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Asia Undercovered #42

Asia Undercovered #42

This week: Media coverage of Hong Kong, Papua protests, Jade in Myanmar and some royal princes.

First, a message from Hong Kong to Western Media

Most major US media have speculated non-stop about military interventions. It’s no surprise that I’ve seen quite a bit of criticism of western coverage of the protests thus far. This piece represented, to me, the worst of it – centering the existence of a few American flags at one protest. Amazingly it went viral.

Trust journalists who are themselves Hong Kongers, or who have spent time in Hong Kong and understand the complexity there. Considering the stakes, this is a situation in which fly-in journalism does far more harm than good.

Undercovered this week

Hong Kong and Kashmir are both seeing agitation. One common link? The mess left behind by former colonial overlords, the British. Excellent take and historical analysis by Amy Hawkins (Foreign Policy).

Meanwhile, T J S George looks back at the last time India revoked the power of one its states, when the Congress Party disbanded a communist government in Kerala, and what it means today (Indian Express).

A racist attack against ethnic Papuans in Indonesia has led to mass protests and a military response in West Papua, where calls for independence are rising (Febriana Firdaus, Al Jazeera).

The scramble for jade has left devastation and lost lives in Myanmar’s conflict-ridden Kachin State, due to growing environmental degradation. Edith Mirante writes for Himal Mag on the underdercovered but ongoing catastrophe.


Taiwan’s ruling party met with the Dalai Lama to promote an alternative to China’s Belt & Road – a Silk Road of Democracy, which includes oppressed Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers. Just the kind of idealistic ambition that Asia needs to counter rising authoritarianism (Wen Lii, The Diplomat).

Nepal has shifted closer and closer to China, especially after a 2015 blockade by India. Rakesh Kumar Meena writes on how India can repair relations with its neighbor (East Asia Forum).

At the heart of the Japan—Korea trade conflict is the former colonial power’s historical atrocities. What Shinzo Abe is trying to do is punish its neighbor for trying to hold Japanese companies responsible for forced labor in the early 20th century – and to prevent other former colonies and occupied peoples from doing the same. An informative read from Lowy Intepreter.

Lighter Note: Asian Princes

No words necessary.

Asia Undercovered: Journalist Nithin Coca's weekly roundup of the news, events, trends and people changing Asia, but not getting enough attention in the US media.