Saturday 05 Dec 2020 | 05:34 | SYDNEY
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Asia

New crackdown will deepen dividing lines in Hong Kong

Whoever first said that “you should never waste a good crisis”, the Chinese government appears to be listening. At least when it comes to Hong Kong. With the city and the world’s attention on Covid-19, Hong Kong police swooped at the weekend to arrest 15 veteran activists on allegations of

Aryabhata: Remembering India’s first satellite

It remains one of the proudest moments, not only for India’s space program, but as a landmark in the history of the country. Forty-five years ago, on 19 April 1975, the rocket thrusters fired to launch India’s first indigenous satellite. It was named Aryabhata, yet like many initial forays

As Africa prepares to fight Covid-19, China steps up

As China slowly begins to recover from Covid-19 and re-start its economy, it is seeking to position itself at the head of the global virus response and fill the void in humanitarian assistance created by Western paralysis. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa, where China has a long history

Why Covid-19 only accelerates South Korea’s AI ambitions

South Korea is the perfect arena for the field of Artificial Intelligence to flourish. Plenty of talent and capital has been set aside for scientific research and development, the country has the advantage of stable government, while an aging demographic profile presents an opportunity for the

Book review: The Indo-Pacific contest

Napoleon was prescient in that he said when China “wakes she will shake the world”. In the space of four decades, China has built up the world’s largest economy in purchasing power parity terms. It is the largest trading partner of virtually all of its neighbours. It has become a

WHO and China: Compounding politics and policy

This should be the greatest hour for the World Health Organisation, the UN’s Geneva-based body dedicated to fighting just such a global threat as Covid-19. Instead, WHO is struggling to defend its own credibility – while the impact of the contortions into which it has forced itself by adhering

Asia after the pandemic

Prognostication about the world after the crisis while still very much in the midst of the chaos is a fraught business. But just as planning for the post-war world began in 1942, think we must about what will come when the coronavirus recedes. Prior to the global shutdown, Asia was already

US regional leadership: A shot across the bow

For years at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the pre-eminent meeting of defence ministers held in Singapore, successive secretaries of defence from the United States have repeated ad nauseam that Washington is a “resident power” in the region.It is becoming increasingly evident that the Covid-19

Xi Jinping emerges stronger from Covid-19 outbreak

The tardy response by the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) to the Covid-19 outbreak triggered widespread community outrage. But Beijing’s draconian crackdown, paired with intense scrutiny and intrusion into the daily lives of ordinary citizens, has further consolidated power in the hands of

Japanese whaling is down but not out

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began to dominate the news, and as Australia’s bush fires took most of the media oxygen, this past summer was an unusually quiet period in the long-running “whaling wars” in the Southern Ocean. For the first time in years, a southern summer passed without

Timor-Leste: The consequences of Covid-19

As of today, Timor-Leste has one confirmed case of Covid-19. Nonetheless, the feeling of panic among the public has been mounting. There is a valid reason for this: Timor-Leste’s public health system is under-resourced to respond to an outbreak of this scale. Over the last one month, the

China-US geopolitics in the age of corona

The coronavirus pandemic is a “black swan” moment: a rare and unpredictable event that could have momentous, system-wide, and unforeseen consequences. China deserves credit for having mobilised quickly, efficiently, and effectively after initial missteps to defeat the Covid-19 disease.

A political impasse in Timor-Leste as coronavirus looms

In late January, Timor-Leste’s governing alliance collapsed after the largest coalition party, Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT, abstained on the government budget, leading to the resignation of the Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak. By late February Gusmão revealed a new 34-seat majority coalition, which

Coronavirus and the threat to South Asian democracy

Like the rest of the world, much of South Asia’s 1.89 billion population is now under lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While Western citizens can, for the most part, temporarily afford to follow preventive measures such as mandatory lockdown, social distancing, and self-

Philippines: Covid-19 will devastate the poor

Flaviano Villanueva was in tears last Thursday. It was day five of the “enhanced community quarantine” in Metro Manila, where the priest runs a homeless centre. The sprawling Philippine capital of 13 million people had been sealed off, and police and army troopers were guarding municipal

In India, praying the Covid away

Crises have a way of shining a penetrating light and exposing the fissures in a society – or conversely, the exact nature of what holds it together. It is something we are seeing right now, the world over. While India seems to have sidestepped the worst of the pandemic for now, what the crisis

Coronavirus and the Hong Kong protest movement

For authorities in both Hong Kong and in Beijing, there must be, in some circles, something of a sense of relief. The pro-democracy protests that defined 2019 had become a deadly hydra that was exhausting the resources and credibility of both governments. The enforced shutdown as a result of the

Is Singapore feeling safe enough to go to the polls?

As news of a global pandemic dominated headlines and pushed most other news off the agenda, another breaking news bomb was casually dropped in Singapore on 13 March: the release of new electoral boundaries for the upcoming election. Based on past experience, the release of the Electoral Boundaries

The future ain’t what it used to be

What do the East Timorese defence force, “clean coal”, women’s empowerment, and Kevin Rudd’s first-term government have in common? The answer is the year 2020. Back when 2020 felt like a halcyon time far-far away, this was the year that, respectively, the Government of Timor-Leste, the

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