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Asia Undercovered 29 Oct 2020

Asia Undercovered 29 Oct 2020

Undercovered this week

Uyghur Genocide Update: With  millions of Uyghurs in camps or forced to work in factories around  China, Uyghur children have been forcibly separated. Now, Ruth Ingram reports on thejail-like boarding schools where they’re being held,  and likely indoctrinated. I can’t even imagine the trauma they are  going through, and will likely carry with them for the rest of their  lives (Bitter Winter).

What will it take for the world to response?

More worrying news – the repression of ethnic minorities by the Chinese government has spread to Inner Mongolia, where RFA reports that thousands are being held by Chinese authorities for resisting plan to eliminate their language from education in the region.

It’s not only China. Vietnam has arrested activist and journalist Pham Doan Trang for “conducting propaganda,” and faces up to 20 years in jail (Mong Palatino, Global Voices).

Flooding continues to ravage Asia, with Cambodia the latest country to see human impacts, with the death toll now at 43 with an astounding 594,000 affected, with more rains to come (Phoung Vantha, Cambodianess).

A story from the independent country of Mongolia. There, a mining boom has transformed landscapes over the last two decades, and traditional herders in the Gobi desert are losing their livelihoods, reports Batsuuri Khaltar, as mining sucks groundwater dry (The Third Pole).

It’s a similar story on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where deforestation for palm oil plantations is destroying the habitat of endemic primates, writes Jatna Supriatna for The Conversation.

Worth reading: This piece in Waseda Chronicle by Makoto Watanabe on why Japan’s banks are financing coal plants in Southeast Asia that no one else with touch, backed by false promises.

A Note On Thailand

More than a month ago, I published a Backgrounder on the emerging protests in Thailand.  They have now erupted into a global story. I won’t be sharing much  about it going forward, as our focus is undercovered stories, but if you  want to keep up with the latest news from there, follow Prachatai, an independent Thai news outlet that’s doing fantastic work.


Japan – the world’s third largest  economy – has a new Prime Minister, a story that has gotten remarkably  little attention in the west. Here’s a great piece from Amy Catalinac on  what Yoshihide Suga’s election means for Democracy (East Asia Forum).

There’s political turmoil in Malaysia  (surprise!) as one of the largest parties in the ruling coalition,  UNMO, decided to stay part of the government. There will likely be a  confidence vote in parliament soon, which could determine the fate of the ruling coalition (Tashny Sukumaran, SCPM).


Xi  Jinping is seeing his ideology, “Xi Jinping Thought” elevated in  diplomacy, with even a new think-tank called the “Center for Research of  Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy,” opening. Qian Gang explores the meaning of this for international affairs in China Media Project.

We’re nearing winter and the military standoff along the Ladakh-Tibet border continues. In this piece for Global Asia, Sun Yun explores the history and challenges facing both India and China in the Himalayas.

Solutions Story

I had never heard of Saw Ba U Gyi, an ethnic Karen revolutionary hero, so I really enjoyed reading this piece by Oliver Slow about the man, his legacy for Kayin state in Myanmar, and the impacts of his death 70 years ago (Southeast Asia Globe).

Stay safe and healthy,

Nithin Coca

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.