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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 19:50 GMT
What to Make of Hong Kong’s First Protests Post-Security Law
The Hong Kong protests carried out in spite of the new national security law showcase the volatile dynamic we expect to continue as authorities work to dishearten demonstrators and the broader pro-democracy camp. Following an official rejection of an application to hold rallies citing COVID-19 and past violent activity, pro-democracy demonstrators turned out by the thousands to mark the July 1 anniversary of the British handover of the city. While authorities arrested a relatively small number of protesters under the new law, how the detentions and trials proceed will indicate the legislation’s ability to truly dissuade protests in the future. There is also the possibility that further arrests will take place based on surveillance of protest activity.
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AssessmentsDec 10, 2019 | 20:10 GMT
Myanmar army generals Tun Tun Nyi, Soe Naing Oo and Zaw Min Tun (left to right) discuss their intent to thwart constitutional changes by the governing National League for Democracy.
How Myanmar's Elections Could Dampen Its Investment Climate
In the months leading up to Myanmar's late 2020 elections, an atmosphere of political uncertainty and a risk-averse approach to reforms will combine to make it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment, even as it pushes to diversify beyond Chinese involvement. Myanmar's next government will likely be more divided and incoherent than the one now led by the National League for Democracy, with added complexity expected as ethnic minority, military-aligned and other parties jockey for position. More immediately, in the run-up to the election, the risks associated with spikes in anti-Muslim communal violence, stepped-up military offensives in ethnic border regions and a stagnating peace process with insurgents will rise. These factors, combined with the global trade slowdown, could limit Myanmar's economic growth. The 2020 vote, coming a decade into Myanmar's post-dictatorship period, will be a key test for the country's new political balance.
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AssessmentsApr 19, 2019 | 11:37 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) walks with Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering during a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on Dec. 28, 2018.
Why the Belt and Road Fuels India's Fears of Encirclement
India might be a large trading partner in its own right, but the designs of the even-larger power on its doorstep are fueling its fears of encirclement. The Belt and Road Initiative, the cornerstone of Chinese President Xi Jinping's foreign policy to blaze a trail of trade across Asia and Europe, includes five of India's neighbors: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal. But worried that the initiative will grant Beijing undue political influence in neighboring capitals -- and that new ports and highways could one day aid China in a military conflict -- New Delhi is searching for ways to remain a step ahead of China's activities in South Asia. For one, India has sought to promote its influence by dangling the prospect of greater investment. In so doing, India has scored a few important victories, but its quest for unrivaled dominance in the subcontinent is ultimately a
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AssessmentsMar 15, 2019 | 19:50 GMT
Supporters of the lead pro-military party in Thailand gather outside as the party's candidates arrive to register for country's upcoming election.
In Thailand, the Junta's Policies Will Prevail, Regardless of Who Wins the Election
After five years of extended military rule since the coup in 2014, followed by the death of iconic King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016, electoral politics are tentatively resuming in Thailand. On March 24, more than 50 million voters nationwide will cast their votes for candidates vying for the country's House of Representatives. But after 15 years punctuated by bloody protests, coups and toppled governments, the memory of Thailand's tumultuous past remains fresh. And many are wary that the country could swing back into the cyclical disruptions that have jeopardized its status as a manufacturing powerhouse in Southeast Asia.
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GuidanceOct 12, 2018 | 10:30 GMT
This April 19, 2015, photo shows Uighur men gathering for afternoon prayers at the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang. China's crackdown on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang could result in U.S. sanctions.
China Risks a Backlash to Secure a Western Buffer
International criticism is growing against China over its crackdown on Uighur Muslims and other minority groups in the western province of Xinjiang -- and now there are rumblings that Washington could impose targeted sanctions against Beijing as peer competition grows. The White House is reportedly considering all its options to increase pressure on China, including sanctions on human rights grounds that could cause wider international ramifications.
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Contributor PerspectivesJul 19, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
For much of its history, Nepal marked the far edge of South Asia. But as China has reasserted itself as a global power, the country's remote location has become an advantage.
In Nepal, Globalization Finds a New Venue
To be sure, Nepal may seem like an odd place to measure globalization's health: In many ways it is literally the back of beyond -- landlocked, mountainous (it boasts eight of the world's 10 highest peaks) and desperately poor. Calculated at purchasing power parity, the average Nepali earns just $8 per day; at nominal exchange rates, he or she makes barely $2. The pay rate translates into appalling squalor for much of the population. Walking through one village just outside Kathmandu, I encountered a woman sitting on the front step of her tin-roofed shack, in full view of everyone, delousing her daughter. Nepal produces a paltry 0.03 percent (nominal) or 0.06 percent (purchasing power parity) of the world's wealth, while the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, if it were to go ahead, would link 42-46 percent of global gross domestic product in the biggest bilateral deal ever made. Who cares
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AssessmentsFeb 10, 2018 | 16:42 GMT
Beijing is promising underdeveloped regions such as Xinjiang that starting next year it will cover 80 percent of the costs associated with many public services.
China Goes Local
China has long been working to reform its highly centralized tax system, but it has been slow going. The country made an important step forward on Feb. 8, though, when the Chinese Cabinet released a plan to redistribute tax revenue and public expenditures among central and local governments. Under the plan, central and local governments will now share the cost of public services falling under eight broad categories, including compulsory education, basic employment services and basic health insurance. Before, local governments either relied on risky maneuvers to cover the costs of public services or depended on federal fiscal reallocations, giving the federal government in Beijing outsize influence but also causing considerable economic distortions.
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SITUATION REPORTNov 28, 2017 | 19:41 GMT
India: Parliament Member Suggests China Might Be Behind Polluted Siang River, Requests Investigation
Indian National Congress member Ninong Ering has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inform him that the Siang River (also known as Yarlung Tsangpo) has "turned muddy and slushy with traces of cement" and to request an international investigation to confirm the cause of the pollution, the New Indian Express reported Nov. 28.
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AssessmentsSep 14, 2017 | 11:10 GMT
Rohingya refugees walk through a camp in Bangladesh after arriving from Myanmar.
The Tangled Web of Myanmar's Rohingya Crisis
Though the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist, it is also home to a variety of Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Christian groups, and the country has long been marked by powerful ethnic divisions. Its most recent conflict centers on the Muslim Rohingya population, a minority that Myanmar does not recognize as a valid ethnic group and whose members are not granted citizenship. After a group of Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 police and military outposts in late August, the military cracked down and violence has run rampant. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 of the country's 1.1 million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the past two weeks alone. This massive exodus has spurred outcries from protesters and politicians across the Muslim world. But even if the current crackdown ends, the Rohingya's precarious position within Myanmar means their plight will not.
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AssessmentsMay 18, 2017 | 23:18 GMT
To sustain their economic growth, the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must build infrastructure to bridge their divides -- a need that fits neatly with China's ambitions in the region through the Belt and Road Initiative.
Southeast Asia: A Notch in China's Belt and Road Initiative
Southeast Asia is the pivot of China's sprawling 65-nation Belt and Road Initiative. The region's growing markets, numerous manufacturing hubs and abundant natural resources offer Beijing a wealth of economic opportunities. But its greater value to China is rooted in geopolitics. As the country's economy has exploded in recent decades, it has come to rely on external trade routes. Today, one of Beijing's top priorities is protecting these routes from foreign interdiction, especially in the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca. The chief goal behind China's Belt and Road Initiative is twofold: To establish secure sea routes from its coast to the Mediterranean Sea and to create alternative supply routes overland to ensure its continued access to foreign markets in the event of a maritime cutoff. Southeast Asia serves each of these ends. China's success in achieving its objectives in Southeast Asia, however, will depend in large part on the
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AssessmentsMay 16, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
South Asia: A Bump in the Belt and Road
As part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China is looking to build new inroads into South Asia. The region is rife with opportunity for Beijing. By establishing new security and economic connections with neighboring South Asian countries, China hopes to quell unrest in remote Xinjiang province. South Asia also offers an easy outlet for China's manufactured goods as the country weathers an economic slowdown. In the long term, moreover, the region would afford Beijing access to new trade routes outside the Malacca Strait and the contentious South China Sea. But of all the projects China has undertaken through its Belt and Road Initiative, its ventures in South Asia are the riskiest. The region's deep geopolitical divisions and security challenges could derail Beijing's plans there. And so long as India opposes China's activities in its traditional sphere of influence, the Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia will amount
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AssessmentsDec 21, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
In Myanmar's economically important Rakhine state, a new insurgent group has formed among the Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority. The group staged several attacks against Myanmar's security forces in October and November, provoking intense military backlash.
Myanmar Reckons With a Muslim Insurgency
In a country known for ethnic conflict, Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya stand out. The Muslim minority group, concentrated near the Bangladeshi border in Rakhine state, has a long history of marginalization. Its members lack full citizenship in Myanmar, and the leaders of many other minority populations in the country deny that the Rohingya are a distinct ethnic group at all, claiming that they are recent Bengali immigrants. Even the name "Rohingya" is controversial; Myanmar's state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has asked the international community to avoid using the term so as not to inflame ethnic tensions in her country. The Rohingya have long troubled Myanmar's public image. A substantial number of Rohingya have fled the country and live across the border in Bangladesh or in diaspora communities around the world. Thousands more are still internally displaced. The group has become something of a cause celebre for leaders in the West and
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