Category: Asia-Pacific

The Darkest Day: The Domestic Politics of Defense and Nationalism in Japan

On July 1st, 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet approved a highly controversial reinterpretation of the Japanese Constitution; specifically of Article 9, which prohibits the formation of a military and restricts the use of force solely to self-defense. Under the recent revision, Japan has now extended this right to include using force to… Read more »

Tobacco and the Environment in China

Fifty years ago, the United States Surgeon General, Luther Terry, linked tobacco use to adverse health effects for the first time. To commemorate the anniversary, researchers at Yale published a study in January arguing that subsequent anti-smoking regulations and campaigns have saved eight million lives in the United States alone. Indeed, tobacco use is still… Read more »

Spray Paint Beijing

Sitting in a quaint café hidden within the ancient courtyards of Beijing, Lance Crayon, producer of the documentary Spray Paint Beijing, cautiously takes a sip of his steaming Americano while looking out the fingerprint-covered window. “My favorite graffiti piece to date is that of a giant rosy pig up on Ji Ming Lu created by… Read more »

No Home for Defectors

Immigration, especially when it increases significantly in a short time span, tends to alter a host country’s social and political climate. A conservative backlash, both cultural and political, usually develops in response to the introduction of otherness. Take, for example, the Scandinavian countries: 44Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Previously the go-to examples of social responsibility and… Read more »

Leftover Women

Since last year, my childhood friend Huang has been avoiding her mother’s phone calls. At 25, Huang has only been out of college for three years, yet she has worked hard enough to achieve the position of HR manager at a large real estate development firm. However, Huang’s success at work does not seem to… Read more »

Run to the South: The Story of Two North Korean Defectors

On its one side, a rainbow of flowers lines the trails of lush green peaks; on the other, raw dirt blows from abandoned fields. North Korea’s Tumen River is a natural boundary between two vastly different worlds. Flowing northeast from the summit of Mount Baekdu towards the Sea of Japan, the Tumen is more than… Read more »

Roast Busters: Rape Culture in New Zealand

New Zealand police are being fiercely criticized as details surface that officials responded ineffectually to allegations against a self-styled rape club, going so far as to ask victims what they were wearing when they were attacked. The so-called “Roast Busters” are a group of high school boys in the Auckland area whose goals are to… Read more »

Demanding Justice: China’s Broken Petitioning System

On July 20, 2013, wheelchair-bound Ji Zhongxing, 34, rolled into Terminal 3 of Beijing’s Capital Airport and detonated a homemade bomb. In the amateur online videos that went viral immediately following the incident, Mr. Ji is gesturing frantically, then there is a loud bang and the arrivals entry hall fills with thick black smoke. No… Read more »

Authoritarian Resilience Through Democracy

In an era when United States foreign policy is dominated by the effort to create functioning democracies around the world, it is important to understand how or if democratic procedures alone can create a fairer society. The United States has promoted democracies abroad countless times. Arguments favoring the Democracy Peace Theory– that democratic states are… Read more »

The World’s Most Forgotten People

Burma’s Muslim minority faces the specter of ethnic cleansing from the Buddhist majority. With no one standing by their side, their situation appears bleak.