Beijing Sends Hong Kong an Ominous Message

Beijing Sends Hong Kong an Ominous MessageIt might be possible to feel sympathy for Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor. On Sunday, Beijing’s bludgeoning of the business and professional elite had assured her of an overwhelming victory (67 percent of 1,163 valid votes) in the unequal contest to become Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive, easily defeating former Financial Secretary John Tsang. She promised to…

Beijing Serves Up Yet another Chief Executive for Hong Kong

Beijing Serves Up Yet another Chief Executive for Hong KongThe election charade for Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive has entered its final week with the two candidates destined to be defeated still pretending that this is a real fight.  In practice, the two are simply trying to maintain and enhance their images with the public rather than expecting they can seriously challenge Beijing’s dictate…

Hardline Hindu priest becomes UP chief minister

Hardline Hindu priest becomes UP chief ministerThe Bharatiya Janata Party has unveiled what could turn out to be its vision of the future leadership for a Hindu-nationalist India with the March 9 appointment of a hard-line Hindu priest as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He will be backed up by two deputy chief ministers, one from one of the lower…

Singapore Blogger Bends Under Threat of Huge Fine, Jail Term

Singapore Blogger Bends Under Threat of Huge Fine, Jail TermUPDATE: Han Hui Hui, a 24-year-old Singapore dissident, has buckled under to a threat of a S$600,000 fine and jp to 18 years in prison for "scandalizing" the Singapore courts and removed a series of blogs and a Facebook entry from the Internet and apologized to the court for posting them. Singapore still takes no…

Xenophobia Flourishes in Beijing

Xenophobia Flourishes in BeijingThe recent meeting of China’s National People’s Congress has thrown up a whole number of speeches preaching nationalism and anti-foreign sentiments. These are not policy – yet. But they indicate the direction in which China is continuing to move, regardless of its Trump-era claim to be a guardian of globalisation against trade barriers and economic…

Malaysia Takes a Turn for the Religious Sinister Side

Malaysia Takes a Turn for the Religious Sinister SideTwo very worrying trends in Malaysia may have come together: the rise of religious intolerance and the use of murder as a political weapon. The well-organized kidnap and disappearance of a Chinese Christian pastor, Raymond Koh Keng Joo on Feb. 13 in the middle of Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, was clearly driven…

Hong Kong Rewards the Property Oligarchs

Hong Kong Rewards the Property OligarchsHong Kong is supposed to have an open economy and be governed by rational economic policies. The reality has progressively become very different, not least in the past two years. This has seen swingeing taxes on many real estate transactions in a supposed effort to halt rising housing prices, now about the highest in the…

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel Case

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel CaseThere is rising concern in Manila that President Rodrigo Duterte is about to wreck the prosecution of one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Philippines, a country replete with huge scandals. On Feb. 15, the country’s solicitor general, Jose Calida, in effect nullified a guilty verdict by a local court in a…

Two Cases Spell Out Demise of Law in Hong Kong

Two Cases Spell Out Demise of Law in Hong KongThe rule of law in Hong Kong, and the notion of its being an international city, appear in danger of fraying at the seams over two well-publicized legal cases. On Feb. 17, a judge convicted seven policemen, including a Chief Inspector and a Senior Inspector, of the vicious kicking and beating of a protestor during…

Malay Scholars Find Fault in Malay Leaders

Malay Scholars Find Fault in Malay LeadersThe United Malays National Organization (UMNO) presents itself as the guardian of Malay interests, culture and language. So what do the 1MDB and other scandals say about the fundamental problems of this long-dominant ruling party, the institutional arm of the Malay elite?  The disappearance of vast sums from the accounts of the state-backed 1MDB investment…
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