Stories about East Asia from April, 2023
Thailand election debate: Parties share stand on royal defamation law
Representatives of 10 political parties shared their positions on the controversial law which has been actively enforced to silence criticism supposedly in order to protect the monarchy.
Pro-Beijing politicians urge Hong Kong to scrap the Gay Games 2023
Anticipating political pressures from the conservatives, Gay Games Hong Kong has adopted a depoliticised strategy by stressing the economic benefit of hosting the international event in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Labour Day protest called off after organizer's brief disappearance
Last week, the rally organizers were interrogated about where they got their funding for the proposed demonstration and how they would guard against violent groups “hijacking” the march.
What is red-tagging and why it is dangerous in the Philippines?
With the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2020, red-tagged individuals and groups face the risks of being subjected to surveillance, freezing of assets, and restriction of movement, among others.
End of Ramadan in Taipei shows role of Islam in Taiwan's diplomacy
Though it only makes up about one percent of the population, Taiwan's Muslim community represents an asset for greater visibility and engagement with the Middle East, where China dominates.
Underscoring the challenges of promoting digital rights in Southeast Asia
"…information disorders have been weaponized for political gain, while oppressive governments have tried to control the internet, particularly through social media, and crackdown on dissidents using digital surveillance as tactic."
Six films on Asia-Pacific communities addressing the climate crisis
These films feature stories of communities fighting against the adverse impact of climate change and inspiring hope in addressing the climate crisis through their efforts and solidarity.
‘Overseas Chinese writer is now a label’: Interview with youth author Xia Zhou
Overseas Sinophone writers tend to continue writing in Chinese no matter what, according to young Chinese author Xia Zhou who now lives in the US.
The reasons behind the myth of Cantonese as a more authentic Chinese language
Claims that local languages, including Sichuanese and Cantonese, only lost one vote to Mandarin to become China’s “national language” have kept popping up on the internet from time to time.
How do Mandarin Chinese-speakers reference their own language in Mandarin Chinese?
Mandarin Chinese-speakers have about a dozen terms to describe the different spoken and written forms of the language, offer alluding to various cultural or political affiliations.
State violence and the standardization of the Chinese language
After implementing compulsory education in 1986, Putonghua was promulgated as the primary language in schools, and recently it has replaced indigenous languages in autonomous regions, including Xinjiang, inner Mongolia and Tibet.
The normalization of Chinese-style censorship in Hong Kong
While the Hong Kong's National Security Law primarily targeted politicians of the pro-democratic opposition, activists, and critical media outlets, it soon also engulfed Hong Kong’s arts and culture scene.
Unpacking the controversy around Russian tourists in Indonesia
Tensions between Indonesian citizens and Russian visitors have boiled over after numerous cases of bad behavior from Russian nationals have strained relations and forced officials to take action.
‘History of love in the country of hatred': influencers detained in Russia for LGBTQ+ ‘propaganda’
Apart from widespread censorship, the Russian "anti- LGBT propaganda" law leads to unprecedented pressure on LGBTQ+ people and the organizations helping them.
New study finds internet censorship in Turkmenistan reaches over 122,000 domains
"One of the worst blocking rules in Turkmenistan is that the government blocks every website that ends with w.org, which is Wordpress, used by activists and bloggers."
How internet shutdowns in Myanmar have been endangering lives and affecting humanitarian work since the coup
The internet blackout has made it difficult for locals to both send and receive information on the conditions in the region, report human rights abuses committed by the military regime, or raise funds for humanitarian business.
China rolls out ‘Down to the Countryside Movement 2.0′ to address youth unemployment problem
Some observers believe that the campaign is meant to prevent unemployed youths from causing trouble in big cities. Youth were key actors in the anti-zero COVID protests this year.
Thai political parties sign election code of conduct, pledge to uphold human and digital rights
"Political parties agreed that, regardless of who forms the government, it is crucial to work together to create stability, restore democracy, and promote economic development that leaves no one behind."
Thailand's upcoming general election is fundamentally flawed, say rights groups
HRW and over 50 Thai and international civil society groups highlighted the shrinking spaces for freedoms and democratic processes in Thailand in joint letters to 25 of Thailand’s democratic allies and trading partners.
The Myanmar junta’s war against Facebook
Social media platforms have an oversized influence on political events such as elections, and they have a responsibility to advance democracy.
How will Hong Kong react to the Gay Games: Support or suppression?
Local organizers downplayed censorship as a non-issue and stressed that “she hoped all participants from around the globe could abide by local laws and respect the local culture.”