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Asia Unbound

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

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Showing posts for "Elizabeth C. Economy"

Podcast: Fifteen Minutes With Joshua Wong

by Elizabeth C. Economy
joshua-wong-demosisto Student leader Joshua Wong celebrates after candidate Nathan Law won a seat in the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong, September 5, 2016. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

When Hong Kong police cleared the streets of Umbrella Movement protestors in December 2014, many feared for the fate of the city’s democracy movement. But two years later, in September’s elections, a handful of those same protestors won triumphant victories in Legislative Council elections. Joshua Wong, the twenty-year-old secretary general of the political party Demosistō, sat down with me last week to stress the importance of this moment to his shared fight for self-determination. Will democracy advocates be able to accomplish their aims through their new positions? And how far is Beijing willing to go in order to intervene in Hong Kong affairs and suppress democratic activities? Read more »

Podcast: The True Story of North Korea’s Abduction Project

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A rally celebrating the success of a recent nuclear test is held in Kim Il Sung square in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 13, 2016. KCNA/via Reuters A rally held in North Korea’s Kim Il Sung square in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang (KCNA/via Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Robert Boynton, the author of The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea’s Abduction Project, takes us inside Pyongyang’s strange and sinister program to recruit spies and language teachers by seizing foreign nationals. More than a dozen Japanese citizens vanished from coastal cities without a trace in the 1970s and 1980s. Read more »

Podcast: The Changing Face of Myanmar

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Porters wait for business in an older part of Yangon December 3, 2011. Hours after Hillary Clinton finished the first visit in more than half a century by a U.S. Secretary of State to Myanmar, property prices began to soar. The price hike reflects shoots of optimism among investors sizing up the resource-rich, former British colony following the most dramatic changes since the military took power in what was then known as Burma in a 1962 coup. To match Insight MYANMAR-INVESTMENT/ REUTERS/Damir Sagolj Porters wait for business in an older part of Yangon. Property prices in the city increased dramatically following Hillary Clinton’s visit to Myanmar in 2011, with the price hike reflecting shoots of optimism among investors about the opening of the resource-rich, former British colony. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Richard Cockett, former Southeast Asia correspondent for the Economist and author of Blood, Dreams and Gold: The Changing Face of Burma, weaves a vivid narrative of Myanmar’s colonial past and its legacy for the nation today. As he brings to life the tumultuous history of Southeast Asia’s newest democracy, Cockett highlights the role of the “plural society,” a mercantilist jumble of ethnicities brought together under British rule to exploit local resources. Read more »

Podcast: The Future of U.S. Statecraft in Asia

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur December 13, 2012. Seen in the background is a display of traditional Malay "songket" fabric. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur on December 13, 2012. Seen in the background is a display of traditional Malay "songket" fabric. (Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters)

“The lion’s share of the history of the 21st century is going to play out in Asia,” states Kurt Campbell, the former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, on this week’s Asia Unbound podcast. Asia is now the top market for U.S. exports and home to 60 percent of the world’s top arms importers.

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Podcast: Live From the Stockholm China Forum

by Elizabeth C. Economy
stockholm-forum-2016

Earlier this month in Washington, I had the pleasure of recording a live Asia Unbound podcast at the Stockholm China Forum with four outstanding Asia experts: Aaron Friedberg, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University; Jane Perlez, chief diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times in Beijing; Michael Schiffer, senior advisor and counselor on the Senate Foreign Relations committee; and David Rennie, Washington bureau chief of the Economist. Read more »

Podcast: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Schoolgirls practice martial arts during an event in Ahmedabad, India, December 16, 2015, to mark the third anniversary of the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in December 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave Schoolgirls practice martial arts during an event in Ahmedabad, India on December 16, 2015, to mark the third anniversary of the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in December 2012. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

Over the course of the next decade, one million Indians are predicted to turn eighteen each month and India will be the youngest nation on earth by 2020. These young people are making new demands on their government such as greater job creation, improved teacher quality, and better air quality in cities. Are Indian leaders prepared to respond to these calls? Read more »

Podcast: Young Lives in New China

by Elizabeth C. Economy
young-lives-new-china A student gestures as she walks out of a school among other students after taking the final test of the national college entrance exams in Huaibei, Anhui province, June 8, 2014. (China Daily/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Alec Ash, author of Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China, gives of glimpse of today’s China through the varied stories of its young adults. Ash beautifully profiles six of his Chinese peers born in the late 1980s and 90s—such as Fred, the patriotic daughter of an official, and Lucifer, an aspiring superstar—who are only children with no memories of Mao or Tiananmen. Ash describes a generation with lofty ambitions and the energy and confidence to shape their own destinies. Yet at the same time he finds their lives are also constrained by a kind of powerlessness. Read more »

Podcast: India and China’s Brave New World

by Elizabeth C. Economy
modi-xi-g20 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the West Lake State Guest House ahead of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, September 4, 2016. (Wang Zhao/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Anja Manuel, cofounder and partner at RiceHadleyGates and author of This Brave New World: India, China and the United States, offers her prescription for how the United States can understand and engage with Asia’s two largest rising powers. Manuel compares and contrasts Indian and Chinese history, leaders, and trajectories, ultimately arriving at a pair of distinct national ambitions: China aims to regain its long-lost place on center stage, and India wishes to re-engage with the world after being relatively isolated since independence. Read more »

Podcast: Myanmar’s “Democratic” Reform

by Elizabeth C. Economy
nld-rally Supporters of Myanmar’s pro-democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi gather outside National League for Democracy headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, November 9, 2015. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Earlier this week, as the latest stop on an historic visit to the United States, Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi made her first official appearance before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Last week she met with U.S. President Barack Obama, who announced plans to lift sanctions on Myanmar to ensure that “the people of Burma see rewards from a new way of doing business and a new government.” But are Myanmar’s citizens really experiencing a “new government,” and is Aung San Suu Kyi’s political performance measuring up to her renown as a symbol for democratic change?

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Podcast: The Perfect Dictatorship

by Elizabeth C. Economy
wukan-protests Villagers, including schoolchildren, take part in a protest against the arrest of village chief Lin Zuluan in Wukan, in China's Guangdong province, June 22, 2016. (James Pomfret/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Stein Ringen, emeritus professor at the University of Oxford and author of The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century, gives us his take on the Chinese party-state. He dubs China today a “controlocracy,” a sophisticated dictatorship that values its grip on power above all else. Ringen believes that Xi Jinping’s anticorruption campaign aims not just to flush out political rivals or protect state coffers, but to root out competing power centers that subvert Beijing’s control. His book is as exacting and stark as a Jo Nesbø novel—and his conclusions are just as grim. Read more »