CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

What Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Means for the Rest of China

by Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, October 8, 2010

A policeman stands guard as reporters wait at the entrance of a residential compound where Liu Xia, the wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, lives in Beijing October 8, 2010. Imprisoned Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an announcement that Beijing had anticipated and bitterly criticised. Reuters/Petar KujundzicAll the political swirl surrounding Liu Xiaobo and his Nobel Peace Prize will soon die down, returning again no doubt when the prizes are actually awarded in December. For me, as I have written in previous postings, the import was as much about Liu, himself, as it was about the potential for the Nobel to act as a catalyst for broader political change within China. However you want to define that change, it is difficult to argue that the country wouldn’t benefit from greater transparency, the rule of law, and some form of real official accountability.
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What comes after gunpowder, paper, the compass, and printing?

by Adam Segal Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Four Great Inventions

The New York Times had a short piece yesterday, based on a longer report by Thomson Reuters, about how China is now poised to become the world leader in patent filings by 2011.  There has been a massive expansion of the number of patents filed in China–279,298 in 2009.  More importantly, Chinese firms are now filing within China at a rate almost two times higher than foreign firms.
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Quiet Bombs

by Joshua Kurlantzick Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A local resident watches from inside his damaged house as investigators inspect the site of a bombing in the suburbs of Bangkok

On Tuesday, a bombing at an apartment building in Bangkok killed three people and wounded four others. This attack got only minimal coverage in the international media – largely because, over the past six months, bombings have become routine in the Thai capital, which in the past, despite its reputation for sleazy nightlife, was a very safe city. There have been dozens of blasts in Bangkok over the past year (and bombings in regional capitals in Thailand as well), and though the police sometimes round up suspects, usually they seem stumped. “It was likely to have been a bomb but we don’t know which kind and why it was there,” the Thai metropolitan police spokesman told the Straits Times of Singapore. Well, that’s encouraging.

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Wen Jiabao’s Last Stand on Political Reform: Can he do it? Yes he can?

by Elizabeth C. Economy Monday, October 4, 2010

China's Premier Wen Jiabao (top) delivers a speech on a stage as other Chinese top leaders are seen at a reception marking the 61st anniversary of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 30, 2010. China celebrates its National Day on October 1.Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has thrown down the gauntlet. In a fascinating interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Wen committed himself to fight for political reform, even in the face of what he acknowledges is serious adversity. The interview should lay to rest all the speculation surrounding two speeches Wen delivered over the past six months—one in Beijing and one in Shenzhen—that hinted at a newly energized commitment to political change. After these speeches, no-one seemed quite sure whether Wen was actually saying something new. Given that no-one else in the Politburo is saying anything like this—or has in the past twenty years—I think Wen’s remarks qualify as not just new but pathbreaking. Just look at some of what he had to say to Fareed:
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A More Global U.S.-India Partnership?

by Evan A. Feigenbaum Monday, October 4, 2010

My latest “DC Diary” column is out in India’s financial daily, the Business Standard. And it’s premised on a pretty straightforward question about U.S.-India relations: Now that India has a seat at many of the top tables of international relations, why is America’s dialogue with India less global in scope than with any major power, even China? Read more »

The Seoul G20 Summit: Opportunity for and Challenge to Strengthening U.S.-Korea Relations

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder Friday, October 1, 2010
U.S. President George W. Bush greets South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak upon arrival at the White House before a dinner for the participants in the G20 Summit in Washington, DC November 14, 2008 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President George W. Bush greets South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak upon arrival at the White House before a dinner for the participants in the G20 Summit in Washington, DC November 14, 2008 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

Marcus Noland is Deputy Director and Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

A major, largely overlooked development of the recent financial crisis has been the emergence of the G20 as the informal steering committee of the world economy. In recent decades that function had been played by the G7, a group of rich industrial democracies. The shift from the G7 to the G20 signals the growing pluralism of world affairs and the rising influence of Asia. Read more »

Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize—Beijing should seize the moment

by Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, October 1, 2010

A demonstrator holds a picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo during a protest, urging Nobel peace prize recipient U.S. President Barack Obama to demand the Chinese government to release all dissidents, outside the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong October 23, 2009. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

As decision day nears for the Nobel Peace Prize nominations, the Chinese government has gone on high alert. Long-time Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo has once again been floated as a contender for this year’s Peace prize. Liu was trained as a scholar but has made his name by calling for political change—first as a Tiananmen activist and most recently for drafting Charter 08, a wide ranging manifesto for political reform in China. He is now in the midst of serving his third—and at eleven years his longest—prison term.
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