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Asia Unbound

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

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Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of April 19, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Members of the People's Liberation Army guard of honour stand with red flags during an official welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing on April 15, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters/Jason Lee) Members of the People's Liberation Army guard of honour stand with red flags during an official welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing on April 15, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters/Jason Lee)

Sharone Tobias and Will Piekos look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. China released a white paper on defense on Tuesday. The 2013 National Defense White Paper blamed Japan and the United States for the rise in tensions in the region (in so many words). It complained about neighboring countries for “making trouble over the Diaoyu islands,” referring to Japan. It also referenced the United States, saying, “some country has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation tenser.”
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China’s Brain Drain Gives Way to a Yuan Drain

by Elizabeth C. Economy
An employee seals a stack of yuan banknotes at a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Huaibei, Anhui province on April 6, 2011.

An employee seals a stack of yuan banknotes at a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Huaibei, Anhui province on April 6, 2011. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

China has long acknowledged that it has a problem with its best and brightest leaving the country to study and not returning. According to the Chinese Ministry of Education, only around a quarter of the 1.4 million Chinese students and scholars who have left the country since it opened up to the outside world in the late 1970s have returned. Now with its rapidly growing GDP and burgeoning state coffers, Beijing is in a position to try to turn the situation around. In 2008, it launched its “1000 Talents Program” designed to bring top notch global talent to China. By providing strong financial and research incentives to the some of the world’s leading lights scholars, the program has had some notable successes. It is too early to tell, however, how well these returnees—or foreign talent—will be able to adapt their talents from abroad to the political culture that many of them fled a decade or more ago.

Having made a head-start in addressing one of its problems of human capital, Beijing must now gird itself to address another. Even as China seems to be importing back its top academic talent, it appears to be on the brink of losing its top wealth-making talent. Read more »

Why We Aren’t China

by Evan A. Feigenbaum

My latest “DC Diary” column is out in India’s leading financial daily, the Business Standard.  The piece tries to hone in on some qualities that increasingly bind Indian and American business—qualities that, I think, got a bit lost amid the high-profile commercial diplomacy surrounding President Obama’s November 5-8 visit to India.

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