CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

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

Japanese Public Opinion on Constitutional Revision in 2016

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith Monday, August 1, 2016
School girls pose for a selfie in the trendy Harajuku district in Tokyo, Japan, November 11, 2015 (Toru Hanai/REUTERS).  School girls pose for a selfie in the trendy Harajuku district in Tokyo, Japan, November 11, 2015 (Toru Hanai/REUTERS). 

This blog post is co-authored by Masatoshi Asaoka and Ayumi Teraoka, an intern and a research associate for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This is part of a series entitled Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?, in which leading experts discuss the prospects for revising Japan’s postwar constitution. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of July 29, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, July 29, 2016
Xi-Putin-meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, June 25, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Lincoln Davidson, Bochen Han, Theresa Lou, and Gabriella Meltzer look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. China and Russia to hold “routine” naval exercises in the South China Sea. China’s Ministry of National Defense announced on Thursday that China and Russia have scheduled cooperative naval exercises in the South China Sea for September. While China also stated that the naval exercises will be aimed at strengthening Russian-Chinese cooperation and are not directed at any other country, the announcement comes at a time of intensified strain between China and other Asian nations due to rival claims in the South China Sea. Read more »

Early Postwar Attitudes on Constitutional Revision

by Sheila A. Smith and Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith Thursday, July 28, 2016
Option-C-Japanese_family_me

This blog post is co-authored with Ayumi Teraoka, research associate for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and is part of a series entitled Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?, in which leading experts discuss the prospects for revising Japan’s postwar constitution. Read more »

Japanese Public Opinion on Constitutional Revision

by Sheila A. Smith Wednesday, July 27, 2016
A girl looks on as her mother casts her ballot for Japan's upper house election at a polling station in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2016 (Issei Kato/REUTERS). A girl looks on as her mother casts her ballot for Japan's upper house election at a polling station in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2016 (Issei Kato/REUTERS).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?, in which leading experts discuss the prospects for revising Japan’s postwar constitution. Read more »

Q&A on Cambodia with Sophal Ear

by Joshua Kurlantzick Monday, July 25, 2016
hun-sen-cambodia A Cambodian Muslim supporter takes a selfie with President of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and Prime Minister Hun Sen (C), after a ceremony at the party headquarters to mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the party in Phnom Penh on June 28, 2016. (Samrang Pring/Reuters)

Last week, I spoke via email with Sophal Ear, Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College, and author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy, about the current crisis in Cambodian politics. After a brief truce following elections in 2013, in which the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) shocked the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) by nearly winning control of the National Assembly, any semblance of détente has broken down. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of July 22, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, July 22, 2016
Loretta-1MDB U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announces the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than $1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB in Washington, July 20, 2016. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Lincoln Davidson, Bochen Han, Gabriella Meltzer, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Justice Department announces action against 1MDB. The ongoing scandal surrounding Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB took a dramatic turn this week when the U.S. Justice Department announced plans to seize $1 billion in assets as part of an investigation into money laundering and funds improperly taken from 1MDB. While the fund was intended to boost Malaysia’s development, some of the money appears to have instead gone toward enriching Prime Minister Najib Razak, his stepson, and other associates. Read more »

Podcast: The Dictator’s Dilemma: The Chinese Communist Party’s Strategy for Survival

by Elizabeth C. Economy Thursday, July 21, 2016
CCP-90th-celebration Participants wave flags of the Chinese Communist Party as they sing revolutionary songs during a celebration for the Party's upcoming ninetieth anniversary, on a square in Chongqing municipality, March 28, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters)

Are Chinese citizens unhappy with their government? Media coverage of corruption, pollution, and censorship might lead outsiders to believe that they are. But on this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Bruce Dickson, professor of political science and international affairs and director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University, offers evidence to the contrary. Read more »

The Impact of the U.S. Justice Department 1MDB Announcement on Malaysian Politics

by Joshua Kurlantzick Wednesday, July 20, 2016
U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announces the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than $1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB in Washington on July 20, 2016. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters) U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announces the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than $1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB in Washington on July 20, 2016. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

I could write a six hundred word blog before getting to the point here, but I will get right to it: The 1MDB asset seizure is likely to have minimal impact on Malaysian domestic politics. To recap … the U.S. Justice Department this morning announced it was filing “civil-forfeiture complaints against more than $1 billion of assets allegedly acquired using funds misappropriated from a Malaysian economic development fund,” known as 1MDB, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has extensively covered the 1MDB saga. Read more »

Chinese Human Smuggling and the U.S. Border Security Debate

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy Monday, July 18, 2016
The Arizona-Mexico border fence near Naco, Arizona, March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Samantha Sais The Arizona-Mexico border fence near Naco, Arizona on March 29, 2013. In the past year, the rate of human smuggling from China across certain portions of the U.S.-Mexico Border has increased. (Samantha Sais/Reuters)

Rachel Brown is a research associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Migration across the U.S.-Mexico border is the source of polarizing debate in American politics, but rarely is it coupled with another touchy political topic: China. News of an uptick in the number of Chinese citizens smuggled across the border into southern California thus came as a surprise. In June, the San Diego Border Patrol sector reported stopping approximately 663 migrants from China over the past eight months, a 1,281 percent increase from the previous year. Read more »