A Corruption Trail Leads to Jiang Zemin

The headquarters of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) is an imposing, unmarked, carefully guarded 10-story building in west Beijing. It holds grim secrets for former Chinese Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin. The CMC edifice is where Vice-Admiral Wang Shouye was sentenced to death last April for accepting 160 million yuan (US$20.1 million) in bribes. In…

Tracking the North Korean Supernote

As Chinese cities go, Dandong, on the border with North Korea in Liaoning province, is strictly small change. A place notable mostly for the Sino-North Korean “Friendship Bridge” which spans the Yalu River and is memorialized as the only Chinese target bombed by U.S. forces during the Korean War. At night the current bridge is…

Sand in Singapore’s Gears

It started with a barge-load of Indonesian sand, or a whole fleet of them, delayed for the last two months on their way to Singapore to be used in reclamation projects. At first Indonesian officials insisted the sand without a country was held up for environmental reasons. Now, it appears the sand is actually political…

Lawyers Defend Singapore Conference Choice

The International Bar Association is defending its decision to hold its annual conference in October in Singapore, which critics say has one of the least independent court systems in the world. In a Feb. 26 letter to Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, the IBA said: “It is not uncommon…

India and Burma: Such Good Friends

Burma may be a pariah in the eyes of most of the world but India appears determined to enhance its strategic relationship with the country to avoid conceding ground to China. New Delhi is planning a spate of development projects, including a gas pipeline from the Burmese coast to India, and is now proposing to…

End of the Line for Taiwan’s Political Star?

It was a scenario devoutly to be hoped for come Taiwan’s March 2008 presidential election ‑  Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou winning comfortably and taking office as a savvy, cosmopolitan leader who ends the threat of war with China and refurbishes Taiwan’s relations with Washington. Presumably, Washington, Beijing and a majority of the Taiwanese electorate then…

No Surprise Here: Singapore’s Lee Family Wins in Court

In a hearing where the Far Eastern Economic Review’s outside lawyers were not allowed to participate, a Singapore high court has refused to throw out defamation lawsuits filed against the magazine by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father, the former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The two members of the Lee family sued…

World Lawyer Gathering in Singapore Attacked by Swedish Lawmaker

In a scorching public letter to President Fernando Pombo of the International Bar Association, Swedish parliamentarian and human rights activist Birgitta Ohlsson has asked that the legal confederation not hold its 2007 annual convention in Singapore this October. The Asia Sentinel reported on Feb. 21 that the IBA is drawing fire from critics who say…

Philippines Release Report on Political Killings

Responding to pressure from the United Nations and domestic critics, the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo relented Thursday and released an official report critical of the role of the Philippine military in a spate of murders of political activists. The release came a day after the UN Special Rapporteur on political killings had criticized…

The World’s Lawyers Come to Singapore

The little publicized decision of the International Bar Association, perhaps the world’s pre-eminent legal confederation, to hold its 2007 annual convention in Singapore is drawing fire from critics who say the island state’s courts are among the least independent in the world. In a Feb. 13 letter protesting the IBA’s decision to take its convention…