3 min read

Asia Undercovered Round-up: 5 Oct 2022

Asia Undercovered Round-up: 5 Oct 2022

This week: Another journalist killed in the Philippines, the death penalty remains popular in Taiwan, and the soccer disaster in Malang, Indonesia.

Undercovered last week

Balochistan – a region occupied by Pakistan and which has been home to an independence movement since 1949, doesn’t get much attention. But as China invests in the region, and militarization grows, Vivek Y Kelkar argues in The Cosmopolitan Globalist that the region is boiling and increasingly unstable.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia-occupied West Papua, another peaceful activist has been arrested.

It’s a far too common story – Bangaldeshis trafficked to India under false promises. Then, according to Eisha Husssain in BehanBox, they are forced to navigate statelessness and a legal system that fails to protect victims.

It’s getting less and less attention, but the situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate. Engage Media has a recap of how digital oppression has increased over the past few months in their quarterly update.

Meanwhile, deeply worrying news about the deportation of a Uyghur from Indonesia to China, which was evidently done silently, despite his holding Turkish citizenship.

Another journalist has been killed in the Philippines, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media. Renato Blanco was stabbed on September 18th and police believe the motive was political (IPI).

Worth reading: This piece in Ample Road, a wonderful Taiwan-based newsletter, on the recent uproar over the killing of two police officers, the reaction, and why there’s such strong support for the death penalty on the island nation.

Electoral Politics

It has been a rapid and sudden fall from grace for South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol. He entered office in May, and in less than half a year, has seen his approval rating plummet. This, argues East Asia Forum, could undermine his ambitious foreign policy agenda.

In Thailand, the opposition Move Forward Party is pushing forward on collecting signatures to amend the country’s pro-military constitution. It will likely be a challenging fight (Prachatai).

Meanwhile, a date has been set for the next general election.


Last month saw world leaders, including China’s dictator, Xi Jingping, gather in Uzbekistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, made up mostly of Central Asian states. Here’s a good recap of what happened, and why Chinese-led organizations remain limited globally, by Andrei Lungu for Nikkei Asia

Meanwhile, India is continuing to invest in Myanmar, despite the coup – essentially, helping the military maintain its grip on power.

Solutions Stories

Did you know that Vietnam has a burgeouning, local, electric vehicle industry? In this piece, Nguyen Thuy Mien takes us shopping for an electric vehicle and shows how local entrepreneurs are growing to help the country’s transition away from gasoline cars (Reporting ASEAN).

And in Thailand, LGBTQ activists are planning to hold a major festival next year, showing the progress they’ve made in the country, while also pushing forward on calls for marriage equality (Prachatai).

What I Tweeted

On the disaster in Malang, Indonesia last week, I had just one question.

Read more about this newsletter. If you like it, please subscribe.

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.