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Asia Undercovered Round-up: 17 Aug 2023

Asia Undercovered Round-up: 17 Aug 2023

Undercovered last week

Pakistan, the fourth most populous country in Asia, gets very little attention in the global media. We should be paying more attention, writes David Brewster in this piece for Lowy Intepreter, due to concurrent economic and political crisis that could have regional impacts.

Worth Reading: This in-depth piece by Lengga Pradipta that explores why in Indonesia, child marriage remains so prevalent despite it being illegal. One key factor? Poverty.

An investigation by RFE uncovers rampant nepotism in the Mirziyoev family, led by President Shavkat Mirziyoev, who runs Uzbekistan and has been giving top positions to family members.

In Bangladesh, the police have been arbitrary arresting, torturing and harassing Rohingya refugees. The reason? Extorting them for payments, even as they struggle to survive (DW).

The Philippines wants to play a bigger role in the clean energy boom by relaxing rules for investment. But there are concerns that mining for minerals could impact the environment (Hannah Alcoseba Fernandez, Eco Business).

Enjoyed this piece that explored how technology for a seemingly benign purpose, wildlife surveillance, can be easily refashioned to survey people for nefarious reasons. In this case, Shreya Dasgupta an example from northern India that harmed privacy and could lead to greater ethnic conflict (Mongabay).

Electoral Politics

As elections approach in the Maldives, domestic politics are causing China to lose ground, as parties more friendly to India are seeing their polling increase (9DashLine).


A lot of attention has been given to the tacit or explicit support China has given to Myanmar's coup and the ruling junta. But Japan is also complicit, with the recent comments by its special convoy supporting the illegal elections only the latest in a series of missteps (Progressive Voice).

Little Timor-Leste is hopeful about joining the regional bloc ASEAN soon. But there remain steep challenges and it may take time before they can fully participate, says  Guteriano Neves in this piece for Southeast Asia Globe.

Solutions Stories

The Kinabatangan basin in Sabah, Malaysia has been under threat due to deforestation. One conservationist wants to restore the ecosystem, which could have huge benefits for locals, wildlife, and the planet (Acacia Blue).

And back in 1947, a female broadcaster took to the waves on All India Radio. She was Saeeda Bano, and she was not only the country's first female broadcaster, but also a single Muslim women. Read her fascinating, exceptional story here in Madras Courier.

Asia Undercovered: Round-ups and in-depth analysis of the news, events, trends and people changing Asia, but not getting enough attention in the US media. Curated by journalist Nithin Coca.