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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 "Internet"

Lynx, Mukden, Mooncakes, and Chinese Hackers

by Adam Segal
Freshly-baked mooncakes pass along a conveyor belt at a mooncakes factory in Shanghai on September 12, 2013. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters) Freshly-baked mooncakes pass along a conveyor belt at a mooncakes factory in Shanghai on September 12, 2013. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters)

After a summer dominated by revelations of U.S. espionage and offensive cyber operations, Chinese hackers are back in the news. Three stories do a good job of illustrating that Chinese hackers are not a monolithic group, but rather multiple actors with manifold motivations. Read more »

China’s Internet Suppression Tactics Diffuse into Southeast Asia

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Anti-government protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks use an iPad in front of riot policemen during a rally outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on June 9, 2013. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-government protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks use an iPad in front of riot policemen during a rally outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on June 9, 2013. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Courtesy Reuters)

In an excellent new piece on Voice of America (VOA) news, Steve Herman analyzes how several nations in Southeast Asia appear to be moving to “emulate China” in the way that these countries, like China, regulate and harshly restrict social media. In Thailand, for example, which has one of the harshest climate for Internet speech in the world—despite being theoretically a democracy—the government is now moving to crack down on Facebook users who just post or “like” any articles that could be deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy. Unlike in most other countries that still have lèse-majesté laws on the books, Thailand actually enforces its  lèse-majesté laws, and anyone—not just the king, queen, and other royals—can file a lèse-majesté charge against anyone else in Thailand. As a result, the  lèse-majesté law has become an oppressive tool of political repression by all sides in Thailand’s never ending political drama. Read more »

Charles T. McClean: Getting Out the Youth Vote in Japan

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Interns of the non-profit organization Dot JP celebrate the end of their two-month internships in the offices of Japanese politicians from the Kansai region September 22, 2012 (Courtesy of Dot JP's Facebook page). Students from the Kansai region celebrate the end of their two-month internships in the offices of Japanese politicians, which were arranged by the non-profit organization Dot JP September 22, 2012 (Courtesy of Dot JP).

Charles T. McClean is a Research Associate for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Japan’s future is the subject of headlines these days, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in the latest election has focused attention on his policy agenda. Yet much remains uncertain about what this summer’s election means for Japan’s future. The decade-long experiment in political reform in Japan seems to have come to an end, and many read the return to power of the Liberal Democratic Party as a mandate for stability and a return to the political practices of the past. Read more »

Blair Rapalyea: Brazil, Internet Freedom, and Foreign Surveillance

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a meeting of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on February 6, 2013. (Ueslei Marcelino/Courtesy Reuters) Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a meeting of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on February 6, 2013. (Ueslei Marcelino/Courtesy Reuters)

Several previous posts have covered China’s reaction to PRISM, the NSA’s surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden. While Brazil usually falls outside of Asia Unbound’s coverage, this guest post by Blair Rapalyea, an intern for the Cybersecurity and Cyberconflict Initiative at the Council on Foreign Relations, shows how another emerging Internet power is reacting. There are some notable similarities—a focus on domestic technology and a look to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to play a greater role in Internet governance—but also some important differences as Brazil champions individual and Internet rights. Read more »

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

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A view from on board North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" docked at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 16, 2013. Panama detained the North Korean-flagged ship from Cuba as it headed to the Panama Canal and said it was hiding weapons in brown sugar containers, sparking a standoff in which the ship's captain attempted to commit suicide. (Carlos Jasso/Courtesy Reuters) A view from on board North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" docked at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 16, 2013. (Carlos Jasso/Courtesy Reuters)

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

1. China’s economy slows in the second quarter. China’s economic growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, the second straight quarter of declining growth. Chinese officials encouraged local governments to speed up spending to support economic growth, though they have asserted that China’s main economic indicators were within a “reasonable range.” The International Monetary Fund is less confident, stating that “since the global crisis, a mix of investment, credit, and fiscal stimulus has underpinned [Chinese economic] activity. This pattern of growth is not sustainable and is raising vulnerability.” Read more »

The Positive That Might Have Come Out the U.S.-China Cybersecurity Working Group

by Adam Segal
(L-R) Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leave after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) Joint Opening Session at the State Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Courtesy Yuri Gripas/Reuters) (L-R) Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leave after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) Joint Opening Session at the State Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Courtesy Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The first meeting of the U.S.-China Working Group on cybersecurity has ended, and preliminary reviews are fairly positive. Xinhua reports that “the two sides held candid in-depth discussions” and that Washington and Beijing have signaled their intention to improve cooperation in cyberspace. A senior U.S. government official rolled out the old chestnut of “constructive discussions,” but also noted that both sides made “practical proposals to increase our cooperation and build greater understanding and transparency.”

The United States raised the issue of “cyber-enabled” espionage during the working group, and cyber espionage is on the agenda during the high-level meetings of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Read more »

Sharone Tobias: Internet and Press Freedom in Taiwan

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
A general view shows booths at the 2013 Computex exhibition, the world's second largest computer show, in Taipei World Trade Center on June 3, 2013. (Pichi Chuang/Courtesy Reuters) A general view shows booths at the 2013 Computex exhibition, the world's second largest computer show, in Taipei World Trade Center on June 3, 2013. (Pichi Chuang/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias is a Research Associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Earlier this month, Taiwanese Internet advocacy groups succeeded in shutting down an anti-piracy bill similar to the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bill was an amendment to the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office’s Copyright Act, and would have forced Internet service providers to block a list of domains or IP addresses connected to websites and services that enable illegal file sharing. The plan would have allowed Taiwan’s bureaucracies to create a blacklist for websites and peer-to-peer sharing tools like BitTorrent, rather than blocking individual videos and files as the law currently allows. Read more »

Defending an Open, Global Internet: China Is Not the Only Challenge, But Is a Big One

by Adam Segal
Task Force Report: Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet Task Force Report: Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet

Yesterday the Council on Foreign Relations released a new Task Force Report, “Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet.” The report, co-chaired by Ambassador John Negroponte, former U.S. director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state, and Samuel J. Palmisano, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of IBM, and directed by me, suggests a policy framework based on four pillars. Read more »

Obama, Xi, and Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

In the run up to the “shirt-sleeves” summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama, which will take place at the Sunnylands estate in California on June 7-8, one of the questions has been how would Obama raise the cyber espionage issue. An approach that directly calls out the seriousness of the attacks but indirectly hints at the possible sanctions seems the most likely. This would be a “good cop, bad cop” approach. Obama would stress that Chinese attacks, especially on the private sector, needed to be dialed back, but that Washington also wanted to continue working with Beijing on a range of issues, including Iran, North Korea denuclearization, and climate change. Obama would also hint that there is a great deal of legislation being considered that might lead to sanctions on Chinese companies and travel restrictions on individuals, and that China should work with him to prevent that from happening. Read more »

Mihoko Matsubara: A Roadmap for U.S.-Japan Cybersecurity Cooperation

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey (centre R) stands below flags of Japan (L) and the U.S. as he talks to U.S. military personnel stationed at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on April 25, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters/Yuya Shino) U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey (centre R) stands below flags of Japan (L) and the U.S. as he talks to U.S. military personnel stationed at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on April 25, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters/Yuya Shino)

This is a blog post by Mihoko Matsubara, a cybersecurity analyst and adjunct fellow at the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

On May 9-10, 2013, American and Japanese governments held the first U.S.-Japan Cyber Dialogue in Tokyo. This meeting comes nineteen months after the two sides met in September 2011, for the first working-level dialogue on cybersecurity. These meetings have set a good foundation for cooperation, but they must be followed by concrete steps if Tokyo and Washington truly want to make cybersecurity a cornerstone of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Read more »