Ben Bland

Director, Southeast Asia Program
Areas of expertise

Southeast Asian politics and foreign policy; South China Sea; regional economic trends; China-ASEAN relations; Indonesia; Malaysia; Vietnam; Hong Kong

Ben Bland
News and media

Ben Bland is a former Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. He is the author of Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia (Penguin Random House, 2020), the first English language political biography of Indonesia’s president, and Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow (Penguin Random House, 2017).

At the Lowy Institute, he also wrote analysis papers examining the state of Indonesian democracy and the potential for the Australia-India-Indonesia trilateral relationship, among other research projects.

Ben regularly writes opinion pieces for and provides expert comment to a wide range of international media organisations, including Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, the New York TimesNikkei Asia and Reuters.

Before joining the Lowy Institute, Ben was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, with postings in Jakarta, Hanoi and Hong Kong and experience reporting across China and Southeast Asia over the previous decade. He has an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Cambridge.

Ben’s position was supported by the Lowy Institute’s Engaging Asia Project, which was established with the financial support of the Australian Government.

Hong Kong is not dead, just entering a new phase of struggle
Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Brookings Report: Historical tensions and contemporary governance challenges in Southeast Asia: The case of Indonesia
In this report published by the Brookings Institution, Ben Bland explains why Western nations need to engage with Indonesia in its own right, not as a part of plan to…
Jokowi needs to change strategy
This article was first published in The Straits Times.
China has only itself to blame for Australia's move on Hong Kong
The Australian government and its partners had no choice but to recognise the new reality in the territory and offer some of its citizens a way out. Originally published in The…
Indonesia: Still caught between trade and protectionism
Indonesia: Still caught between trade and protectionism
There is little evidence Jokowi sees trade deals as a way to drive liberalising domestic economic reforms at home.
National security law cannot erase Hong Kong's political awakening
Demosisto may have disbanded and Nathan Law fled but struggle will continue for generations. Originally published in the Nikkei Asian Review.
Beijing crackdown will squeeze business
Investors will make a grave mistake by ignoring how much China's new national security law will change Hong Kong. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review.
Emerging From COVID: Policy Responses To The Pandemic
Emerging From COVID: Policy Responses To The Pandemic
In this new feature, Lowy Institute experts provide policy recommendations for Australia to address issues that are critical to our nation’s — and the world’s —…