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Asia Undercovered 13 Nov 2020

Asia Undercovered 13 Nov 2020

Undercovered this week

Typhoon Goni/Rolly hit the Philippines last week, devastating the island of Catanduanes, which lacks power and telecoms services. At least 25,000 homes have been destroyed, 20 have died, and the recovery efforts will likely take months (Channel News Asia).

In fact, Goni is merely one of several in a wave of typhoons.

Deeply worrying. India has officially changed land rules in Kashmir, allowing Indian migrants to buy land. This could, many fear, lead to a wave of migration and erode what little rights remain for Kashmiris (Fayaz Bukhari, Trust).

In nearby Ladakh, the hopes that came a year ago, when the region was turned into a union territory seperate from Kashmir. Today, however, there is increasing anger and apprehensions about the future as the central government has done little to address local concerns (Bilay Kuchay, Al Jazeera).

Across the border in Tibet, Under the guise of “women’s emancipation,” China is suppressing the rights of Buddhist Nuns. The reality is that Sinicization has harmed their religious freedom, argues Tashi Choedon in The Quint.

In Thailand, protests are ongoing, driven by genuine grassroots and youth agitation. But if you read Chinese state media, you’d think the protests are driven by western interference – the same allegations that, if you recall, were used to smear Hong Kong protesters last year (Thai PBS World).

An interesting thought piece – as the world moves away from coal, Joe Lo asked a simple questions – who will build the last coal-fired power plant? Her answer? Either China or Indonesia (Climate Home News).


Lots of elections news this month. First, we have results from Bihar’s state polls, which saw Narendra Modi’s BJP win a majority, the first victory in years for a party firmly in control nationally, but weak in several Indian states (Nirmala Ganapathy, Straits Times)

But the big news was Myanmar’s general elections, which saw Aung San Suu Kyi National League for Democracy win a convincing second term, perhaps even exceeding their 2015 results (NPR).

Want to know more about Myanmar? Check out this week’s Election Backgrounder, which includes links to articles exploring the country’s history, ethnic tensions, and more.

Next up: Kyrgyzstan will hold presidential elections in January. The results – and the deliberations on the country’s political system, after protests saw the president resign – will be crucial. Here’s some detailed analysis from Catherine Putz in The Diplomat.


In Laos, villagers are upset at Chinese and Vietnamese-run farms for polluting the environment, and are calling on the government to investigate, reports RFA. Another sign that tensions over foreign investment are rising in the small, landlocked country.

And this is disappointing – the Philippines looks set to back a Chinese candidate for the International Court of Justice. Why they would want a country that keeps violating international laws around Philippines territorial waters to have power in global justice perplexes me (Channel News Asia).

Solutions Stories

This week, two excellent stories from Thailand. First, read this enjoyable piece on Charoenkrung Road, Bangkok’s first paved road, and the history that remains in this architecturally rich district, by Wanpen Pajai for Southeast Asia Globe.

And from Prachatai, a piece on how a community in Nong Bua Lamphu Province has defeated an illegitimate quarry mine from destroying their land. It was not an easy fight, with four human rights defenders being killed.

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.