Category Archives: Articles in English

Online Commentaries of Southeast Asian Chinese Communities on the 2012 Myanmar By-Election

(Published in Asian Politics & Policy Volume 5 Issue 1 (January 2013), pp.155-162)

The recent political development of Myanmar is mythical. When the junta handed over power to the nominally elected civilian government under President Thein Sein in early 2011, almost no one would query the continued adoption of the junta’s conservative policy line by the presidency. However, the ex-general surprised everyone by putting forward a number of reform measures, the most notable of which includes lifting restrictions on the press, releasing all political prisoners, and amending legislation that allowed the prestigious opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to participate in elections.  The by-election of the parliament in April 2012 is no doubt the watershed in Myanmar politics that marks the beginning of a new page of reform and development in one of the least developed countries of the world.  Mainstream commentaries on the by-election concentrate on the election process and the impact of ASSK’s return to the political realm on national development in general and democratization in particular, as well as on the country’s external relations. Little attention has so far been paid to the views of specific communities in the country itself and the region as a whole. In this regard, it is interesting to see how the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia (SEA) perceive the Myanmar by-election… (for full text, please go to Asian Politics & Policy)


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Hong Kong’s network of external representation 香港對外代表網絡

Despite the fact that Hong Kong is a sub-national entity, the city has been maintaining an extensive network of economic and trade offices for representation in international organizations that Hong Kong serves as a member or observer, promoting relations with provinces in China and countries in the world, as well as providing assistance to Hong Kong residents in the Mainland and overseas.  This network helps strengthen Hong Kong’s international status as legally guaranteed under Article 156 of the Basic Law.  Its development has become a major characteristic and indicator of “One Country, Two Systems”.  Here is the list of the offices with their respective areas of coverage –

香港雖然並非主權國家,其在世界各地建立廣泛的經濟貿易辦事處網絡,負責處理香港作為會員或觀察員的國際組織事務,推動與中國各省份和世界各國的關係,以及協助身處內地和海外的香港居民。這個網絡協助鞏固香港的國際地位,並受《基本法》第156條的保障,其發展已成為一國兩制的主要特色和指標。以下列出香港經貿辦的名單以及它們的負責範圍: Read the rest of this entry »


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China’s Maritime Territorial Disputes: Origin, Application and Evaluation of the ‘Joint Development’ Formula

Territorial dispute has always been a major aspect of inter-state relations, especially for states bordering multiple neighbours.  With a land boundary of 22,117 km which claims to be the longest in the world, China borders 14 countries on land and has overlapping maritime claims in respect of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf with 8 countries.  China has so far been successful in settling land boundary disputes with all its neighbours except India.  However, the situation is much more complicated in the sea.  While China has already promulgated a number of laws governing its territorial sea, EEZ and continental shelf, the delimitation of its maritime frontier remains an outstanding issue which does not only affect China’s effective control and exploitation of its waters but also cultivation of stable relationships with neighbouring states… (full text)


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Beyond liberal market: The fallacy of developmental state as solution for LMIC economies

The most recent Global Financial Crisis has exposed intrinsic defects in liberal market economy.  People in lower middle-income countries (LMICs) started to look back in history for alternative modes of development.  Amongst them Developmental State (DS), a political economic model which puts emphasis on state-led macro-economic planning and control as commonly found in East Asian countries in late twentieth century, caught eyeballs once again in different parts of the world.

Once regarded as the magic formula of rapid catch-up by latecomers, nowadays it is arguable whether LMICs could still follow the same path of development as DS in the era of globalization.  The mainstream argument is that legal and policy constraints imposed by the WTO-led international trade regime limit countries’ policy autonomy to implement measures that were proved to be successful in the heyday of DS.  Apart from that, an easily neglected factor is the far-reaching impact of DS on entrepreneurial culture of an economy. Read the rest of this entry »


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English: A Microstate’s “Deterministic” Choice

Over the years there have been persistent debates over teaching languages in schools among overseas Chinese communities.  Singapore is no doubt the most typical example in this regard.  In his bestseller Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going published in 2011, the former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew talked about the possibility of bilingualism, opining that it is convincingly achievable.  If this is the case, it will mark a major shift in the country’s language policy, in which English is accorded primacy over other languages that has impacted significantly on all aspects of the country’s development.  A friend of mine, who is a Singaporean, remarked that the existing policy “has already bred a whole generation of ‘banana Chinese…’.”  While his statement would be a bit too critical, it reflects that after decades controversy over the policy has still not come to an end.  As an outsider with limited knowledge of the country, I am not in the best position to comment on the language policy of Singapore.  Here I try to trace its origin from the context of international relations and briefly discuss its implications. Read the rest of this entry »


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Singapura, are you ready to taste something different?

[The following article is a message I wrote to a Singaporean friend recently as a casual sharing on the parliamentary election of the Republic of Singapore to be held on 7 May 2011. Let see if the upcoming election would be a turning point of the country’s politics.]

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Nice to read your notes on the upcoming SG [=Singapore] election following our discussion two months ago. Read the rest of this entry »


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Forming an economic bloc of BRICS, a myth?

The BRICS summit was held in China last week. As in the past summits, people keep talking about the possibility for BRICS countries to form a long-term and stable alliance dedicated to global economic issue and even reform of global economic order. Read the rest of this entry »


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