Confucius Institutes – A Chinese tool for soft power or a scapegoat for the West?
Confucius Institutes have been discussed in Western media in varying degrees of intensity over the last couple of decades. They have been subject to criticism for being tools of Chinese soft power and have been labeled as a threat to academic and individual freedom in different countries. But what are Confucius Institutes exactly, and how should we address them?
The origin of traditional culture may more often than not be assumed to have a natural origin that is taken for granted. But where do they come from and how is it that these are chosen to represent the authentic within any given culture. Might our concept of the traditional be a construct made in a different time and place than that in which it represents, and are there any clear cut border to these?
Imperial succession in Japan
Japan’s imperial family currently faces issues with maintaining sufficient family numbers and ensuring stable succession. In December 2021, an expert panel published a report that suggests two potential solutions for that, but none of these open up the possibility of allowing an empress and matrilineal successions as drastic approaches.
Having the cake and eating it too – China’s balancing act following the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are reverberating around the world. Sanctions are mounting and logistics chains have been disrupted. Countries are re-evaluating their security policies and diplomatic positions as they try to navigate the new reality. The Russian invasion has put China in a serious diplomatic and economic predicament, from which it has little chance to escape without suffering a diplomatic blow.
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - April 2022
Tidbits from last month's news: South Korea elects new leader, Nobel Peace Prize laureate's electoral success in Timor-Leste, standstill in Russia-Japan relations, increasing conflict in Indonesia's Papua region and China's "zero-COVID" policy.