thenewslens_intl

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Flaming Forests in Northeastern China

Cao Zhiguo puts down his binoculars and casts his gaze over the forest below. From his 28-meter-high watchtower made of sheet iron, he scans the area around him, looking for signs of a fire.<p>“A mere spark is enough to set a huge area ablaze,” says the 53-year-old fire lookout from Mohe County in …

Taiwan

Six 'Dining Around the Table' Restaurants in Taipei

What is Taiwanese food? This question cannot be answered in one sentence. As an island country that has been immersed in various cultures, Taiwan's food culture is a mixed one. Rooted in Fujianese cuisine, which is oftentimes based on good broth, Taiwanese food also incorporates Dutch, Japanese, …

Restaurants

China's Heavy-handed Control of Foreign Research

Censorship of academic research in China is nothing new. Back in 2008 as I was finishing a long stint in rural China, Chinese officials and academics were talking about the “good old days of Jiang Zemin”. At first, it seemed to be a joke; how could you possibly miss former premier Li Peng? He was …

China

This Weekend's Snap Election in Japan Explained

While general elections in Japan were not legally due for another 14 months, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s snap decision to hold them on 22 October should surprise no one.<p>At first glance, the timing seemed puzzling. Economic improvements notwithstanding, 2017 has not been kind to the Abe government. …

Taiwan

Tsai's Southbound Policy Faces 'One China' Opposition

In search of greater regional connectivity, Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy’ (NSP) has progressed from the research and planning stage to large-scale implementation.<p>The NSP has been one of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) signature policies since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May …

China

China's Cities Are Drowning in Takeout Trash

Spend a few days in any Chinese city, and you’ll notice the vast number of scooter-straddling couriers weaving through streets, alleys, and sidewalks, delivering an endless stream of food to homes and offices. Some are loaded with cups of bubble tea; others are weighed down with sandwiches and …

Sustainability

CARTOON: Beware the Cult of Xi

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is underway in Beijing, celebrating the end of President Xi Jinping's first five-year term in office.<p>The congress is taking place in the Great Hall of the People, which sits on the western edge of Tiananmen Square.<p>The world is focused on …

China

China-India Maritime Security: Competition or Cooperation?

The recent border standoff between China and India has attracted the world’s attention and incited heated debates about the two countries “strategic competition.” Once again, the trigger is the chronic border issue, which is viewed as the trickiest problem for bilateral relations. However, if we …

South China Sea

The Enigma of New HK CEO Carrie Lam

Hong Kong now has a new Chief Executive, duly selected last March and formally sworn into office by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on July 1. Having served her first 100 days in office, she delivered her first formal speech to the Legislative Council on Oct. 11. This is known as the Policy …

Hong Kong

Putting Duterte’s Popularity into Perspective of Philippines Political Culture

There is little doubt that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is a populist. As I write in "The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy," the Filipino leader has often presented himself as the voice of the people, the guardian of the nation, the shield against criminal …

Philippines

Questioning Tsai's Sincerity over Indigenous Land Rights

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) began her term on May 20, 2016, full of promise for Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. In her inauguration address, she promised to pursue transitional justice, rebuild an indigenous historical perspective, promote indigenous autonomous governance, restore indigenous …

China

'Insignificant' CCP Congress Opens in Beijing

As the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party opens in Beijing today, Chinese state media, international media and the "China watcher" community are engaged in an extended discussion of the meanings and implications of various expected shifts in policy and personnel.<p>Although the perceived …

China

Pollution and Industrial Smog Cloud Taiwan's Bicycle Paradise

With the annual bicycle festival right around the corner, the Tourism Bureau is again hard at work pumping Taiwan's place in the bicycling universe with lofty powder-puff pay for play articles that seek to lure potential cycling tourists to our shores in search of a life of exotic adventure in the …

Cycling

ISSUE: Undermining Taiwan’s Indigenous Environments

The Control Yuan (Taiwan’s investigatory agency) last week censured the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and Hualien County Government for neglecting to enforce regulations on the mining industry — the newest development in an ongoing debate on Mining Act (礦業法) amendments demanded by …

Taiwan

Philippines Foreign Policy under President Duterte

With improved Sino-Philippine relations post-arbitration, an opening with Russia, and seemingly positive momentum on ASEAN-China Code of Conduct negotiations, one could envision a shadow looming over the Philippines’ longstanding defense cooperation with the United States and recently burgeoning …

South China Sea

What Will Xi Jinping Say About Taiwan at the 19th Party Congress?

No, I have not been given a draft text of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s (習近平) report to the 19th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress, which will serve as the principal policy and programmatic document of the conclave. So I don’t know specifically what the section on Taiwan will say, but I can …

China

Cambodia's Economic Growth Will Require Industry Shift

Cambodia recently made the transition from a low income to a lower middle-income country, according to the World Bank’s rankings.<p>This is good news, but it poses a question: does Cambodia need to rethink its model of export-driven economic growth, as preferential access for its exports to developed …

Taiwan

Marginalized Female Migrant Workers Prone to Radicalization

More often than not, suicide bombers are men who volunteer so that their family can obtain permanent welfare benefits from a self-proclaimed liberation organization. Also common are men who lose their moral and religious compass amid the hustle of the modern global economy and chanced upon the …

Taiwan

Book Review: Exile in Colonial Asia: Kings, Convicts, Commemoration

Exile in Colonial Asia is compact, but it’s a large book in its treatment of forced migration, prisoner resettlement, and exile across the globe from East Asia to Africa. The 10 essays cover people up and down the social hierarchy: rulers (kings, princes, sultans); pretenders to thrones; convicts; …

Taiwan

Chinese Soccer's Corporate Social Responsibility Problem

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to be an important concept and a major part of strategic plans for sports organizations around the world. However, it is a concept that is relatively new in the context of professional sport in China. One reason is that CSR is a western concept that …

Taiwan

Towards Solving ASEAN's Gender Inequality Problems

ASEAN countries are characterized by gender inequalities. With the exception of Lao People's Democratic Republic, women participate less than men in the workforce, with this gap greatest in the Philippines and Malaysia. Women are also far more likely than men to be in vulnerable employment in the …

Gender

Six Taipei Places to Taste Traditional Rice-based Meals

Taiwan is a nation founded upon rice; yet, as we become more diversified and internationalized, so has our diet, and rice is no longer our only carb option. Yet, the culture of rice-based diets are still deeply rooted in the hearts of Taiwanese people and rice is always served at important festive …

Asia

China’s Communist Youth League Decries Twitter 'Defamation'

It took more than 140 characters for China’s Communist Youth League (CYL) to get its point across: All 27 Twitter accounts claiming to represent it are fakes.<p>The youth wing of the Communist Party of China on Tuesday released a long list of the accounts purporting to speak on its behalf, reiterating …

China

A Guide to LGBT Hotspots in Taipei

With its bustling gay nightlife and iconic annual pride parade, Taipei is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in Asia. Attitudes towards queer spaces are unique, encouraging some of the most diverse and open spaces to celebrate LGBT culture. Here are some of the most prominent LGBT spots in Taipei.<p>…

Taipei

Six Shops in Taipei for Islandwide Ingredients

Eating has always been regarded as a major event in Taiwan. Taiwanese people are concerned not only with the taste of the food but also with the farmers who grew it, the land of which it was grown on, and are even concerned with systematic problems faced by the agricultural industry.<p>As a result, …

Asia

President Xi Nails Shut Chinese Internet's Coffin

In the months prior to the Communist Party of China’s 19th Congress, which begins on 18 October, President Xi Jinping has been deploying a major arsenal of repressive measures against online social networks with the aim of perfecting the “Great Firewall” that censors the Internet in China.<p>Just …

China

'Dangerous Dancing': Malaysian Dance Battles against Ban

At the invitation of the Malaysian government, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Karima Bennoune, delivered her preliminary findings at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. Her message was simple: “Let me be very clear, the bans on <i>mak yong</i>, <i>wayang kulit</i>, <i>main</i> …

Taiwan

Malaysian's ‘Mother GAIA’ Artwork Calls for Environmental Protection

A new exhibit in Penang, Malaysia features the latest paintings of Jennifer Mourin, an artist known for actively promoting the protection of the environment through her art.<p>Mourin’s new series is themed “Mother GAIA” which she conceptualized after reading disturbing reports about the state of the …

Environmental Protection

Nano this plastic should be in our water

Taiwan Green Bulletin<p>Teenagers might well be able to solve some of the world’s trickiest problems. Do you remember the Dutch high-school student who came up with an idea to use giant booms to clean the oceans of vast mountains of plastic waste? Floppy-haired Boyan Slat’s invention will set sail in …

Taiwan

CARTOON: ROC or PRC? Philippines Apologizes for Logo Misuse

The Philippines on Monday apologized to China for using a Taiwanese logo in an event to mark a "new era" of ties between the Philippines and China. Relations between the two countries are warming after prolonged periods of tension over control of the South China Sea — at least they were until this …

China