We have received a lot of positive feedback to the launch of my new blog on international financial institutions and the environment. Encouraging comments have reached us from NGOs in China, Africa and other parts of the world, academics, journalists, government and World Bank officials.

The propaganda apparatus of the Chinese government does not seem to appreciate the new blog. Last week, the International Rivers website was for the first time blocked in China. It is the role of civil society to promote international social and environmental standards, and to hold powerful actors from all around the world accountable to them. International Rivers subscribes to this mission, and so do I. At the same time, I have a lot of respect for China’s social and economic achievements, have always defended the right of China and other poor countries to develop, and am optimistic about the further development of social and environmental standards in China.

We wish the Chinese government were more self-confident in dealing with independent voices, and hope the propagandists in Beijing will reconsider their censorship measure. At the same time, we trust interested readers will find ways to keep up-to-date about International Rivers’ activities and publications.

For a thoughtful comment on freedom of speech in China, read Victor Mallet's latest opinion piece in the Financial Times.