China Overseas Investment Curb Exposes Splits in Government

China Overseas Investment Curb Exposes Splits in GovernmentWang Jianlin displayed considerable composure and self-confidence when facing questions about the recent sale of his theme park and hotel assets to smaller rivals Sunac China Holdings and Guangzhou R&F Properties. But Wang, the founder of China's largest real estate developer Dalian Wanda Group and formerly China's richest man, may actually have something to fear.…

Unending Punishment: Political Repression in Vietnam

Unending Punishment: Political Repression in VietnamOn July 30, 2012, the mother of political prisoner Ta Phong Tan burned herself to death at a government building in despair over her daughter’s imprisonment. This is the fifth anniversary of her death. This is what life is like as a prisoner of conscience in Vietnam: Isolation. Withholding of newspapers and letters from family,…

India’s Modi Takes a Key State

India’s Modi Takes a Key StateNarendra Modi and Amit Shah have won yet another victory in their drive for the pan-India political domination of their Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party with a coup in the desperately poor state of Bihar, where Nitish Kumar, the chief minister and head of a regional party, resigned dramatically on July 27. In a carefully orchestrated series…

With China Intruding, Indian Navy Finally Starts to Act

With China Intruding, Indian Navy Finally Starts to ActUnder fire from defence analysts and the federal auditor for its luckless and ill-equipped navy, long a victim of political and bureaucratic apathy, the Indian government is scrambling to bolster it against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive China which is intruding into the Indian Ocean in force. The two Asian giants have been locked…

The Duterte Mirage

The Duterte MirageHow long will it be before Filipinos wake up to the sheer lack of achievement in President Duterte’s year in office? He still stands high in the polls because of his uncouth, action-man image. From far right to far left criticism is muted despite a performance that which does not bear too close examination nor…

Powerful Indonesian Insider Faces Corruption Charges

Powerful Indonesian Insider Faces Corruption ChargesIndonesia’s House Speaker, Setya Novanto, one of the country’s most powerful politicians and a man who narrowly dodged a bullet over allegations of seeking to suborn a bribe from Freeport McMoran, the US-based mining giant in 2015, may not be so lucky this time. On July 17, the country’s fearsome anti-graft agency Corruption Eradication Commission…

Spurned by Washington, Pakistan Looks East

Spurned by Washington, Pakistan Looks EastNotwithstanding Pakistan’s upbeat claims about defeating terrorism, continuing military operations in both urban and rural Punjab and new operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) show how the menace of terrorism continues to defy solution through a straightforward application of military force. Part of the problem is that the jihadi infrastructure remains intact, and…

Forbes Magazine Dumps an Article on an Influential HK Tycoon

Forbes Magazine Dumps an Article on an Influential HK TycoonThe continuing tightening of the noose around democratic practices in Hong Kong now appears to be playing itself out in the New York-based Asia Society, the prestigious nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between Asians and the United States, and its billionaire Hong Kong chairman. There have long been worries about Chan’s influence.…

Philippines’ Duterte Claims a Crusading Newspaper’s Scalp

Philippines’ Duterte Claims a Crusading Newspaper’s ScalpThe July 7 announcement by Manila’s Prieto family that it would rid itself of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, arguably the country’s most important newspaper, has raised new consternation over the increasingly authoritarian posture of President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared war on the paper for its critical reporting of his bloody, violent drug war. Duterte has…

Canada: Expedite Snowden-Linked Asylum Cases

Canada: Expedite Snowden-Linked Asylum CasesThe Canadian government should fast-track its consideration of the refugee claims of seven people who sheltered US National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden before he left Hong Kong in 2013. The Hong Kong government has sent the adult asylum seekers detention notices, indicating that they could soon be deported to countries where they would face…