidelines are being drafted that incorporate international standards. This legal framework creates various entry points for civil society to hold the state and companies accountable. This is a point I came back to in my presentation when I concluded with three hard-earned lessons we should keep in mind:
 
One was that China and Africa have experience with creating laws that incorporate international standards to varying degrees, but these laws can have shortcomings or are simply not implemented or enforced. Here is where civil society comes in.
 
Second, these laws are not going to be much use unless NGOs, workers and communities work together to call for improvements in the laws, and hold governments, banks, international financial institutions and companies accountable for complying with those laws.
 
Third, civil society needs to go beyond just naming and shaming to do the hard work of organizing workers and communities, and engaging, pressuring and negotiating with companies, governments and other stakeholders if we are to achieve true win-win solutions for companies, workers and communities, and realize the still-distant promise of what Vandyck calls sustainable businesses which he defines as:
 
“….enterprises that generate respect for human rights across their value chains. This type of business does not only use a percentage of its profits to promote a social cause through corporate social responsibility, but it also safeguards human rights within its operations and the communities where its products or services are used.”

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