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  • Author: Malcolm Cook
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Northeast Asia is one of the most important crucibles of global economic and strategic change, and it is far from a stable one. The modern histories of China, Japan and South Korea were forged by Japan's colonisation of China and Korea and the Korean War that divided the peninsula and saw China on the side of North Korea and Japan on the side of South Korea. This recent history has left the bilateral relations on each side of this turbulent triangle strained by a lack of trust, popular antipathy and unresolved territorial disputes. As noted in the project's Beijing workshop, the stalled trilateral free trade agreement negotiations between the three Northeast Asian neighbours, launched with great hope in 1997, have been the victim of this turbulence and strain.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Nick Holdstock
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: On March 1st 2014 a knife-wielding group of ten people attacked passengers and passers-by in the railway station in Kunming, capital of China's south-western Yunnan province. Twenty-eight were killed and 113 injured. By the following day the government was describing the incident as a "separatist" attack perpetrated by "terrorists from Xinjiang". The attack in Kunming is the latest in a series of violent incidents in China that the government attributes to radical Islamist organisations that aim to promote what it calls the "Three Evils" of "terrorism, separatism and religious extremism". These acts have predominantly occurred in China's far western Xinjiang region, most recently in January and February 2014. Incidents in other parts of China have been attributed to the same forces.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Communism, Economics, Human Rights, Islam
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Chris Alden
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: China is on course to becoming more deeply involved in Africa's security landscape. While the motivation behind Chinese involvement remains primarily economic, the growing exposure of its interests to the vagaries of African politics, as well as pressures to demonstrate greater global activism, are bringing about a reconsideration of Beijing's approach to the continent. China faces threats on three fronts to its standing in Africa: reputational risks derived from its assocation with certain governments; risks to its business interests posed by mecurial leaders and weak regulatory regimes; and risks faced by its citizens operating in unstable African environments. Addressing these concerns poses challenges for Beijing, whose desire to play a larger role in security often clashes with the complexities of doing so while preserving Chinese foreign policy principles and economic interests on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Elling N. Tjønneland
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Much has been written about the role of the rising or emerging powers and their accelerating economic engagement in Africa. Much less is known about how they contribute to or impact on the African peace and security agenda. This report takes a comparative look at the roles of China, India, Brazil and South African in relation to the African Union and its African Peace and Security Architecture. Each of these four countries has a distinct commercial and corporate approach to Africa, despite a shared political commitment to South-South cooperation. However, as they extend their economic engagement they are becoming more sensitive to insecurity and volatility. The Asian and Latin American countries, which traditionally have strongly emphasised non-intervention, are gradually becoming more involved in the African security agenda. They are increasingly concerned about their image and reputation and the security of their citizens and business interests, and are becoming more prepared to act multilaterally and to work with others in facilitating security and stability. As an African power, South Africa plays a more direct role and has emerged as a major architect of the continent's evolving peace and security architecture. This report summarises elements from a broader research project on rising powers and the African peace and security agenda undertaken by CMI in cooperation with NOREF.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Derek M. Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign investment declined through mid-2014 for the first time since the financial crisis. By sector, energy draws the most investment, but a slump in energy spending means that metals and real estate have been more prominent so far in 2014. The United States has received the most Chinese investment since 2005, followed by Australia, Canada, and Brazil. China invests first in large, resource-rich nations but has also diversified by spending more than $200 billion elsewhere. Chinese investment benefits both China and the recipient nation, but host countries must consider thorny issues like Chinese cyberespionage and subsidies.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Terrorism, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Asia, Brazil, Australia
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, many countries in Southeast Asia were viewed, by global democracy analysts and Southeast Asians themselves, as leading examples of democratization in the developing world. By the late 2000s, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore all were ranked as "free" or "partly free" by the monitoring organization Freedom House, while Cambodia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Myanmar had both taken sizable steps toward democracy as well. Yet since the late 2000s, Southeast Asia's democratization has stalled and, in some of the region's most economically and strategically important nations, gone into reverse. Over the past ten years, Thailand has undergone a rapid and severe regression from democracy and is now ruled by a junta. Malaysia's democratic institutions and culture have regressed as well, with the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition cracking down on dissent and trying to destroy what had been an emerging, and increasingly stable, two-party system. Singapore's transition toward contested politics has stalled. In Cambodia and Myanmar, hopes for dramatic democratic change have fizzled. Only the Philippines and Indonesia have stayed on track, but even in these two countries democratic consolidation is threatened by the persistence of graft, public distrust of democratic institutions, and continued meddling in politics by militaries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David E. Brown
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The frenetic search for hydrocarbons in Africa has become so intense and wide ranging that there is planned or ongoing oil and gas exploration in at least 51 of the continent's 54 countries. Knowledge about Africa's geology is improving rapidly, generating great optimism about the continent's energy future. Onshore and offshore rifts and basins created when the African continent separated from the Americas and Eurasia 150 million years ago are now recognized as some of the most promising hydrocarbon provinces in the world. Offshore Angola and Brazil, Namibia and Brazil, Ghana and French Guyana, Morocco and Mexico, Somalia and Yemen, and Mozambique and Madagascar are just a few of the geological analogues where large oil fields have been discovered or are be-lieved to lie. One optimistic but quite credible scenario is that future discoveries in Africa will be around five timestheir current level based on what remains un-explored on the continent versus currently known sub-soil assets. If proven true, this could have a pro-foundly positive impact on Africa's future growth and strategic position in the global economy.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, America, Eurasia, Asia, Brazil, Yemen, Mozambique, Mexico, Morocco, Somalia, Angola, Ghana, Namibia, Guyana, Moldavia
  • Author: Anita M. Weiss
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The history of laws affecting women's rights and empowerment in Pakistan involves a com¬plex pattern of advances and setbacks, with the state's efforts to articulate a definition of women's rights complicated by the need to balance divergent views on the place of women in Pakistani society. After General Pervez Musharraf's 1999 coup, a number of factors, including international perceptions of Pakistan, brought women's rights, greatly curtailed by General Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization project, to the fore. Most critical among the changes to women's rights dur¬ing this period was the 2006 revision to the Hudood Laws, resulting in the Protection of Women Act. The incumbent Pakistan People's Party government has passed several important pieces of legislation continuing the progress for women's empowerment made under Musharraf. These new laws focus on sexual harassment at the workplace, antiwomen practices, and acid throwing. Additionally, the National Commission on the Status of Women has recently achieved elevated status. Despite these advancements, new legislation is needed to address ongoing challenges such as women's ability to control inherited land and human trafficking. If the Pakistani state is to make lasting improvements on these and other challenges facing the legal status of Pakistani women, it must find solutions that will not only benefit women in the country but create consensus among Pakistanis on the best and most achievable way to prioritize global rights for women while adhering to Islamic precepts.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam, Poverty, Law
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: On 30–31 July 2012, a Policy Roundtable on Asian Non-Traditional Security was held at the Hotel Novotel Beijing Peace, China, with the aim of sharing the research findings of participating institutions. The Roundtable was organised by the Center for Regional Security Studies (CRSS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS); the National Institute of International Strategy (NIIS), CASS; and the Center for Non-Traditional Security and Peaceful Development Studies (NTS-PD), Zhejiang University.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Political Economy, Natural Disasters, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Gözde Yilmaz
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: The Helsinki Summit in 1999 represents a turning point for EU–Turkey relations. Turkey gained status as a formal candidate country for the EU providing a strong incentive to launch democratic reforms for the ultimate reward of membership. Since 2001, the country has launched a number of reforms in minority rights. Many controversial issues, such as denial of the existence of the Kurds, or the lack of property rights granted to non-Muslim minorities in the country, have made progress. Even though the reforms in minority rights may represent a tremendous step for the Europeanization process of Turkey, the compliance trend in minority rights is neither progressive nor smooth. While there is a consensus within the literature about the acceleration of reforms starting in 2002 and the slow down by 2005 in almost all policy areas, scholars are divided into two camps regarding the continuing slow down of the reform process or the revival of the reforms since 2008. I argue, in the present paper, that the compliance process with minority rights in Turkey is puzzling due to the differentiated outcome and the recent revival of behavioral compliance. I aim to shed light on the empirical facts in the least-likely area for reform in the enlargement process. Through a detailed analysis of minority-related reform process of Turkey being an instance of ongoing compliance, the paper contributes to the literature divided on the end result of Europeanization in the country recently.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Teresita Cruz-del Rosario, James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Shrines, squares and soccer stadiums have provided the settings for anti-government protests and people power in Southeast Asia and the Middle East in recent decades. At times used for mass detentions and torture of regime opponents by the security forces in the Middle East and North Africa, soccer stadiums became battlefields of resistance by soccer fans against autocratic rulers as the fans became politicized, clashing with security forces and increasingly using matches to shout anti-government slogans. The authors project those spaces as venues of political entitlement. They enabled protestors to overcome fear in confronting the regime in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Benghazi and elsewhere. They also generated a sense of entitlement and demands for far-reaching reforms in post-revolution Egypt and other North African and Middle Eastern countries.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Torture, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Alexander Osipov
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the phenomenon of public fora which are designed to represent certain ethnic groups and are set up through popular vote. The academic and practical interest in such "congresses" results from the fact that over time it has been shown that these endeavors have: (1)proven to be viable and durable organization structures for about two decades; (2)secured flexibility in their establishment and functioning;(3) provided for mass participation in public discussions and voting; (4) avoided "identity trap" and most complexities related to setting qualifications and the selection of eligibility criteria for the participants; (5) been a bridge between minority activists and public authorities. At the same time, the real practical outcomes, the ability to act independently and visibility of the "congresses" on the political landscape are far from being obvious, and this raises questions about the reasons for such doubtful achievements and the very meaning of "representation" in such a context.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Failure to address the systematic crimes committed during Nepal's ten-year civil war is threatening the peace process. There has been not a single prosecution in civilian courts for any abuses. The cultures of impunity that enabled the crimes in the first place have remained intact, further increasing public distrust and incentives to resort to violence. The immediate priorities should be prosecutions of the most serious crimes, investigation of disappearances and action to vet state and Maoist security force members.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Crime, Human Rights, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Susan D. Blum
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines aspects of China's language ideology regarding the exposure or concealment of negative news and the promotion of positive news, focusing especially on the 2008 riots in Tibet and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Censorship may have many appearances and rationales; in this case the permission to criticize or expose depends on the speaker's identity and the anticipated consequences of the revelation. Strong preference, supported by nationalistic identification and policy, favors the promulgation of “happy news” and seeks to suppress and repress any contrary messages. The intersection of nationalism and a concern for a unified, uplifting message result in what is arguably some of the world's most intense censorship.
  • Topic: Communism, Human Rights, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Ziya Öniş
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Currently, the prospects for Turkey's EU membership do not look very bright. With key chapters for negotiation already suspended, the government is likely to resume a loose Europeanization agenda. The counterpart of this in the foreign-policy realm is an approach based on 'soft Euro-asianism'. An attempt is also being made to develop friendly relationships with all neighboring countries, coupled with a mediating role in regional conflicts, but without the EU providing the main axis for foreign policy. The present report investigates the continuities and ruptures in Turkish foreign policy during the post-2002 AKP era. It attempts to identify the underlying reasons for the decline in enthusiasm for EU membership following the golden age of Europeanization and reforms during the early years of the AKP government. The report also points to internal and external political developments which may help to reverse the current drift away from Europeanization.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Islam, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Sri Lanka's judiciary is failing to protect constitutional and human rights. Rather than assuaging conflict, the courts have corroded the rule of law and worsened ethnic tensions. Rather than constraining militarisation and protecting minority rights, a politicised bench under the just-retired chief justice has entrenched favoured allies, punished foes and blocked compromises with the Tamil minority. Its intermittent interventions on important political questions have limited settlement options for the ethnic conflict. Extensive reform of the judicial system – beginning with a change in approach from the newly appointed chief justice – and an overhaul of counterproductive emergency laws are essential if the military defeat of the LTTE is to lead to a lasting peace that has the support of all ethnic communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The bizarre prosecution and conviction of opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for violating her house arrest has returned attention to repression in Myanmar, as preparations were underway for the first national elections in twenty years, now scheduled for 2010. This further undermined what little credibility the exercise may have had, especially when based on a constitution that institutionalises the military's political role. The UN Secretary-General's July visit, which produced no tangible results, added to the gloom. But while the elections will not be free and fair – a number of prominent regime opponents have been arrested and sentenced to prison terms over the last year – the constitution and elections together will fundamentally change the political landscape in a way the government may not be able to control. Senior Generals Than Shwe and Maung Aye may soon step down or move to ceremonial roles, making way for a younger military generation. All stakeholders should be alert to opportunities that may arise to push the new government toward reform and reconciliation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Federico Sperotto
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights Human Welfare (University of Denver)
  • Abstract: Counterinsurgency is the dominant aspect of US operations in Afghanistan, and since ISAF—the NATO-led security and assistance force—has assumed growing security responsibility throughout the country, it is also a mission for the Europeans. The frame in which military operations are conducted is irregular warfare, a form of conflict which differs from conventional operations in two main aspects. First, it is warfare among and within the people. Second, it is warfare in which insurgents avoid a direct military confrontation, using instead unconventional methods and terrorist tactics.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After decades of misuse and neglect, Bangladesh's police are a source of instability and fear rather than a key component of a democratic society. Human rights abuses are endemic and almost all Bangladeshis who interact with the police complain of corruption. With an elected government in place again, there are now opportunities to reform this dysfunctional force. But there are also significant obstacles. If the government fails to move beyond the current modest reform process, the democratic transition could falter should deteriorating security give the military another chance to intervene, using, as it has in the past, the pretext of upholding law and order to justify derailing democracy. Deep structural reforms – including a new police law – and major additional resources are necessary to create an effective and accountable service. Above all, it will take political will – which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League-led government is sorely lacking – and a vision of the police as something other than a tool of political control and a source of patronage.
  • Topic: Corruption, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: George Thomas, Lewis M. Stern, Julia A. Thompson
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. policy has sought to nudge the junta in Burma toward a more reasonable approach to its dilemma, either in the form of managing Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest in a semitransparent fashion, allowing the release of imprisoned prodemocracy activists and the National League for Democracy cadre, agreeing to visits from United Nations special representatives, or accepting regional advice and guidance at critical moments. But Burma is a minuet dramatizing the “one step forward, two steps backward” description of progress. Even as the administration of President Barack Obama commits itself in principle to reaching out to Burma, events conspire against another effort to coax the junta toward a reasonable, regionally acceptable solution to its hard edge.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Burma