Asia

South Korean women stage a protest against hidden-camera pornography in Seoul on August 4, 2018. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Son Jong-woo is the creator of “Welcome to Video,” once the world’s largest known child pornography website. In 2015, when he was 19, he started the website in the dark web, warning its members, “Do not upload adult porn.” Over the next three years, the site would balloon to more than 1 million downloads worldwide, trading in cryptocurrency and trafficking videos featuring the sexual assault, including rape, of minors. One of the site’s most popular searches was for “2-year-olds.” By the time Son was arrested and the website shut down in 2018, the 32-nation investigation had caught more than 300 suspects (the majority men from South Korea) and rescued at least 23 children in the United States, Britain and Spain.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras el choque del mes pasado en el valle del Galwan (región de Ladakh), en el que murieron 20 soldados indios y una cantidad desconocida de uniformados chinos, la India y China se preparan para un duelo prolongado en la disputada frontera en los Himalayas (aunque se informa de una retirada del sitio del enfrentamiento). Lo más importante, sin embargo, es que la reciente escaramuza puede ser señal de un cambio más amplio en la geopolítica asiática.

Esta idea puede parecer a primera vista exagerada, ya que ambos países venían haciendo esfuerzos aceptables por convivir. Si bien nunca llegaron a una solución duradera respecto de su disputada frontera de 3500 kilómetros (2200 millas), en 45 años no hubo un solo disparo en la línea de control efectivo (LAC por la sigla en inglés).…  Seguir leyendo »

Resumen ejecutivo1

La superioridad tecnológica es una dimensión crucial en la competición entre EEUU y China, la cual añade presión sobre unas ya de por sí tensas relaciones transatlánticas. Este documento analiza narrativa y realidad a partir del nexo entre las nuevas tecnologías, la defensa de valores compartidos, su reglamentación y las varias dimensiones geopolíticas. Los valores vienen captando una atención creciente en el debate transatlántico en torno a la tecnología, especialmente a raíz de la proliferación de sistemas de vigilancia basados en la inteligencia artificial (IA) y de otros aspectos exportables de tecno-autoritarismo, aunque también en términos de ideología y geopolítica.…  Seguir leyendo »

After weeks of ratcheting up tensions on the Korean peninsula, including lodging near-daily threats against South Korea in reaction to some of its citizens sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border, North Korea has decided to pause. On 24 June, North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong-un opted to defer plans to take certain military actions, after considering an unspecified “prevailing situation” during a virtual preliminary meeting of the Worker’s Party Central Military Commission over which he presided.

For now, one can only guess at the reasons for the sudden pause. Did reported U.S. B-52 bomber flyovers near Japan on 24 June, coupled with three U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A voter receives gloves at a polling station in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on June 24. (Khurelkhuu Enkhjargal/AP)

When Mongolia held its June 24 parliamentary elections, more than 73 percent of voters turned up despite the heavy rains, and followed strict two-meter distancing requirements to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. The preliminary results show that the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), led by Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, won a landslide victory, securing 62 seats in the 76-member parliament with only 45 percent of the total votes.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) came in a distant second, winning 11 seats with 25 percent of the total votes. Two minor parties and an independent candidate won the remaining three seats.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald Trump managed to avoid touching off a forest fire in the tinder-dry forest around Mount Rushmore with his Independence Day fireworks display, but instead his administration seems to be doing its best to set Asia on fire in the South China Sea.

Two aircraft carrier strike groups headed by the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz have moved into the South China Sea for the largest military exercises in years just as China has been holding its own drills around the Paracel Islands, which it seized from Vietnam in 1974 in a move the United States has never accepted.…  Seguir leyendo »

The national security law that China passed last week is scary for many reasons: It severely limits free speech in Hong Kong, which had been a fixture of life for decades; it allows the authorities to take suspects from Hong Kong and try them in mainland China, where people such as the recently detained writer and law professor Xu Zhangrun are prosecuted for simply expressing their opinions; it establishes a secret police structure in Hong Kong that will operate outside of the law. And in threatening to arrest anyone who advocates Hong Kong’s independence, the law seems to assert jurisdiction over every person on the planet.…  Seguir leyendo »

On the 23rd anniversary of their handover to China on Wednesday, supporters of democracy and independence in Hong Kong could be forgiven for feeling they’ve just awoken to their worst nightmare.

Overnight, and with no consultation, Hong Kong essentially became a legal and security jurisdiction of China, denying its citizens the 27 more years of semi-autonomy Beijing had promised under the «one country, two systems» model that was to have been in effect until 2047.

A new national security law — dubbed the «anti-protest law» — was rubber stamped by the National People’s Congress in May and signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hongkongers raise blank papers after slogans were banned. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Writing about the protest movement in Hong Kong, I began to notice the absences everywhere I went. A moving patchwork of white, black and grey squares decorated walls and pavements, as more and more protest slogans were erased from the public gaze. Now, with Beijing’s enactment of national security legislation in Hong Kong, that void has suddenly gaped wider, swallowing words, ideas, open discussion, and even people from public view.

The legislation bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The first sight of it for Hongkongers was the moment that it came into effect on Tuesday at 11pm, ahead of the annual 1 July protest march, which itself had been declared illegal.…  Seguir leyendo »

One of China’s ‘re-education’ centres in Dabancheng, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

When China imposed trade sanctions on Norway in 2010 for honouring the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo with the Nobel peace prize, it spat out a word we weren’t used to hearing from propagandists for an atheist communist regime, but should get used to today. “It’s a blasphemy,” a party mouthpiece said.

Once, blasphemy was damning the faithful’s gods and sacred books. Now, criticism of the world’s largest dictatorship has become sacrilegious. You shouldn’t be surprised. As some of us tried to say in the 1990s and 2000s, the gap between the sacred and the profane was never as wide as religious sentimentalists and liberal multiculturalists believed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police detain a protester after spraying pepper spray during a protest in Causeway Bay before the annual handover march in Hong Kong on Wednesday, as Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of its handover to China in 1997 — and just one day after China enacted a national security law that cracks down on protests in the territory. (Vincent Yu/AP)

Now that it has arrived, Beijing’s much-feared national security law for Hong Kong heralds nothing less than imperialism with Chinese characteristics.

Imperialism need not always follow the classic British model of colonizing distant lands and peoples. No less typical in recent times is rule over groups with distinctive claims closer to home. But as China’s officials used to point out to the British, imperialism goes hand in fist with repression. With the new national security law, Beijing ironically doubles down on a disastrous model pioneered by Britain itself.

The key to this approach is the law’s adoption of a separate and draconian judicial system.…  Seguir leyendo »

Riot police walk past a fire set by people protesting the new national security law on Wednesday in Hong Kong. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

The French revolutionaries’ instrument for administering the 1793-1794 Reign of Terror was the Committee of Public Safety. Today, China’s totalitarians, displaying either ignorance of this unsavory history, or arrogance in flaunting their emulation of it, call their new instrument for suffocating Hong Kong the Commission for Safeguarding National Security. Yet again, actual tyranny is imposed in the supposed service of safety.

Acting as communists do, the leaders of China’s Communist Party, which is the bone and sinew of that nation’s Leninist party-state, have, less than halfway through their commitment, shredded the agreement to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy until 2047. The new law mocks the rule of law, which requires sufficient specificity to give those subject to the law due notice of what is proscribed or prohibited.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has provided a pretext for some in Washington to spar even more openly with Beijing. Top White House advisor Peter Navarro accused the Chinese government of exploiting the pandemic to advance its interests, and one senator even claimed that China is «trying to sabotage» America’s search for a vaccine and is bent on «world domination.» Steve Bannon, the mastermind of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, attributed the death of George Floyd, in large part, to China’s misdeeds.

This cartoonish depiction of villainy might be dismissed as campaign season hyperbole if it weren’t informing real policy proposals.…  Seguir leyendo »

A police officer in Hong Kong on Tuesday standing guard near protesters opposing Beijing’s new national security legislation for the city. The law criminalizes, among other things, threats to China’s national unity, including calls for Hong Kong to become independent from the mainland. Credit Vincent Yu/Associated Press

After many years of rejecting the people of Hong Kong’s persistent demands for genuine universal suffrage and other rights, China made its position clear again on Tuesday with the legislative equivalent of a cracking head bash.

It chose the eve of July 1, a triple anniversary — of the birth of the Chinese Communist Party (1921), the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China (1997) and a break-in of the city’s legislature by pro-democracy activists (2019) — to pass a draconian national security law that will forever harm Hong Kong’s political freedoms and hobble its economic relations with the rest of the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

Maybe it was no coincidence that the German government chose Leipzig as the location for the special E.U.-China summit, scheduled to take place later this year.

After all, Leipzig’s citizens were the first to turn out in droves in 1989 to protest the East German Communists’ despotism and contempt for freedom. Many feared the regime would indiscriminately mow down protesters who demanded basic democratic liberties, just as the Communist Party of China had done in June that same year.

Fortunately, the result was very different: The regime crumbled, the Berlin Wall fell and the country was reunited. Germans call Leipzig “Heldenstadt,” city of heroes.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man walks past a bag printed with the portrait of China's revolutionary leader Mao Tse-tung on display outside a shop in Hong Kong. Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images.

Harder Line Could Accelerate Animosity with China

Coronavirus has dramatically reshaped the political and economic context for the US foreign policy debate. With more than 20 million Americans unemployed – and an unemployment rate above 13% – more than 125,000 deaths and the rate of infections continuing to climb across the south and south-west, and President Donald Trump polling more than 8% behind Joe Biden, it is hardly surprising that China and its role both in the pandemic and in the US economy continues to dominate foreign policy discussions.

In both the United States and Europe, the severity of the health and economic crisis driven by the pandemic has raised the stakes for policy on China and – especially in the UK, Germany, France and the wider EU – is tipping the balance towards those who advocate for a harder line on China.…  Seguir leyendo »

I grew up in West Africa to East Indian parents. Every year, we would spend our summer vacation in Kerala, a state along the southern coast of India.

While it is known for beautiful backwaters and ayurvedic centers, today Kerala is making headlines due to its success containing Covid-19. Despite the fact that Kerala confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on January 30, the state, with a population of around 35 million, has 3,726 active cases as of Friday, with 22 deaths — about one death per 1.5 million people — as reported by the Indian government.

Kerala, which is a communist state, has invested in robust public health and education systems.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Group of 20, a multilateral forum of major economies, announced on April 15 that it would suspend debt service payments from the world’s poorest countries. The International Monetary Fund did the same for 25 countries.

But more relief may be necessary, and China, the world’s largest bilateral lender, has come under particular scrutiny to do more. At a June 18 virtual conference with African leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China would write off interest-free loans for “relevant African countries” and might extend the G-20-sponsored repayment moratorium.

This may not make much of a difference. Interest-free loans constitute only 2 to 3 percent of Chinese loans issued to Africa since 2000 and would have been the easiest for low-income countries to pay off.…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping is torn during a protest against China in Ahmedabad, India, on Wednesday. (Ajit Solanki/AP)

As the United States has faltered in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, many experts have warned that China is using the situation to enhance its influence across the world. This is part of a familiar pattern in which the United States has worried that its competitors or adversaries were 10 feet tall and growing. But in fact, a striking feature of the recent international landscape has been China’s strategic blunders.

The most significant example is China’s recent incursion into India, in the Galwan Valley, long under dispute by the two countries. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Chinese forces have reportedly taken about 23 square miles of arid land, sparking a deadly skirmish.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum during a visit to Hanoi in 2019. (Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, with no formal peace in sight. The mass bloodshed ended with a truce in 1953, but threats and tensions on the peninsula persist. Most recently, North Korea blew up the inter-Korean Joint Liaison Office on June 16. The building was a symbol of a “new era of peace” ushered in by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their historic summit on April 27, 2018.

The destruction of the liaison office reflects a hot-cold pattern of political tactics and is not a serious event.…  Seguir leyendo »