Japan’s Abduction Issue: Why Japan-North Korea Relations Remain at a Standstill
Prior to 2002, the idea that Japanese nationals were once abducted and transported back to North Korea was labelled as a conspiracy theory by the Kim regime. This was until the Japan-North Korea summit meeting held in Pyongyang on September 17, 2002. The Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had hoped for three outcomes: for North Korea to agree they will no longer seek compensation and reparations, but rather economic cooperation; for North Korea to pledge to maintain international agreements on its nuclear programme and the moratorium on its missile testing programme; and finally, for North Korea to acknowledge the 1970s and 1980s abductions of Japanese nationals (Hughes, 2002, p.61). Few people expected North Korea to formally acknowledge their crimes, making the events of the summit and of the months to follow even more astounding.Read more
Globalism or Nationalism? Chinese Public Discourse on COVID-19 Vaccines
On 11 March 2020, COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Subsequently, the pandemic impacted the lives of millions of people. It is widely accepted that the development of COVID-19 vaccines would be a significant step in controlling the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 vaccines also have triggered heated discussions on social media in the PRC, I conducted an online observation from 9 October 2020 to 9 February 2021 on Sina Weibo to collect data on discussions about COVID-19 vaccines.
Life as “humineral”? What is behind China’s high-tech boom?
In early 2023, the term “human mine” or “huminerals” (renkuang 人矿) has sparked a widespread discussion on the Chinese Internet (China Digital Times, 2023). The term first appeared in 1984 in the People’s Daily to describe Chinese workers as a kind of material resource for economic development. Forty years later, young talents in the high-tech industry have used the term to criticise how their lives are used as “consumables” and exploited continuously. What is the underlying logic behind the sudden popularity of the term? How do young talents in urban China experience their work and life?Read more
Could the Kanjuruhan stadium disaster spark Indonesian police reform?
The 1st of October disaster at the football stadium on Java, in which 135 people lost their lives, is the second-worst footballing tragedy in history. Might it spark Indonesian police reform?Read more
Workshops outdoors: means of coping amidst COVID-19 online mode in Suzhou, China
Amidst global pandemic of COVID-19, online learning and teaching, video conferencing and online meetings are oftentimes treated as the new normal. Students, tutors, employees and supervisors are expected to accept it and perform as effectively as under face to face situation. However, online mode sustained over periods of longer time, e.g. several months, often results in decreased motivation, lesser ability to concentrate, and general fatigue. While exercise programs and other coping methods indoors are being suggested, there is still limited information available on best strategies to alleviate online learning challenges. Learning outdoors, when possible and relevant, would offer more comprehensive experience of inquiry and healing effects of nature that offers deep replenishment.Read more
Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction
What happens when the city you live in changes so rapidly that space melts into time and your memories can find no recognisable place to take hold? This kind of morphing urban reality was and is experienced by many in east Asian mega cities, where what cultural critic Dai Jinhua calls the “destructiveness of construction work” (“Imagined Nostalgia.” Boundary 2 24 (3), 1997: 146) is a defining factor. For cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taipei, the 1990s saw a new level of urban transformation that fundamentally affected quotidian ways of life and urban identities, a tendency that continued well into the 21st century. In her new monograph Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction, Astrid Møller-Olsen argues that fiction writing has the ability to capture both the sense of ongoing transformation and the complex and often ambiguous identity politics that follow.Read more
Bernard Fall: A Soldier of War in Europe, A Scholar of War in Asia
Over the last fifty years, a lack of analysis on Bernard B. Fall (1926-1967) and his scholarship has been a significant gap in the historiography on the First Indochina War (1946-1954) and the Second Indochina War (1955-1975). Since the Vietnam War ended, the failure to recognize how military force cannot compensate for the lack of a politically attainable goal remains prevalent. As Fall once remarked, “A U.S. Marine can fly a helicopter better than anyone else, but he cannot give a Vietnamese farmer an ideology to believe in.” In much the same way, a Russian pilot will not be able to convince Ukrainians that political reconciliation is possible. Rather, Russia’s unprovoked invasion has made its political legitimacy impossible to maintain – even through far-reaching propaganda – with every passing day that Russia continues to destroy the Ukrainian people and their country.Read more
Nationalist monks provide spiritual support to Myanmar’s brutal generals
Myanmar’s military receives arms and aircrafts from Russia and Belarus used against the widespread civilian resistance after the coup. At the same time nationalist monks provide spiritual support to the generals, and Buddhism played a crucial role in disrupting the ousted civilian government. The following is a brief analysis of how Buddhism functions in Myanmar’s politics.Read more
The People’s Map of Global China: Denmark profile
While Denmark retains its pragmatic approach to China and largely frames the Sino—Danish relationship in terms of economic diplomacy, controversies related to human rights have strained bilateral ties in recent years.Read more
Afghanistan: The Other Perspective
The on-going war in Ukraine may serve as a grim reminder of history- how rivalry between major powers for global political advantage pushes a country – the theatre of rivalry – towards an inevitable crisis situation, and a bleak, grim future remains the only possibility. Afghanistan of today bears the testimony of such a scenario, after the experience of a long era of political insecurity and instability. This article attempts to focus on the other perspective of security, the people-centric approach of human security scenario in Afghanistan, to search how a prolonged situation of uncertainty fails the country of its basic necessities of today, and even betrays its past potentials.Read more