InFocus

The In Focus blog features opinions and analyses of topics related to contemporary and modern Asia. We welcome well-written contributions from post-docs and established researchers, MA and PhD students as well as journalists and experts on Asia.

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23. Nov 2021

Opinion – China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Pragmatism over Morals?

InFocus

By Tabita Rosendal, Ph.D. student at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden and an affiliate at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen, Denmark.

Is China beating the US and EU through its pragmatic approach towards cooperation under the “Belt and Road” Initiative (“一带一路”倡议) (BRI)? Despite the advent of the US’ “Build Back Better World” (B3W) and the EU’s “Connecting Europe Globally” (CEG), evidence from Sri Lanka suggests that some countries still look to China for support due to the ‘no-strings-attached’ nature of its investments. The stark reality is that China’s “pragmatic values”, combined with loans, may outcompete the two Western initiatives.

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18. Oct 2021

Competitive Hindutva

Hinduism, InFocus, political parties, religion

Moumita Sen, Associate Professor of Culture Studies at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society  Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo The run-up to next year’s state assembly elections in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh vividly shows us the extent to which political parties across the […]

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5. Feb 2021

Making sense of Myanmar’s coup

InFocus

Mikael Gravers, Aarhus University: Early in the morning on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw) arrested President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, along with other high-ranking National League for Democracy (NLD) members. As the military staged the coup, armoured cars and soldiers guarded radio and television stations and the […]

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4. Feb 2021

Life Under the Radar: Female North Korean Migrants Living in China.

InFocus

Kate Allanson, MA North Korean Studies Student, University of Central Lancashire: A life underground or risk repatriation. This is the choice many North Korean migrants are faced with once they cross the Yalu River, setting foot on Chinese ground. North Koreans hold no refugee status once in China, receive no governmental aid and encounter no […]

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1. Jul 2020

A New Cold War? Can we maintain good academic relationships with China post Covid-19?

InFocus

Jørgen Delman, University of Copenhagen: As a social scientist working in the field of Chinese politics, I note with interest the speed with which perceptions of China changed these last months. A Cold War mentality is detectable. We hear from many parts of the world that China’s rise as a superpower is a challenge to […]

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22. Jun 2020

What’s Past Is Prologue – The Geopolitical Significance of Covid-19 for Southeast Asia

InFocus

Ann Maire Murphy, Seton Hall University As countries begin to reopen during the Covid-19 pandemic, strategic analysts are debating its impact on the future of geopolitics. Some contend that the pandemic could reshape the global order, accelerating China’s rise to international leadership while hastening the decline of the United States. Others argue that predictions of […]

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25. May 2020

Tackling intimate partner violence is not of interest to China

InFocus

 by Pia Eskelinen,  Doctoral Candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Turku.   In early 2016, a legislation on domestic violence was implemented in China. However, the law does not provide adequate protection for the victims. And furthermore, intimate partner violence is often seen as normal thing within families or in other close relationships. In […]

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24. Apr 2020

This Virus Is Tough, but History Provides Perspective: The 1968 Pandemic and the Vietnam War

InFocus

By Nathaniel L. Moir, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University   2020 has been a rough year.  1968 was worse.  Granted, as of late April, we are only a third of the way into this tumultuous and frustrating new decade.  Unless the United States goes to war, loses important and mostly celebrated political […]

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15. Apr 2020

Covid-19: The test of Pashtuns’ mechanical solidarity

InFocus

By Naveed Ahmad Shinwari, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex At the time of writing this piece, Pakistan stood at number 33 in the list of countries affected by Covid-19 with 5,038 citizens having tested positive out of 61,801 tested. A total of 1,026 have recovered from the illness, while 86 Pakistanis have sadly […]

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14. Apr 2020

Calm in the Eye of the Cyclone

InFocus

By Jakub Polansky, University of Sussex In August 2019, I embarked on a year-long journey to Khorog, a town in the south-eastern part of Tajikistan, to research cross-border trade along the Afghan-Tajik border. As part of my fieldwork, I recently drove to the local bazaar to talk to the owners of Khorog’s second-hand clothes businesses. […]

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