Wednesday 26 Feb 2020 | 00:39 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Deng’s pragmatism is China’s poison pill

China’s contemporary economic renaissance, measured across the past 40 years, is largely an orchestration of the expansion of capitalism, and the repression of communist ideology. The economic divergence brought forth by the Global Financial Crisis, between China and the West gave China the

Economic diplomacy: Two big-C issues

Change of pace If Australia’s bushfire crisis has done one thing to inadvertently calm the national zeitgeist during the holiday season, it is in the way climate change has suddenly returned to supplant China as the country’s biggest wicked problem. But in reality, these two big-C issues

What Xi wants in Myanmar may not be what he gets

If there were any doubts around China’s thinking about where to direct its money and influence in Southeast Asia, they were dispelled by the recent announcement that Xi Jinping would visit Myanmar on 17 and 18 January, the first state visit by a Chinese leader to its southern neighbour in 19 years

Taiwan voters reject Beijing, but not populism

Moments after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen secured a second term in a landslide election victory on Saturday, she took six questions from journalists. The first, from a BBC reporter, asked Tsai whether she had Chinese leader Xi Jinping to thank for her victory. The question drew laughter and a

Another dam on the Mekong

Since the announcement in July last year that the Lao government was notifying the Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its intention to proceed with the construction of a dam due to be completed by 2027, not far from the old royal capital of Luang Prabang, there has been a steady increase in the

Beijing’s Hong Kong appointment sends a clear message

Messaging, as anyone knows, is a big part of politics. In Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party headquarters in Beijing, messaging is a form of gospel. A strong storyline, no matter how twisted the truth becomes (e.g., Uighurs and “education camps”), is central to much of what goes on there, and

Jakarta is flooding and its governor is sinking

Jakarta welcomed the new year with a new record — the heaviest rains in decades. The deluge left parts of the Indonesian capital under 5 metres of water, which triggered landslides and cut off whole neighbourhoods. Before the water finally receded this week, at least 60 people were dead and

Asia’s shameful gender discrimination

The annual release of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report is always a moment of great shame for Asia’s leading economies. The relative gaps between Asian women and men on measures of health, education, economy, and politics are enormous, and not improving sufficiently, as

Policing Vietnam: How Australia could help

Visitors to Vietnam’s premier police training institution are greeted by a statue of the country’s first president Hồ Chí Minh with his right hand raised and the index finger gently pointing as if to convey an important lesson to the audience. Vietnam has a reputation for valuing education

North Korea’s ambiguous New Year message

Christmas and New Year came and went without a bang on the Korean peninsula, even though North Korea had warned of a “Christmas gift” for the United States and the horrendous consequences of missing its arbitrarily set “end-of-year” deadline in the months before. Despite its series of

The absurdity shaping Taiwan’s presidential elections

If you were to receive a receipt in Taiwan today, the date would be marked with the year 109. It will be 109 when Taiwan holds its presidential and legislative election in what we might call 2020. That’s because it marks 109 years since the declaration of the Republic of China (ROC), the state

“Maximum pressure” demands diplomatic off-ramps

With Donald Trump facing an impeachment trial in the Senate and a tough re-election battle, some US rivals see the president as politically weakened, risk-averse in exerting military pressure, and incapable of delivering on diplomatic commitments. The American drone strike killing General Qassim

Book review: Betraying Big Brother

Book review: Leta Hong Fincher, Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (Verso, 2018) In China, a country of contradictions, a feminist movement emerged when women connected with each other using technology and social media. Through interviews with young women, and in

What lies ahead for Hong Kong in 2020

On the early morning of the first Sunday of 2020, many people in Hong Kong were woken up by a surreal anomaly. They felt that their beds or apartments were shaking. Some thought that they were only dreaming but as heated discussions began to emerge online, what was unimaginable soon became reality:

Best of The Interpreter 2019: Hong Kong protests

Before Hong Kong became a by-word for months of street protests and fears of an ever-growing crackdown, Vivienne Chow reflected earlier this year on the contrasting traditions that stem from heritage and modernity, the quest for wealth versus happiness. Blocking people’s pathway to fortune is

No news from Kashmir

When the Indian government imposed a communications gag on Kashmir in the middle of night on 4 August this year, no one expected it to be so prolonged. The next day, India removed the region’s autonomy, which Kashmir had secured after its king acceded to Indian union following the partition of

US-China trade deal, phase one done: Now what?

It may go awry between now and the promised finalisation in January, but both the US and China now agree that phase one of the most difficult bilateral economic negotiation in recent decades is over. Unusually for this negotiation, the two sides also seem to agree on what they have agreed – at

Favourites of 2019: Yangyang Cheng

As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs this year. Or in this instance... For me, this year will be remembered as one where the world could no longer ignore the realities of the Chinese party-state. I realised

India and Australia, newfound friends?

Scott Morrison is due to make his first trip to India as Australian Prime Minister next month, with stops expected in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. He has announced that he will give the keynote speech at the Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral annual global conference hosted by the Indian government

Pacifying Australia-China relations

Australia and China cooperating in the Pacific Islands? At first glance it seems absurd. Australia-China relations are hardly warm and glowing right now. Just in the last few weeks, there’s been a focus on alleged espionage courtesy of Wang Liqiang, claims of attempted political

Afghan peace is elusive but not impossible

The need for a negotiated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has increased in urgency after the Washington Post this week published an explosive article outlining the “Afghanistan Papers”, which documents that the US government long has concluded its efforts in Afghanistan were futile and

Aung San Suu Kyi: Why defend the indefensible?

This week, the world was treated to an extraordinary sight. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner once hailed as “the bravest and most moral person in the world ... the immaculate heroine who allows us all to feel a little better about human nature”, sat in the International Court

Strength in numbers in the eastern Indian Ocean

India is the most capable resident power in the Indian Ocean, but its expanding military footprint is uneven and reliant on partnerships with likeminded states. India’s military posture and activities have been largely weighted to the western Indian Ocean. A recently published Asia Maritime

The Gambia v Myanmar: Day 1

Yesterday, Gambia commenced its arguments in the case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, relating to the application of the Genocide Convention and the Rohingya. After filing its application on 11 November, in which The Gambia initiated the case at the ICJ and also asked the

When price hikes pour fuel on the fire

The word “protest” has become part of the common vocabulary in the last few months, with demonstrations in Hong Kong, the Middle East, India, and across Latin America making headlines around the world. The recent protests in Iran, particularly, have brought into focus a longstanding issue:  

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