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What the Year of the Rat Holds for China

AdvertisementThe year of the metal rat (2020) officially starts on January 25. The rat is the first zodiac sign of Chinese astrology, and for this reason, many consider 2020 a year of renewal. The metal rat, in particular, is known to turn unfortunate events into fortunate ones. The zodiac characterization coincidentally fits well with this lunar year’s forecast. China will try to arrest and further mitigate the setbacks of 2019, regroup and rese..

SE Asia Survey Shows Narrow Preference for United States amid US-China Rivalry

If ASEAN were forced to choose between China and the United States, a majority of respondents to a survey of residents of the Southeast Asian bloc would choose Uncle Sam, according to a Singaporean think-tank report published Thursday. But the survey by the ASEAN Studies Center at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute also found significant support for China and “a trust deficit” toward the United States. Of the survey’s 1,300 respondents, 53.6 per..

Police Attacked First in Vietnam’s Dong Tam Clash, Witness Reports Say

Police attacked first in a deadly clash over a land dispute in Hanoi’s Dong Tam commune on Jan. 9 that claimed the lives of an elderly community leader and three police officers, a new report drawn from multiple witness reports says, contradicting official accounts. Released on Thursday and circulated to human rights organizations and foreign embassies in Vietnam, the report, published in English and titled “Fighting Over Senh Field: A Report on ..

What Does the Thailand Army Chief’s Trip to Indonesia’s Aceh Mean?

AdvertisementThis week, Thailand’s army chief paid a visit to Indonesia’s Aceh province. While the trip was scheduled and tied to the signing of an intelligence-sharing agreement, the rare publicized visit to Aceh by a Thai military official nonetheless generated speculation about the broader significance of the development. Although Thailand and Indonesia have bilateral diplomatic ties dating back to 1950, their security ties have been slower to..

Absurdity Reigns Supreme in Kyrgyzstan’s Neverending Atambayev Fiasco

AdvertisementIt might be a new year, but Kyrgyzstan’s legal system and former President Almazbek Atambayev are still locked in stalemate. Back in August, The Diplomat’s managing editor Catherine Putz took stock of high-profile arrests and investigations in Kyrgyzstan. At the time, Kyrgyz authorities and society were still catching their breath after Atambayev was taken into custody on August 8 following a disastrous attempt to detain him the day..

UN Rohingya Genocide Case Court Ruling Set for Next Week

AdvertisementThe United Nations’ top court announced Wednesday that it will issue a decision next week on a request to order Myanmar to halt what has been cast as a genocidal campaign against the southeast Asian country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. The West African nation of Gambia, on behalf of a large organization of Islamic nations, asked the International Court of Justice last month to take “all measures within its power to prevent all acts th..

Widening Wealth Gap in North Korea Creates a New Type of ‘Serfdom’

As a growing gap between North Korea’s rich and poor continues to get wider, more and more of the country’s poor are trying to find work as servants of the better off. North Korea provides each of its citizens with a monthly salary. For much of the country’s history, this was enough to live on, but these days, the salary, which amounts to about U.S. $5 is nowhere near sufficient. Now, in order to survive, people have had to go into business for..

Up In Smoke: Australia’s Bushfires Darken Economic Outlook

AdvertisementAustralia is counting the cost of climate change, as “unprecedented” wildfires (known locally as “bushfires”) wreak havoc not only on humans and animals, but also on the economy. As of Sunday local time, 28 people had been killed and over 2,000 houses destroyed in the record-breaking bushfires that have burned more than 20 million acres (8.4 million hectares) – an area equivalent to the size of South Carolina or Scotland. More than a..

Civilian Killed in Violent Land Clash in Vietnam Identified as Elderly Community Leader

A civilian killed during a violent clash over a land dispute that also left three policemen dead has been identified as the elderly leader of a group of villagers protesting a military airport construction site near Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, state media said Friday. Le Dinh Kinh, 84, was killed Thursday as farmers from Dong Tam commune threw grenades and petrol bombs at police in the latest flare-up of the long-running dispute, which also saw a f..

Blockchain in China: A Solution in Need of a Problem

AdvertisementLast October, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that China would “seize the opportunity” investing in blockchain, stressing that China should join the world in setting standards for this emerging technology. Xi’s announcement will jump-start China’s formidable blockchain activity, where state support often translates to easy financing and subsidies. Since last March, searches for blockchain on Baidu, China’s top search engine, ju..

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