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Posts published in “Asia and Pacific”

Power Politics in the Arctic: China and India

The melting of the glaciers is changing geopolitical arrangements. In the Arctic, global warming is opening opportunities for the allocation of needed resources even to non-Arctic states. The region is indeed opening up to new power dynamics and competition as states propel their economic, military, and political claims. New powers, such as China and India, have joined the resources race; but what can they really gain from the frozen Arctic lands? And how will this affect the regional and global balance of power?

Political Theater at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

Held from October 16 to 22, China’s 20th Party Congress was a series of political spectacles. President Xi Jinping cemented his status as Paramount-Leader-For-Life, after being confirmed as General Secretary for an unprecedented third consecutive term. This not only broke the two-term limit established four decades ago by Deng Xiaoping, but also made Xi  the first Chinese leader to rule for more than two consecutive terms since Chairman Mao. Xi ushered in a new guard to helm the Politburo Standing Committee, all promoted based on their personal loyalty, and ensured the systematic removal of any factional opposition within the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Most publicized of all was the political farce that played out as former President Hu Jintao was physically removed during the closing ceremony  before the new leadership was announced, in front of a baffled audience of foreign media outlets and journalists.  The show of force and shift in new leadership firmly established Xi’s undisputed control over party and country, making the entire week-long affair seem less about confirming political appointments, and more of a coronation ceremony for Xi.

China’s Party Congress and the End of Political Competition

When the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress concludes, it is a ripe time for many observers of Chinese politics to look at the new set of appointments and get a sense of the direction in which the country might be headed. Backgrounds of leaders elected to the Politburo Standing Committee (the highest decision-making body in the party) or the Politburo (the second-highest decision-making body) are revealed at the end of the Party Congress, and they would stay in power for the next five years. In Leninist-Marxist regimes, these leaders–who have historically been mostly men– are the living embodiment of the ‘five-year plans’ that rule planned economies. 

Perspective | China’s Extraterritorial Reach on the Chinese Diaspora

What does it mean to be Chinese? Am I Chinese? With my recent move to New York City, I am surprised at how often I am asked this question: Are you Chinese? I struggle to respond every time because the word “Chinese” can mean a lot of things – a nationality, an ethnicity, a language, and even a culture. And it requires much more than a simple yes or no to answer.

The Paradox of Post-Colonialism in Hong Kong

On September 16, I watched as Hong Kongers lined up for hours outside the British Consulate in Admiralty, the city’s eastern central business district, to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. A colossal bed of flowers and pictures of the queen were gradually built up against the consulate walls—it may have been one of the greatest displays of affection for the late monarch witnessed outside the UK. 

Emerging Conversations on Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and the Legalities Behind Them

On Sept. 29, the US-Asia Law Institute at NYU Law invited attorneys Jennifer Wu (NYU Law, 2004) and Lawrence Wee (Harvard Law, 1994) from the Paul Weiss Law firm to discuss anti-Asian hate crime. Wu and Wee spoke on the difficulty of prosecuting hate crimes through the nature of collecting evidence, and why the community response, both digital and protest advocacy, should be made first and foremost with the voice of the victims in mind. In a city-campus where students are already cautious of daily safety, the rise in hate crimes and the deaths of young professionals alarmed safety concerns and brought forward attention and support for the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community.

Beijing – The Next Target of US Sanctions?

Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has animated the use of economic sanctions in an unprecedented way. Strenuous US-China relations, exacerbated by Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan, raise the question of whether Washington would impose similar measures on Beijing in the face of a military invasion of Taiwan.

A Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis?

On August 4, 2022, the day following the official state visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) responded by conducting the largest military exercises ever staged by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Taiwan Strait.