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?
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.
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - March 2022
This month we look at China's position towards Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Japan's stance on nuclear weapons, human rights violations in Laos, South Korea's chaotic presidential election and the revival of nuclear power in The Philippines.
China in space: lone ranger or cooperative power?
“To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is our eternal dream”. This declaration from President Xi Jinping reflects the outlines of China’s strategy in outer space. While the country shares various similarities with fellow space powers, one can wonder about China’s space strategy considering its tense situation within the international community. Are they playing the lone wolf, or are they willing to contribute to mankind’s biggest challenges?
￼Party-state Capitalism: China's way of dealing with political conflicts
Party-state capitalism has emerged as a new term to describe China's political-economic dynamics as the Chinese Communist Party expands its institutional control over the economic sector and reduces its autonomy. While Western observers criticize the growing politicization of the economy, party-state capitalism is a necessary tool to reduce conflicts arising from the transition from one development stage to another.
The peculiar hype around ‘ugly’ buildings in China
Extravagant architectural structures attract attention in many ways. They can either evoke admiration, prestige and beauty, or they can cause outrage, irritation or ridicule. While the concept of beauty in building design depends on individual taste and local context, China struggles with what is generally considered ‘ugly’ architecture - prompting discussions of vanity, regulation and the emergence of a new self-consciousness in architectural spheres.
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - February 2022
After a long winter break, we are finally back to deliver news on recent events. This weeks featured stories: The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, former South Korea president Park Geun-hye pardoned, the Hong Kong elections, Japan's controversial travel ban and diplomatical developments between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
If winter comes, can spring be far behind?--Interview with the Chinese Embassy in Sweden
Topics: Cross-Strait Relations, China-Sweden relationship, China exploration, mutual understanding
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - November 2021
News in October: China's energy crisis intensifies, further tensions in the Taiwan Strait, Japan goes to the polls, South Korea's growing entertainment industry and new electoral system proposed in Myanmar.
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - October 2021
In September: Japan’s ruling party elects a new leader, Huawei’s Meng Wenzhou returns to China, South Korea discusses ban on dog meat, ICC launches investigation into the war on drugs in the Philippines, and missile launches from both Koreas.
Legalism and Rule of Law
In recent years there has been a surge of legal reform in China. The heavy promotion on “Xi Jinping’s thought on the rule of law” have reignited the discussion on China’s historical legal traditions and practices. Amidst these discussions Legalism has sometimes been deemed the “Chinese version of rule of law” by scholars such as Fu Zhengyuan. In this article I will lay out some of the similarities and differences between these two legal traditions and explain why Legalism is not rule of law but rather rule by law.
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - SEPTEMBER 2021
This month news review, features Japans preparation for the upcoming elections, ongoing conflict in Myanmar, economic turmoil in China, a new government in Malaysia, as well as the appeal of one of the last Khmer Rouge leaders
Last month in East and Southeast Asia - April 2021
This month's mix: unending turmoil in Myanmar, bilateral talks in Washington and architectural discussions in China. Aaaah, and the Oscars of course! And Thailand's new bid to revitalize tourism.
Minority Language Policy in China: An Extrapolation
Culture and identity are shaped and borne by language. But when language becomes a tool of political interests, that culture and identity can come under imminent threat. THE LUNAR TIMES spoke to Colin Williams of Cardiff University to explore notions of if and how the language revitalization process of Wales might give insight to the trajectory of regional languages being squeezed into a corner by the Chinese State.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- February 2021
Gaffes and gender inequality in Japan, ongoing political unrest in Myanmar, Clubhouse in China. And there is more: turnover at the WTO leadership and an eminent debate on economic recession in North Korea.
China + Vietnam - The convoluted romance between manufacturing shifts and supply chain diversification
Disruptions such as trade wars and a global pandemic have disclosed the vulnerability and interdependencies along multinational production networks more than ever before. Particularly firms active in China have now started looking into more resilient manufacturing and sourcing strategies and are eyeing Vietnam. A ”China + Vietnam strategy“, however, not only offers new opportunities, but also outlines the limits and dark sides of current modes in global production.
Lunar New Year: The Economic Impact on China
The Lunar New Year reunites friends and family across East Asian countries. Like hardly any other festive seasons, this massive holiday carries not only a high traditional, but also a tremendous economic value for any country celebrating it. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, there are a lot of changes in the economic growth over the past year. Photo Credit: Fritz Hoffmann.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- January 2021
A military coup in Vietnam! Leadership turnover in Laos and the CCP's planning for the Lunar New Year. Indonesia's plane crash. And Tokyo Olympics: YES or NO?
Chinese science fiction: The final frontier?
Space travel and technological greatness, mind-controlled sharks, grotesque images of human degeneration and excessive capitalist development, intergalactic warfare, and the limits of human morality. These are the images Chinese science-fiction has portrayed in one of the country’s most vibrant contemporary literary genres. Its continuing mission: to reflect on the new frontiers of fear and uncertainty, and boldly go where no man has gone before.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- December 2020
Laos inaugurates its first highway, while Brunei's caught up in a festive mood for its December Festival! The dark side of Asia: exploitation of couriers in South Korea and the curtailment of human rights in China and the Philippines.
That time of the year: Christmas 2020 Special
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- November 2020
The Milk Tea Alliance: HK and Thailand united in protests. And economically: after years of negotiations, the RCEP sees the light. Rocky elections in Myanmar.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- October 2020
Back in Thailand for the ongoing protests. North Korea's showcase of nuclear might. China's swift economic recovery. Press-freedom repression in Vietnam and...a shaking food cult in Japan.
Developments in Postmodernist Chinese Art
From the 1960s onwards, China went through a series of historically important events. As history goes hand in hand with art, events such as the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square student-led protests caused changes in the creation and perception of art. After the transition to postmodernism occurred, Chinese art was marked by a radical change from naive idealisation of Western democratic values, to a more reflexive attitude towards the West and its own self-identity.
Behind the East Asian ‘history wars’
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- September 2020
Vehement protests in Thailand, diplomatic tensions in Beijing and tensions in Myanmar! Ah, and a new PM in Japan and a...curious case of smuggling in Vietnam!
The dogs of Beijing
What started as a silly game among exchange students revealed a political and social issue in the city of Beijing. Since 2003 “dangerous” dog breeds and those reaching a height of more than 35 centimeters are banned from the capital’s inner districts. Interestingly, it took the city’s authorities 10 years until the law was strictly enforced. Since then regulations got more stringent. The article sums up the events and aims to incorporate the issue into the broader historical background of dog keeping in China.
Beware the Kpop stans!
Passionate, internet savvy and powered by a strong political conscience: these are Kpop stans, the young fans of Korean pop music who recently made headlines for their political activism. Armed with a keyboard and backed up by a powerful network, Kpop stans are engaging with current political and social issues through a fervent online activity. But who really are these new political militants?