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Asia Undercovered 11 Sept 2020

Asia Undercovered 11 Sept 2020
This week’s issue is late due to me being sick because of the massive haze/fires events ravaging California. It reminds me of the 2015 Indonesia fires, a undercovered story, which I covered. Subscribers, expect two issues next week!

Undercovered this week

Firstly, a touching piece by Palden Soman on the passing of Ama Adhe, a Tibetan nomad born in 1932, who passed away in exile. Read about her bravery, and the tradegy of growing up under occupation (Taipei Times).

Some updates from Thailand, where protests continue. First, an explainer from Engage Media on why youth are rallying to protect democracy and freedom of speech, and some worrying news from Prachatai on another arrest of a student leader, alongside growing repression from state authorities.

In last week’s subscriber only media analysis, on press freedom in Asia, I highlighted how many countries are seeing draconian laws meant to squelch independent reporting. Turns out, East Timor wants to join the party with an anti-defamation law – but citizens are fighting back, reports Mong Palatino (Global Voices).

A few weeks ago, I published a backgrounder on Asia’s historic flooding. One thing that has been missing from reporting is human stories – so was happy to see this piece by Ajoy Kundu in The Third Pole on how the most poor and vulnerable are the ones suffering the most. It includes some great photos.

Did you know about the long history of Myanmar film? In this fascinating piece for New Naratif, Adam Bemma writes about minority filmmaking in the country, the role of censorship, and how it connects to ongoing conflicts.

It’s fallen further out of the global spotlight, but the situation in Hong Kong continues to deteriorate. This time, its 4 Hong Kongers, attempting to flee abroad by boat, but intercepted by Chinese authorities, who are being denied even the right to a lawyer (HKFP).

Have you seen western pieces claiming that US or European cities have has much surveillance technology or CCTV cameras as cities in China? It’s not true or using bad data. Here’s the truth – fully 18 of the world top most surveilled cities are in China, reports Holly Chik for SCMP.


Japan will soon have a new Prime Minister as Shinzo Abe steps down. The likely winner of the Sept 14th LDP leadership election is almost certain to be Yoshihide Suga. Read about him, and why he’s come out ahead of the pack, in this piece by Aurelia George Mulgan for East Asia Forum.


A unique take – in this piece for Jakarta Post, Aldrin Rocky Sampeliling argues that Indonesia should take a more active role on the Taiwan issue, due to the long cultural connections that connect the islands, whose indigenous peoples share a common ancestry.

Worth reading: This interesting piece by Sarath Pillai on the forgotten history of India’s princely states. This will help you understand the conflict between India and Pakistan, and what’s happening in Kashmir.

Solutions Stories

A critical wetland in Kerala, India, was under threat of development. But an entrepreneur came in, and helped bring the case to the Supreme Court, which ordered the reclamation project halted (KA Shaji, Down to Earth).

In rural Bhutan, biogas generators – which produce fuel from animal waste – are reducing dependence on liquefied petroleum gas or firewood – creating a more sustainable, and reliable option (Kinley Yonten, The Third Pole).

And what a discovery in Osaka!

Asia Undercovered:  In-depth round-ups and analysis of the news, events, trends and         people changing Asia, but not getting enough attention in the US media.