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Asia Undercovered # 64

Asia Undercovered # 64

The genocide continues

It’s gotten even less attention, but the worst human rights crisis of the millennium is continuing, unabated, just hidden by a greater lack of access to Xinjiang by journalists, and increased censorship within China itself.

What we do know is worrying. This week saw an expose from SCMP with more evidence that Uyghur and other Muslim inmates in camps are being shifted to forced labor – all around China

Meanwhile, more and more Uyghurs are being sentenced to jail from camps, for as little as daring to go abroad, or communicating with someone in a Muslim majority country years ago. Here’s the history of one of them, Perhat Tursun, once one of the bright modernist Uyghur writers (Darren Byler, Art of Life).

Meanwhile, remember when a Uyghur graveyard and shrine was destroyed last year? Guess what it has been turned into.

Also continuing – the harassment of any Uyghurs who family members dare to speak out from abroad.

Also Undercovered this Week

In Vietnam, Mike Tatarski reports on the threats facing a large mangrove reserve located within Ho Chi Minh City, as the megacity surrounding it grows both in size, and prosperity (Mongabay).

Under the rule of Sri Lanka’s new President, justice for the tens of thousands who disapeared during the country’s long civil war looks bleaker than ever, argues Sharika Thiranagama in East Asia Forum.

Pro-ISIL violence is rising in Poso, the center of extremism in Indonesia, alongside the pandemic. The group’s support among certain communities is worrying, but also shows the weakness of the jihadi movement across the archipelago (Indonesia at Melbourne).

I enjoyed this visual, character led piece in The Third Pole on the Rajghat dam in central India, which has displaced several communities and harmed local ecosystems.


Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen enters her second term with high expectations and hopes. This piece looks at her first-term accomplishments, and what to expect going forward. (Vev Nachman, Jessica Drun, The Diplomat)


South and Southeast Asia are the battlefronts of a new war – for the next billion app users. Leading Chinese apps are fighting the dominant US platforms, with China slowly edging forward. Great piece on tech geopolitics by Matt Sheehan (Marco Polo).

Gwadar Port in Pakistan is one of the largest BRI projects in the world. But can it really meet its lofty goals? Adnan Aaamir argues that the megaproject has all the making of a flop (Lowy Intepreter).

Solutions Stories

Another, more positive story from Pakistan – on a plan to move workers idled by the pandemic towards planting trees, as part of the national reforestation effort. I hope to see more efforts like this in the coming weeks and months (Al Jazeera).

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.