Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 13:36 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Battle for Hong Kong takes on a new shape

Last week marked the first anniversary of one of the more significant moments during the protests in Hong Kong during 2019. The Yuen Long incident, on 21 July 2019, is remembered by many peaceful protesters as a mob attack by white-shirted thugs who many believed to be government-backed members of

On China, the US speaks loudly but carries no stick

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has busily tried to smooth out what has been a fairly ragged Asia policy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library last week was the culmination of a number of set-piece acts intended to emphasise a yet

Book review: The memory of a massacre in Thailand

Book review: Thongchai Winichakul, Moments of Silence: The Unforgetting of the October 6, 1976, Massacre in Bangkok (University of Hawaii Press, 2020) In the early hours of 6 October 1976, Thai police and right-wing thugs laid siege to Thammasat University in Bangkok, where thousands of

Modi’s pandemic gambit

As the world tries to make sense of the daily debacle of Donald Trump’s response to Covid-19, there’s another democratically elected leader moving in a similar trajectory. India’s Narendra Modi, the man who 15 weeks ago placed his country’s 1.3 billion people under lockdown, is today

Interesting times for TikTok

From Delhi to Washington to Canberra, the future of the digital economy may be heavily influenced by how one question is answered: What to do about TikTok? The popular short-video platform owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance has been at the centre of a storm of controversy. Concern

A nervous watch on the Three Gorges Dam

To understand China, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on what is happening inside the country. Much of the current international discussion about China focuses on China’s plans to expand its overseas influence – both in Asia and beyond. But as the legendary American politician Tip O’Neill

Is Huawei in the UK a canary in the coalmine?

It is not a coincidence that Britain’s turnaround on using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure happened at the height of the pandemic. Covid-19 brutally brought back the realisation that international value chains are only as strong as their weakest link. This new awareness made plain that

Singapore’s election: Why aren’t the winners smiling?

The People’s Action Party (PAP) has won its 13th consecutive general election since Singapore became an independent country. PAP won 83 out of 93 seats, a spectacular performance anywhere else. So why isn’t the ruling party smiling? In this election, PAP obtained 61.2% of the popular vote.

India, Australia and containing the China challenge

Australia’s strategy on engaging India has long revolved around the so-called “three Cs”: cricket, curry and the Commonwealth. In light of the changing status of bilateral relations in 2020, let’s add a couple more Cs to the list: China, and containment of. On Friday, it emerged that

Moon’s North Korea vision up in smoke? Not so fast …

North Korea’s demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong on 16 June sent a powerful visual message to the world that North-South relations were degrading. But perhaps equally telling were South Korea’s handling of the destruction and the subsequent personnel and policy

Social credit: The next China risk for Australian business

As China recovers from the Covid-19 crisis, the apparatus of the state is about to be devoted to a new form of social control. By the end of 2020, China plans to introduce its national social credit system. For some, this evokes dystopian visions of a surveillance state, monitoring more than a

The obstacles to Syrian aid

On Saturday last week, following weeks of lobbying by humanitarian agencies and difficult diplomatic negotiations, the UN Security Council renewed its authorisation for the UN and its partners to provide humanitarian assistance in north-western Syria from across the Turkish border. The final

Taiwan tiptoes in cross-strait relations

“The hills will be toppled and the earth will quake,” warned a metaphorically-minded Su Chi, former secretary-general of Taiwan’s National Security Council, ahead of Taiwan’s presidential elections last year. “If Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen were to be re-elected … cross-strait

The kind of test the world doesn’t need

In May, the Washington Post reported discussions within the Trump administration about the possibility of conducting the first US nuclear detonation test since 1992, ostensibly as a countermeasure to the nuclear programs of China and Russia. Last month, officials said no tests were planned, but, in

Twisting India’s Chicken’s Neck

Indian officials claim that China is continuing its build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between India and China in the Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh region. New satellite imagery supports the claim that not only is the People’s Liberation Army holding ground

Obstacles remain for Pakistan dam backed by China

Over the last decade, the demand to build a new mega-dam intensified in Pakistan. The proposed Diamer-Bhasha dam, 320 kilometres from the border with China in the north, was an obvious choice, because all provincial governments agreed to its location. At 272 metres high, it would be the highest

Philippines government driving jeepneys off the road

After almost four months of lockdown measures due to Covid-19, the Philippines government in June eased restrictions for the majority of the country. But even as public transport systems slowly got back to running, something was missing: the distinctive jeepneys, still banned from plying their trade

The brakes on Beijing’s ambition

When discussing the rise of China, a sense of inevitability often pervades. China’s sheer population size and economic base will inevitably see it become the dominant regional power– or so the argument goes. China’s faster reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns has added to such arguments. That

Keeping the Kremlin in the Kelvinator

One effect of Australia’s more assertive posture on the People’s Republic of China has been to try to split off Beijing’s current and potential partners. This thinking was apparently behind Liberal MP Dave Sharma’s recent suggestion that Australia should back Russia’s participation in the

Singaporeans’ tricky exercise in tactical voting

Singaporeans will go to the polls on 10 July, after a characteristically speedy campaigning period of nine days, along with a “cooling-off day” on which electioneering is banned. Unlike most elections elsewhere, a general election in Singapore isn’t about choosing between different political

Calling out “expansionism”: The Modi way

India’s message to China is loud and clear: expansionism is outdated. In a decisive move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi choose to make the point right from the heart of Ladakh – the scene of violent face-off in Galwan Valley last month that claimed 20 lives in a “pre-meditated and planned

The economics of national security in Hong Kong

In the late hours of Tuesday evening last week, China’s new national security law for Hong Kong came into force. Seen by many as a response to the pro-democracy protests that erupted in the city last year, the law criminalises four types of national security offenses: sedition, subversion,

Indonesia: Still caught between trade and protectionism

The entry into force of an ambitious Indonesia-Australia trade deal on Sunday is a boost to the bilateral relationship, coming after nearly a decade of difficult negotiations. No two neighbouring G20 economies trade as little as Australia and Indonesia, and the investment relationship is similarly

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