Why isn't the best option to try to maintain a partnership with an established Non-Governmental Organisation (not "backed by a government"), while building capacity for smaller NGOs to develop and funding on-the-ground conservation actions where they are most needed?
So is the demand from BLI on CWBF coming directly from HKBWS?
Would this have been possible if CWBF had agreed to sign the document requested by BLI that they would not participate in activities promoting Taiwan independence or use the BLI logo on documents funded by organisations supporting independence?
This is a genuine question, I don't know the answer. From the CWBF statement, it seems that it is their refusal to commit to this document that has precipitated the change, not pressure from anyone in PRC.
It's a political document. Why should a birding conservation association ever have to swear political allegiances? Could you imagine Bird Life Malta being sworn to supporting a govt that supports shooting of passerines?
Despite your comment, there is no suggestion that BLI have been trying to engage a partner in mainland China. As far as I am aware, there is no organisation there that qualifies for BLI partnership.
Isn't that part of the equation? You give up something for nothing in the hopes that something, which will inevitably be government appointed, pans out.
It's a shame that you are so dismissive (or unaware?) of the work that HKBWS and BLI have been doing in China. They have been working with small, regional NGOs to carry out survey work for waterbirds (especially Spoon-billed Sandpiper); to search for, remove and report illegal mist nets, and pressure local officials to take action on illegal trapping; to identify and protect sites for threatened species such as Jankowski's Bunting, Blue-crowned Laughingthrush, Chinese Grassbird and Scaly-sided Merganser, etc. This work has paid off in some areas, for example with a reported reduction in illegal hunting along the Guangdong coast. With no funding and no support, there is a risk that these fledgling regional NGOs will be unable to continue this work. These small NGOs and the work that they have done may not currently be high-profile on the global stage, but that is no reason to assume that they are not important or that they will not achieve more in the future.
Mostly unaware, but I still think there are ways to fund and support fledgling PRC regional conservation NGOs that don't require BLI dismissal of CWBF from BLI or even political oaths. I just wonder if the demand for BLI credit for funding trumps getting essential conservation work done. If so, let me know and let me know if the groups across the border are willing to accept individual donations on major PRC payment apps.
Trying to change attitude and policies of PRC on conservation, as you are calling for, might take a very long time, but it will only be achieved if you are in a position to engage with them directly, not watching from the sidelines.
And that is the fundamental debate in engaging with the PRC. Will backroom deals produce results that couldn't have been produced by major global PR critiques from the outside while acting on info provdided by small mobile groups on the inside? We'll see in 5 years, but I'm not hopeful for the East Asian Flyway.