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Letter From,
Aeyliya Husain

Wardah Nur never imagined that she would become a soldier. And, until ten years ago, she couldn’t have. Nur belongs to a small, elite group -- the 2013 “lady cadets,” as they are called -- the latest batch of women to train at the Pakistan Military Academy since it began accepting them in 2006 during General Pervez Musharraf’s presidency.

Letter From,
Madhu Narasimhan

In the 12 years since gaining independence, East Timor has struggled in almost every facet of economic and political management. As its neighboring economies boom, it is quietly on the path to becoming a failed state. And it is quickly running out of time to change course.

Snapshot,
Surupa Gupta and Sumit Ganguly

India's farmers hold enormous sway over New Delhi's policymaking. Narendra Modi may have come to power as a free-market reformer, but the fear of being portrayed as anti-farmer has led him to block a trademark WTO deal that India had previously approved. 

Review Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Ananya Vajpeyi

A successful right-wing campaign in India to suppress the work of Wendy Doniger, a prominent scholar of Hinduism, suggests that conservative voices are gaining the upper hand in the country’s long struggle between secular liberalism and religious nationalism.

Snapshot,
J. Berkshire Miller

Before the year is out, the world could witness Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.

Snapshot,
Deborah M. Lehr and Leigh Wedell

In early June, Chinese president Xi Jinping deployed eight SWAT-like inspection teams across China to ensure that local officials were meeting his new environmental targets. The teams submitted a 1,000-page report with a simple conclusion: local leaders, looking out for their own financial interests, were consistently ignoring directives from Beijing.

Snapshot,
Sulmaan Khan

On the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau, one sometimes hears a strange chattering -- an excited buzz that seems to emanate from the earth itself. Anyone who stops to look for the source will quickly realize that the ground is marked by a series of holes, from which small, shy creatures are likely to be watching. The labyrinthine burrows made by these mammals, called pikas, provide them security. But they also ensure China's water supply. Here's what their plight says about Chinese conservation efforts.

Snapshot,
Jonah Blank

Preliminary tallies suggest that Jokowi won Indonesia's July 9 presidential election, but his competitor, Prabowo, is not guaranteed to go quietly. The stakes could hardly be higher: Since the fall of Suharto in 1998, Indonesia has been a showpiece of democracy in Asia. The final count will either solidify this narrative, or toss it right out the window.

Snapshot,
Johannes Haushofer

Poverty has psychological consequences, including stress, sadness, and anger, which may create a trap that keeps people mired in destitution. To make aid more effective, then, donors and policymakers should start considering whether their programs address mental as well as physical well-being.

Snapshot,
Andrew Erickson and Austin Strange

Ongoing international disputes over territory in the South China Sea have led many to invoke an old adage: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.” Beijing is using all these approaches simultaneously, but with an ambitious twist -- as it tells other claimants to pound sand, China is pouring it -- literally expanding the territory under its control.

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