Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash Line

Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash LineOn July 14, Indonesia took a major step forward in confronting China’s South China Sea claims with an announcement that it was renaming a part of the sea in its territory the “North Natuna Sea,” becoming in a single step the most important Southeast Asian nation to stand up to Beijing. That may have come…

Jailed Viet Dissident is Latest in Rising Crackdown

Jailed Viet Dissident is Latest in Rising CrackdownIn the latest sign of the increasing crackdown against dissidents by Vietnam’s government, Nguyen Van Oai, a citizen journalist and human rights defender, was sentenced earlier this week to five years in prison and four additional years of house arrest for “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” and failing to execute judgments”…

Vietnam’s Conservatives Purge Former PM Dung’s Allies

Vietnam’s Conservatives Purge Former PM Dung’s AlliesGoing into the Vietnam Communist Party's 12th Congress in January last year, outsiders could perceive an epic contest between reformers and conservatives. The conservatives labeled the reformers as “opportunists” and often they were right. The reformers laughed when the conservatives argued that ideology (Leninist, not Marxist) would keep Vietnam safe in a turbulent and threatening…

Myanmar’s Rohingya: A Far Wider Tragedy

Myanmar’s Rohingya: A Far Wider TragedyThe crisis of the Rohingya minority of Myanmar is not simply a humanitarian one of huge dimension and one that has revealed the fragility of Aung San Suu Kyi’s status as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It is a multi-layered issue which, unless handled with much greater care than seen to date, will long reverberate…

Indonesia Can’t Get its Tourism Act Together

Indonesia Can’t Get its Tourism Act TogetherMillions of television viewers in multiple countries often see advertisements encouraging them to come to “Wonderful Indonesia.” The nation does indeed have an amazing number of actual or potential tourist attractions – historic sites, natural wonders, beautiful beaches, interesting buildings, wildlife, arts and local customs. It also now has okay hotels, a web of air…

Sovereign Women in a Muslim Kingdom

Sovereign Women in a Muslim KingdomGiven the generally subservient position of women in most Muslim societies, unsurprisingly it is barely known that there have been occasions when women have been rulers in their own right, and effective ones at that. It is a particular surprise for those unfamiliar with the details of Southeast Asian history to find that Aceh, traditionally…

Exiled Rebel Exhorts Filipinos to Rally Against President

Exiled Rebel Exhorts Filipinos to Rally Against PresidentCommunist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison encouraged a gathering of Hong Kong-based Filipino groups on September 10 to “expand our ranks and broaden the widest resistance" against the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. “You must strengthen yourself for more intense struggle,” he said via a video recording. Under the leadership of…

China Fakes Inundate UK, OECD Says

China Fakes Inundate UK, OECD SaysCounterfeit goods, primarily pouring in from China and Hong Kong, are “not only becoming a significant threat to the engine of economic growth, but also undermining good governance, the rule of law and citizens’ trust” in the government of the United Kingdom, according to a new 152-page report issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation…

The World Must Stop Myanmar’s Savagery Against Rohingya

The World Must Stop Myanmar’s Savagery Against RohingyaIf the world has a conscience, it will do something about the unconscionable genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority community in Myanmar, which has abdicated its duty as a nation. The latest scrutiny of the Myanmar government was sparked by the recent flight of more than 123,000 Rohingya who crossed border into Bangladesh. The name…

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The Donald

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The DonaldWhen Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia meets US President Donald Trump at the White House on Sept. 12, as nearly as it can be determined, it will be the first time America’s chief executive has ever met with a foreign leader being pursued by the US Justice Department for corruption. Najib is infamously known…
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