Music for the Mind? Virtuosity and Performativity in Celebrity Diplomacy

UN Messenger for Peace and renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang pictured in 2010 (credit: World Economic Forum).

Memo #314 By Hyung-Gu Lynn - hlynn [at] mail.ubc.ca Does celebrity diplomacy work? If so, based on what measures, why, how and for whom? In the afterglow of bravura passages powerful yet precise, arpeggios determined yet delicate, these questions arose, at least in one small corner of my brain. The United Nations Day concert in the General… 

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Canada – China FIPA: Just the Facts, Please

Memo #313 By Matthew Levine – matthew.a.j.levine [at] gmail.com Canada’s Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China (China FIPA), which entered into force October 1, 2014, is a laudable step towards norms-based economic relations in the Asia-Pacific. My two goals here are to briefly introduce key developments in the China FIPA and to put… 

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After the Massacre of 2011: Challenges to Peace and Security along the Mekong River

Memo #312 By Kai Chen – chenkai [at] zju.edu.cn In the so-called “Mekong River massacre” of October 2011, 13 Chinese merchant sailors working on the Mekong were seized and murdered by members of the Hawngleuk Militia led by its Burmese leader Naw Kham. Later captured in Laos and extradited to China, Naw Kham was found… 

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The Perilous Start and Uncertain Future of the Jokowi Era in Indonesia

Memo #311 Editor’s Note: On Friday, October 10, 2014, UBC’s Institute of Asian Research hosted a conference examining the theme, “The Jokowi Era: A New Age for Indonesia?” In advance of this gathering, one of its participants, Dr. Kai Ostwald, provided us his take on what the election of “Jokowi” signified for the world’s third largest democracy.  By Kai Ostwald… 

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The Year in Malaysian Politics: Democracy’s Crooked Trajectory

Memo #310 By Kai Ostwald – kai.ostwald [at] ubc.ca In the run-up to Malaysia’s 13th General Election in May 2013, optimists argued that the country had finally transitioned from decades of semi-authoritarian rule to a competitive de-facto two party system of democracy. The election itself exposed several flaws in the system, namely that high levels… 

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The Lost Generation: “Barefoot Doctors” in Post-Reform China

Memo #309 By Jiong Tu – jt457 [at] cam.ac.uk China’s barefoot doctor system is known for having provided inexpensive and accessible medical care to its large rural population in the 1970s. But the system became bankrupt with the advent of market reforms in the 1980s and many barefoot doctors either became private doctors or gave… 

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Coming Soon: A New Season of Asia Pacific Memos!

Dear Readers, We hope you’ve all enjoyed your summer. With fall upon us, the APM will soon be returning with another season of memos. There will be a slight change in our release schedule. For the coming year we want to focus on procuring and preparing quality memos with less concern about timing, and so… 

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Big Noise, Big Settlement: the Logic of Claims-making in China

Memo #308 By Sophia Woodman – Sophia.Woodman [at] ed.ac.uk The twenty-fifth anniversary of China’s nationwide democracy movement and its suppression in June 1989 was marked in the mainland by an imposed silence. Revisiting the “verdict” that the demonstrations were a “counterrevolutionary rebellion” does not appear to be on the horizon. But this does not mean…… 

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Are Chinese Citizens becoming more Assertive? Perspectives from the (Limited) Data

Memo #307 By Sophia Woodman – Sophia.Woodman [at] ed.ac.uk The last decade has seen an explosion of academic and media reporting about protests in China. Chinese citizens’ access to social media makes it harder for the authorities to suppress information about unrest. Even when mainstream media reporting is censored, often the news of an event… 

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Charging Beijing’s Electric Vehicles Policy

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students Memo #306 By Marc McCrum – mbmccrum [at] alumni.ubc.ca and Grégoire-François Legault – gregoire.legault [at] alumni.ubc.ca According to the World Bank, Beijing’s poor air quality costs $300bn a year in healthcare costs and premature deaths. Of Beijing’s air pollution, over 30% is estimated to be the direct result… 

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Counter-Insurgency in Afghanistan: Whose Violence is it Anyway?

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students Memo #305 By Dur-e-Aden – dur-e-aden [at] hotmail.com While fighting an insurgency, it is important never to harm civilians. Doing so will increase recruitment for insurgent groups and result in fuelling the conflict. This is known as the “population-centric” counter-insurgency doctrine. By this logic, it also follows… Continue reading