China’s Faustian Bargain: First of two Parts

China’s Faustian Bargain: First of two PartsChina’s 135 percent corporate-debt-to-GDP ratio is the highest among the world’s major economies. Together with the country’s pro-cyclical fiscal structure and 30 percent overcapacity across the board in manufacturing, the country’s GDP could slow to below 4 percent as early as 2017, despite promises by the leadership to maintain a target of 7 percent. That…

Thailand Ramps Up Cyber Surveillance

Thailand Ramps Up Cyber SurveillanceThailand, which already has one of the most draconian computer crimes acts in the world, is putting together a legislative package of eight measures that would restrict even more the use of the Internet on the part of Thai citizens, enable wider surveillance, and raise the penalties against offenders. While the new laws are ostensibly…

India Opts for New Leaders

India Opts for New LeadersThe swearing in over the weekend of social activist and anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of New Delhi marks the latest stage of a dramatic country-wide rejection of the way that India is governed, which has been building up over the past four years. This is not a single tidal wave threatening to…

Climate Change: Does Southeast Asia Care?

Climate Change: Does Southeast Asia Care?At a time when a major United Nations body produced a damning report that climate change is real and that human influence is the cause, in Southeast Asia nobody appears to be paying attention, except for a few NGOs and those whose eyes are smarting from haze. In long and nearly impenetrable bureaucratic language, the…

Japan’s Troubling Denial of Comfort Women

Japan’s Troubling Denial of Comfort WomenFor the past year, Northeast Asia has been in the grip of a worsening spiral of tensions provoked by territorial disputes and nationalist statements by political leaders. Careful diplomacy to defuse the deepening crisis is urgently needed. So the announcement by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on February 28 that the Japanese government intends…

Closing the Pacific’s Tuna Highway

Closing the Pacific’s Tuna HighwayThey are often called the Ferraris of the sea, sleek blue fish that can weigh up to 700 kg and cruise through the oceans at up to 70 km per hour, covering vast distances. They are under increasing threat as fishing techniques grow more sophisticated. Despite a decision to close four pockets of seas to…

Could China Teach Vietnam a New Lesson?

Could China Teach Vietnam a New Lesson?On June 21, the Vietnamese National Assembly adopted the Vietnam Maritime Law, which was promptly criticized by China. The law sets out the legal status of Vietnam’s islands and sea and sovereignty under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which also includes the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands. Claiming sovereignty…

Media Development in Bhutan

Media Development in BhutanGross National Happiness (GNH) is singularly Bhutan’s most successful international export and its defining global brand. It is the enveloping philosophy for balanced development of society and the environment, temporal goals and religion, tradition and modernity, group responsibility and individual freedoms. Almost all policy initiatives are framed by GNH contribution and impact. Social progress owes…

Power in Malaysia Should be Duty, Not a Prize

Power in Malaysia Should be Duty, Not a PrizeWe are pleased to reprint this speech by former Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah,  one of the country’s architects of its economic framework. Razaleigh, still a member of the United Malays National Organization, has increasingly issued calls to clean up the party. Malaysia’s post-colonial history began with optimism and a grand hope in 1957.…

How Deep Will Korea’s Samsung Scandal Go?

How Deep Will Korea’s Samsung Scandal Go?The fact that Korea’s behemoth Samsung Group is embroiled in one of the biggest slush fund scandals in the country’s history hasn’t deterred new President Lee Myung-bak from appointing people to his administration who are alleged to have received bribes from the company, according to the activist group that blew the whistle on the scandal in the first place. Kim…