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
Biography
Publications

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.

Commentary
The real reason Hong Kong’s violence is a problem for the government
Originally published in the Washington PostBen Bland
Commentary
An island of freedom in a stormy communist sea
Originally published in The AustralianBen Bland
Australia-Indonesia ties: escaping the beefs about boats or Bali
Australia-Indonesia ties: escaping the beefs about boats or Bali
Don't jinx it, but a few promising signs suggest bilateral ties could be entering a new period of relative stability.
Commentary
Don’t Write Off Hong Kong’s Radicals
Beijing can’t afford to demonize and repress the young activists on the extreme edge of the city’s massive protests.  Originally published in Bloomberg Opinion. Ben…
Commentary
Uneasy lies the head that wears Hong Kong's rented crown
Originally published in the Sydney Morning HeraldBen Bland
Hong Kong climbdown eases external pressures on China
Hong Kong climbdown eases external pressures on China
Beijing is fighting many fires at once, so taking the heat out of Hong Kong will suit Xi Jinping.
Commentary
The battle for Hong Kong's soul
This is not just about a law. It is the identity of an exceptional city that is at stake. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review.Ben Bland
Commentary
The Hong Kong protests are an expression of years of pent-up anger
Originally published in The Telegraph. Ben Bland
Commentary
Hong Kong’s Moment of Reckoning
China’s encroachment on the former colony’s autonomy threatens to undermine the foundations of its economic success. Originally published in Bloomberg Opinion. Ben…
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