September 28, 2004

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Asia by Blog - Month in Review

This is cross-posted at Winds of Change.

Asia by Blog is a twice weekly feature, posted on Mondays and Thursdays (the latest edition is here). You can be notified by email when it is updated, just drop me an email at simon-[at]-simonworld-[dot]-mu-[dot]-nu. Now without futher ado it is time to look at the highs and lows of China and Asia over the past month:

China, Taiwan and Hong Kong


  • Jiang Zemin has bowed to the inevitable. Now Hu Jiantao have no more excuses on delivering reform. With the peaceful rise of Hu Jintao, Richard has a good look on what it all means, although CDN contends Hu has sold his soul. At the same time some things haven't changed (the article in question can be found via here). Adam also notes the frustrating lack of coverage for such an important event.

  • Asia Media covers the trial of the 2 authors of a book on China's peasantry and the difficulties they face. Metanoiac has more on this.

  • Tom Plate covers the thoughts of a retiring US naval commander on the Asia-Pacific region.

  • Will AIDS lead China to democracy?

  • The home of the "laissez-faire" economy is becoming more monopolistic by the day, says Tom. He also covers HK's pathetic response to the challenge issued by Singapore's elder patriarch, Lee Kuan Yew. Perhaps because LKY is right. There's more on the whole thing at CSR Asia.

  • China's soft power is growing and Peking Dork says it signals the end of any chance of Taiwan independence. Dan Drezner looks at China's growing influence as a regional power; thinking about one small aspect of the US's current approach to China it seems the US isn't sure whether to treat China as a threat or opportunity.

  • Stephen looks at China's warning to its Uighur population. With China getting ready for the 2008 Olympics, Stephen also looks at the likely losers in the run up to the event. Ironically for the IOC their attempt to force improvement China's human rights record looks likely to backfire.

  • Is China destined to be superpower or collapse? Check the comments for more discussion.

  • Why is it Communists like Photoshop so much?

  • Minerva plays the Taiwan name game.

  • HK's elections are done: full results at ESWN. Looking at the results are Pieter who sees this campaign's dirty tricks as a sign of maturing democracy; Phil who looks at the disappointing Democrat Party results (much as he predicted) and the ballot box stuff-up and says if its a choice between conspiracy and stupidity, well you know which wins. Chris has some interesting ideas on the apathy concerning this election and that the current system is of London's design, not Beijing's. Andrea says China will clamp down on HK regardless of the result. Tom looks more deeply into the winners and losers. ESWN explains and defends HK's functional constituencies by saying "experts" are needed to defend each interest group and commonly elected politicians are unable to grasp the issues. Which is complete baloney. Countries such as the UK, USA and Australia seem to manage just fine without special interest groups directly electing members of Parliament. ESWN's example of the financial services candidate (an "colourful" fellow elected with 275 votes, whereas it took over 60,000 votes to get a directly elected seat. In other words one stockbroker's vote is worth 218 "ordinary" votes) fighting for minimum conditions is the perfect example against these seats. The investing public loses out to the stockbrokers who create their own self-determined minimum commissions. If the small stockbrokers are worried about "collusion" in the long term, collusion in the short term isn't the answer. Proper anti-trust and competition laws are. Special interest seats perverse democracy by making those lawmakers answerable only to that sector, to the exclusion of the broader society they should actually serve.

  • A detailed look at the difference between the existing and proposed (but shelved) Article 23 laws in Hong Kong.

  • China's quietly taking advantage of America's distractions in the Middle East and asserting control in Central Asia.
  • Economy and Lifestyle

  • Did you know China's stockmarket has crashed?
  • China's now bailing out the private sector as well as the public, says Fons. He also looks at China's massive unpaid wages bill. What's causing China's migrant labour shortage and a look at the history of the problem. China's labour shortage is particularly acute with skilled workers.

  • ACB measures the damage of China's recent massive flooding.

  • The Ruck wonders why the US is now announcing China's economic policies for it?

  • What price China's desperation for oil?

  • Ellen laughs at China's hypocrisy over pirating.

  • Urban health is getting worse in China, for the obvious reason: living in Chinese cities with the worst air pollution does more damage to an average Chinese person's lungs than smoking two packs of cigarettes a day No wonder so many Chinese smoke.

  • China is running out of water to support its economic growth, as is Asia.
  • History and Culture

  • Andres presents an incredible must-read on the life of China's prostitutes.

  • The Black China Hand says the Qing dynasty was China's best.

  • Matthew says Chinese might actually be easier to learn to read than English and fewer native Chinese speakers suffer dyslexia compared to alphabet based languages.

  • Who's looking after China's cultural heritage?

  • Shanghai is restoring its Jewish area.

  • Cultural Imperialism in China, Dutch version. And Western cultural imperialism is helping China earn more. I'm just not sure that this is a "cost of globalisation". The march of evil Western imperialist capitalist hamburger-pushers continues in China, although China's fighting back against the Americans.

  • Running Dog looks at village family planning blackboards and spoilt oinks in China's great social engineering experiment with its population. The end of the one-child policy approaches.

  • Mao's cheer-squad is alive and well but on the other hand there's always reality.

  • Sex in China is the West's fault. Apparently it didn't happen in the world's most populous country before the West got involved.

  • Same name, different food.

  • Andrew looks at the Chinese diaspora in Africa.

  • Ancient martial arts and the world's oldest profession meet on the streets of modern HK.

  • ESWN says its no wonder most Chinese tourists avoid the USA.

  • In the misplaced vitriol department, China is calling for Westerners' blood. And forget about the West interfering in Asia; look at China's interference in the West.

  • Jodi sees the upside in China's gender imbalance.

  • Supernaut has an article on the "truth" of the Cultural Revolution.
  • Information

  • Is Google helping China censor the Net? Extensive discussion here (both links via Richard) and Adam's thoughts here. Of course we looked at this a while back and Tom explains why it is a fallacy. Tom has further analysis which is sceptical of many of the claims made. Fons also has a realistic look at the issue while Andrea takes issue with Google. Fons also says the Chinese filters are leading to capacity problems and slowing the net in China.
  • China's Slashdot has been shut down.

  • Andrea from T-Salon has posted on the story on the Free Culture Chinese translation project. It's an amazing story of collaborative effort by Chinese bloggers and could be the first of many such projects to come. She hopes more people in the world can understand the kind of positive changes that the Chinese are trying to bring in China. So do I. And lest you think the CCP aren't taking blogging seriously, read this.

  • Cracking down on pirated copyright has lead to an example being made of a US citizen, says Fons, and it is the price of crossing a sometimes murky line.

  • Life at the China Daily by an Aussie insider.

  • ESWN has the details of another article attacking China's Central Propaganda Department.

  • Joi Ito meets the China blog block. But a P2P solution may be at hand.

  • Hong Kong's media may be engaging in self-censorship, or perhaps they've decided they are finally interesting in decent programming? It's effectively Government owned TV anyway.

  • China has been clamping down on sex sites, with one important exception.

  • ESWN and CDN have a helpful guide to what keywords are banned in China. Fons says the list shows the futility of China's censorship efforts.

  • Korea and Japan

  • The Koguryo dispute between Korea and China was resolved. Adam thinks this could be a significant breakthrough for China. Andrew, guest blogging at Asia Pages, has an interesting analysis of the situation.

  • Life is about to change for South Korea's sex workers but at least the US military are doing their bit. Meanwhile in Japan there are moves to outlaw sex for teenagers. Jodi looks at the issue and the state of sex education in Japan. Nichi Nichi also has more. Marmot has all things sex and p0rn in Korea covered, so to speak, including the battle royale of Japanese p0rn queens.

  • John Kerry's got at least one foreign leader's support.

  • Just how prepared is South Korea to take on the North on its own?

  • Outsourcing hits Japan. More broadly is outsourcing coming to an end or even reversing course?

  • Via Budaechigae comes this review of an article on Kim Jong Il's leadership traits. Also via the Kimchee GI is this unflattering look at South Korea's National Security Law.

  • Dear Kim Jong Il, the city of Pueblo would like their boat back.

  • In Japan they have pandas online.

  • Scott Sommers on Japan's English.

  • North Korea's tallest (windowless) hotel is also its emptiest (via Conrad and Country Store). Friskodude also has more.

  • Now you can enjoy the finest of North Korea in the comfort of your American home.

  • Japan is potentially using the threat of China as a stalking horse for other changes; Joe Jones (thanks for the links) has more on potential changes in Japan's defence policy and Jodi believes it is unnecessary provocation.

  • Joe Jones on immigration and Japan.

  • At last, portable karaoke.

  • SE Asia

  • I've covered the Jakarta bombings "The War", "Responses and Reactions" and finally "More on Jakarta". I strongly recommend you read the comments and follow the trackbacks to those posts for more. ESWN has photos. Myrick says even Indonesia's intelligence chief thinks its laws are too weak. Jodi and The Swanker look at the question of why - both are must reads.

  • In the wash-up from SBY's Indonesian election win, Myrick sees a rapid disintegration in the opposition forces and the collapse of Golkar and Jakartass sees business as usual. As you'd expect the Swanker has more on the results and this: You can add the name Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the pantheon of misfits, megalomaniacs and kleptocrats that have taken residence in Merdeka Palace as President of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.

  • Myrick looks at the overturning of the convictions of the Bali bombers. While the Bali bombers aren't in prison; they're in Starbucks. Or maybe window-shopping.

  • Indonesia isn't taking the threat of terror in the Straits of Malacca seriously.

  • Singapore's censorship policies are doing there job. Under threat of libel the Economist caves in and Myrick reflects on this and his own self-imposed censorship. Singabloodypore rejoices in the "new" Singapore and has an open letter to the new PM.

  • Via Mr Brown comes two views on Singapore's newest back-to-the-past monopoly, this time in the media. Hicky has a great take on the whole debacle. Indonesia takes a backward step in imitating Singapore.

  • Andi meets Islam in Malaysia and enjoys the experience. And via Rezwan comes this detailed look at Islam and Democracy in Malaysia. Catallaxy on Malaysia and the modernisation of Islam (via Foreign Dispatches). Also Rezwan looks at Madrassa education in Bangladesh, asking if it is an anachronism or a victim of exploitation.

  • Islamic terrorists deliberately target countries like Indonesia. And Singapore is holding on to a group of JI terrorists in what Myrick thinks is a good use of Singapore's ISA.

  • Hicky on Singapore's underclass.

  • Jodi takes on Gloria Arroyo.

  • In Singapore the Government is in the business of creating love to help create people. Get people to shag without condoms or you'll lose your job. At least they're talking about real people, rather than cyber-creations.

  • Conrad has the solution for what ails the Philippines. None of that pesky democracy nonsense either. Meanwhile the pork barrel is well stocked.

  • You've been in Singapore too long when you read lists saying "you know you've been in Singapore too long...". Unless of course you look at the Hong Kong one instead...or the 88 ways to know you're Chinese.

  • Dan Drezner looks at Filippinos who want to go back to Iraq.

  • East Timor gets lucky.

  • Rajan looks at Malaysian PM Abdullah's speech on Independence Day and wonders about Malaysian patriotism. He also has comprehensive coverage of the release of Anwar and its aftermath. He says justice was done, but that doesn't mean that the Malaysian judiciary is now independent nor that Anwar is a saint. He's got a few years to cool his heels, which isn't that surprising.

  • Judging of the judges of Singapore Idol.

  • Another example of Singapore using courts to do political dirty work and the Nelson Mandela angle. Mr. Brown reflects on the difference between Singapore's new leadership's words and deeds.

  • Xiaxue's amusing rant about Singapore's small pool of models, although perhaps it's because Singapore's a city-state of only 4 million.
  • Miscellany

  • Amongst others, both India and Japan are pushing for UN Security Council permanent membership. The Acorn has a look at the massive politics involved. Arthur Chrenkoff also has a detailed look, including an innovative solution. Niraj looks at Pakistan's efforts to block India.

  • Africa is the next Asia.

  • Wayne talks about another kind of inflation in Taiwan.

  • Apparently Ghengis Khan wasn't quite the barbarian you thought he was.

  • RP gives a brief history of the Ghurkhas of Nepal.

  • The dos and don'ts of corporate speaking in Asia.

  • Onboard lovin', Thai style.

  • All that glitters is not Kitty, and Kitty is not to be trifled with.

  • Thanks Kevin for an indispensable list.
  • posted by Simon on 09.28.04 at 05:56 PM in the Asia by blog category.


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    Simon's E. Asia Overview & PRC News: Sep 28/04
    Excerpt: It's time to have a look at East Asia and what's been making the news in Asian blogs over the past month. We cover China (in depth), as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore et. al).
    Weblog: Winds of Change.NET
    Tracked: September 28, 2004 04:06 PM

    Get With The Program, People!
    Excerpt: Have you read the latest Simon World :: Asia by Blog? Well, what are you waiting for?...
    Weblog: eclexys
    Tracked: September 30, 2004 01:05 AM


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