Hu Jintao Gambles on the West

For Chinese President and Communist Party Chairman Hu Jintao, the run rises in the west. Now in the last 12 months of his first five year term as China’s boss, he is busy elevating loyalists from his own Communist Party factions to top positions, many of them with long service in the outlying western regions…

China’s Growing Deep-Sea Ambitions

After years of concern on the part of the US and its regional allies, is China upping its game to develop a powerful new blue-water navy? On December 27 Chinese leader Hu Jintao told a meeting of delegates to a Communist Party meeting of the People's Liberation Army Navy that "The navy force should be…

Xinjiang Deaths Raise Troubling Questions

In March 2003, three tense Chinese officials called the three of us Americans and a Canadian teaching English at a private boarding school in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. The three were senior administrators at the school, but in our six months working there we had never met them, nor any other administrators for…

Malaysian Murder Gets Stickier for Ruling Party

Questions over the spectacular murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaaribuu came closer to the very top of Malaysian politics Wednesday when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim asked publicly who had ordered two police officers in Malaysia’s elite Special Operations Force to pick her up from the home of political advisor Abdul Razak Baginda. Abdul Razak was…

Rough waters in Thailand

   The awareness that it is one thing to seize power, and quite another thing to govern may finally be dawning on the royalist generals who booted out Thailand’s government in September. The junta that dismantled a functional, if imperfect, democratic system with the promise of putting in place something better has made the country…

Rough waters in Thailand

Thailand's military rulers are starting to realize the pitfalls of destroying a functional democratic system and ruling the country by force.  The junta is now attempting to consolidate power as violent threats permeate Bangkok. Certainly elections, tentatively scheduled for October, look a long way away as contending forces in the capital, none of them readily…

Thailand’s Bombing Mystery Gets Murkier

Although Thailand’s junta leaders have been generally praised by the local press in the wake of the bombings that rocked Bangkok's peaceful ambiance at the start of the year, concerns are growing about their competence in the wake of contradictory statements and a seeming lack of political, economic and law enforcement direction. Contending forces appear…

Confusion in Thailand Over Bomb Attacks

Bangkok residents awoke to a New Year's Day of confusion as officials tried to put a face to the anonymous killers who detonated a series of bombs across the city on New Year’s Eve, leaving three dead and more than 30 injured. Military-appointed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont on Monday claimed that unnamed political opponents were…

2 Killed 24 injured as series of blasts rock Bangkok

With the New Year just hours away, a series of six explosions rocked Bangkok on Sunday, killing at least two persons and injuring 24, according to reports. The explosions came within 90 minutes of each other, the first occurring at the Victory Monument in the center of Thailand’s capital and largest city. Other explosions were…

Criminal Rape or Philippine Nationalism?

Sympathizing with convicted rapists is more controversial than appealing for the release of journalists accused of revealing state secrets but it is hard not to see the reflection of the tortured state of Philippine-American relations in the case of US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith. This 21-year-old was recently sentenced to 40 years in jail…