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· February, 2021

Stories about East Asia from February, 2021

Myanmar illustrators unite to distribute protest art for free

"Like all other Myanmar citizens, artists want to contribute to the national struggle... artists can assist other protesters with our artworks..."

Philippines’ ‘Paradis Island’ has a message for ‘Attack on Titan’ fans

"We are an innocent island in a lake in Laguna and we have nothing to do with Titans."

Myanmar’s ‘civil disobedience movement’ has produced many inventive ways of protesting

Only three weeks have passed since the coup but protesters have already used various creative methods to express dissent.

Beijing official signals changes to Hong Kong's electoral system

Xia said the power to govern the semi-autonomous region must "lie in the hands of patriots."

Myanmar citizens continue strong opposition to military junta with ‘22222’ general strike

"If we oppose the dictatorship, they might shoot us. But we have to oppose dictatorship. It’s our duty. That’s why so many people are coming out today against them."

Updating Uyghur: The power of online discussions for language preservation

Though spoken by over 10 million people, the Uyghur language is struggling to adapt to modern life and overcome heavy censorship and language elimination in China

Prominent Harvard professor pilloried for peddling revisionist history about wartime ‘comfort women’

Historians familiar with wartime sexual slavery perpetrated by Japanese armed forces point out that the professor, J. Mark Ramseyer, has long championed historical revisionism.

Research firm uncovers a pro-Huawei influence campaign

While Graphika's research findings are insufficient to suggest that Huawei was behind the operation, its employees were key amplifiers of the comments produced by the fake clusters.

Flights carrying ‘seafood’ between China and Myanmar fuel speculation about Beijing's support for the military coup

There's also speculation that the recurring power outages in Myanmar in the past few days are related to the testing and setup of Myanmar's version of The Great Firewall.

Myanmar introduces ‘draconian’ cyber security bill amid growing anti-coup protests

'It can be expected that the true aim of the bill is to repress freedom of expression online and ban social networks.'

Chinese-Australian journalist Cheng Lei formally arrested for alleged spying in China

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has dismissed claims by China that Australia is trying to interfere in their judicial system.

Beijing to drill Hong Kong schoolchildren with national security education

New education guidelines circulated on February 5 require teachers of all levels to teach the criminal offences outlined in Hong Kong's national security law.

Farewell to Japanese sculptor who became a local hero in Prilep, North Macedonia

'During his short lifetime, and even shorter career, Ryota Koshika became one of the most prominent classic sculptors working in marble from Japan.'

Olympic head's misogynistic remarks highlight Japan's persisting sexism

Support for Mori by men in prominent leadership positions suggests that anti-women attitudes are in fact quite normal in the country.

China blocks Clubhouse after netizens discuss Xinjiang and Tiananmen

For a brief moment in time, Clubhouse cracked the Great Firewall.

‘You messed with the wrong generation’: Daily protests pose strong challenge to Myanmar coup

"Today the people of Myanmar are rising up against the military regime, demanding democracy. This is no longer a protest. It's an uprising."

China shuts down its most popular piracy website—is it just about copyright?

Netizens wonder whether the crackdown had something to do with Xi Jinping’s ideological battle against "Western values."

Citizens launch civil disobedience campaign on second day of Myanmar coup

"Than Pone means iron bucket. Than Pone Tee means Playing Iron Buckets. In our tradition, playing Iron Buckets means casting out evil spirits."

COVID-19 vaccine in Africa: Caught between China’s soft-power diplomacy and the West’s vaccine nationalism, Part II 

Is it not hypocritical to heckle China for their soft-power vaccine diplomacy in Africa while Western governments conveniently pursue vaccine nationalism? 

COVID-19 vaccine in Africa: Caught between China’s soft-power diplomacy and the West’s vaccine nationalism, Part I

The storage of Chinese Sinovac’s CoronaVac and Sinopharm are more suited for Africa’s hot temperatures, unlike those produced in the West, which require deep-freezer temps. 

About our East Asia coverage

Oiwan Lam is the North East Asia editor. Email her story ideas or volunteer to write.

Mong Palatino is the South East Asia editor. Email him story ideas or volunteer to write.

Nevin Thompson is the Japan editor. Email him story ideas or volunteer to write.


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