Category Archives: East Asia

The Human Costs of Controlling Xinjiang

Originally published on The Diplomat, October 10, 2017. 


Xinjiang and the Uyghurs

The Uyghurs, one of the largest ethnic minority groups in China, have an unfortunate lot. As a group, they possess two key factors which encourage the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to repress them. First, they have a strong ethnic identity which is separate from the principal Han ethnic group which dominates the CCP. Indeed, many Uyghurs are beginning to view a major component of their identity as “being non-Han”. Second, the land they inhabit, Xinjiang Province, is rich in resources and economic importance. It holds one-third of the country’s natural gas and oil reserves in addition to large deposits of gold, uranium, and other minerals. Renewable energy also factors in: Xinjiang is a prime location to harvest solar, wind, and nuclear energy. Moreover, Xinjiang sits along the historic Silk Road, which the CCP is intent on rebuilding in its One Belt, One Road Initiative. Continue reading

Abe and the Next Japanese Elections

(Originally published on The Diplomat as “Abe Dissolves the Diet, Snap Elections Set for October” on Sept. 27, 2017)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pictured) dissolved the House of Representatives of the Japanese Parliament (called the Japanese Diet) on Thursday and called for a snap election to take place by the end of October. PM Abe will “seek the mandate of the people” to deal with a number of growing crises. Continue reading

New Chinese Laws seek to Control the Internet

Until recently, China’s Great Firewall, the laws and regulations that the Chinese Communist Party uses to control the internet, had significant cracks in it. Virtual private networks (VPNs) allowed about 100 million people, 14% of China’s online population, to circumvent blocks on Google Scholar, Dropbox, Facebook, and Youtube, among other sites. Continue reading