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)
Category Archives: Articles in English
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)
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 »
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 »
[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 »
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 »
According to the most up-to-date list of participants announced by WHA, Chinese Taipei is put under the category of Observers after SMOM, ICRC, IFRC and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) (all of them gained observer status earlier than Chinese Taipei). As mentioned last time, this category ranks after Members, Associate Members and Observers for a Nonmember State (Holy See), and precedes Observers invited in accordance with Resolution WHA27.37 (Palestine) and representatives of IGOs and INGOs. Each of the other four members in this category has its exclusive international identity. SMOM is a territorial-free sovereign entity under international law. Despite lack of UN membership, it has established formal diplomatic relations with over 100 countries. ICRC and IFRC possess special status under international humanitarian regime principally the Geneva Convention. As for IPU, it is formed by parliaments of member countries that differs it from both IGOs and INGOs by nature.
The granting of observer status to Chinese Taipei by World Health Assembly (WHA) has been subject to bitter controversy in Taiwan recently. The major criticism by the pro-independence Pan-Green camp is that this so-called success is indeed achieved with the tacit consent of Beijing at the expense of Taiwan’s sovereignty. To prove the validity of such critic, let’s take a look at the “List of Delegates and Other Participants” of the 61st WHA in 2008 about the composition of WHA –