Downton Abbeystan: Why Central Asia is like Twentieth Century Upper Class England

British TV series Downton Abbey follows the Earl and Countess of Grantham in early twentieth century England as they endeavour to save the immense family estate. Viewers have been enthralled by this fictitious upper class English family’s efforts to make successful marriages for their daughters to ensure the estate remains in the family’s hands—at the time, daughters could not inherit titles and the properties that went with them. Continue reading

Unhealthy Rituals: How to Address the Occupational Health Hazards of Doing Business in China

As China’s economy has grown, so has its burden of disease. Excessive practices of smoking, drinking and eating, along with a growing commercial sex industry, are leading to epidemics of cancer, diabetes, stroke, other cardio-vascular diseases and sexually transmitted infections. Something must be done about this before it threatens China’s economic growth, but the response must fit the problem. Continue reading

Tertiary Education in Mongolia: Tackling Mongolia’s Labor Deficit Problem

The Mongolian economy is booming and continues to enjoy an extremely high GDP growth rate. Economic opportunities for citizens in urban and rural settings abound. Mining is a major portion of the economy, with the massive Oyu Tolgoi mining project accounting for a third of Mongolia’s GDP. While World Bank development projects focus on infrastructure development, economic governance and institutional strengthening of the mining sector, the demand for a sufficiently educated Mongolian workforce remains unmet. Continue reading

Cultural Objects and Tradition in Post-Socialist Mongolia

Since the end of Mongolia’s socialist period (1921-1990) the country has been experiencing a “cultural revival”. Post-socialist nationalism permeates private and public life, and deeply colours the way “traditional” culture is imagined. Once religious prohibitions were lifted in the early 1990s, newly constructed Buddhist temples and their monastic populations emerged as sources of authority. Lams (monks) performed rituals to protect Mongolians and the Mongolian state from the uncertainties of the new democratic and capitalist era as much as provide spiritual benefits. Continue reading

Hong Kong’s Untenable Refugee Policies

Recent demonstrations protesting Hong Kong’s zero-recognition refugee policy in April 2013 brought renewed attention to a crisis situation regarding asylum seekers in the territory. Since 2004, 12,300 asylum seekers have filed claims with Hong Kong’s Immigration Department asking to be allowed to remain on the grounds that they face torture if returned to their countries, but only one has ever been granted refugee status. Hong Kong’s refugee recognition rates are well below the international average of 13.8% reported by the United Nations, and the 20% to 38% recognition rate in liberal democracies. Continue reading

India-Bangladesh Border Issue Unresolved

Memo #231

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

By Glen Hamburg – glenhamburg [at]

An international enclave is a piece of one state’s sovereign territory entirely surrounded by the territory of just one other state. Nearly 200 such land-locked islands lie along India’s border with northern Bangladesh.  The obscure remnants of… Continue reading

China in Global Governance (Video Interview with Professor Gerald Chan)

Memo #230

Featuring Gerald Chan – gerald.chan [at]

Professor Chan, of the University of Auckland, discusses his research on China in global governance.

He describes Chinese involvement in world affairs as a new phenomenon, which began with Chinese reforms in the 1980s. This period saw increased interaction between China and other states, and between China… Continue reading