Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Asia Blog

Mark Twain, William Shakespeare and Jiang Zemin

An elderly man looks at portraits of former Chinese communist leaders (L to R) Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and current president Hu Jintao in Ditan Park in Beijing on June 28, 2011. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

As my friends know, it doesn’t take much to make me think of Mark Twain. And even people I’ve never met who have followed my writings on China know about my obsession with Twain, since I’ve managed to bring him into discussions of a wide range of China-related topics, from Shanghai history (he never went there but has a San Francisco-bound fictional character set sail from that treaty port) to the Boxers (with whose cause he expressed sympathy in 1900). So, it’s no surprise that, when rumors about Jiang Zemin’s death flew and then were squashed earlier this week, I found myself thinking of Twain.

Ai Weiwei 'Intensively Dedicating Himself to His Artistic Creation'

Ai Weiwei (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
Arts

The New York Times reports that recently freed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei — whose New York photos are currently on display at Asia Society Museum — is reportedly back at work. Swiss gallery owner Urs Meile told the paper that he visited Ai from June 30 to July 3 and that the artist was in good health.

China's Looming 'Debt Monster': Problem or Investment?

View from the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai looking over development in PuDong, 2007. (FrankTheFotographer.com/Flickr)
Policy

China has accumulated massive debt through government spending on a "massive stimulus program" and "giant public projects," but the future of such investments is uncertain.

Chinese Investors 'Rescue' Small U.S. Companies 'From a Very Tough Economy'

Detail view of China's 100 yuan note. (David Dennis/Flickr)
Business

U.S. companies recieved $5 billion in Chinese investments in 2010, but it "may be only the beginning of a tidal wave of direct Chinese investment in American businesses," James Flanigan wrote yesterday in a New York Times article on Asia Society's recently released special report, "An American Open Door?"

Woodroofe: Clinton, Not Ban, Should Be Next UN Chief

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a press conference at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland, on February 28, 2011. (Eric Bridiers/State Department/Public Domain)
Policy

The United Nations Security Council recently approved Ban Ki-moon for a second five-year term as U.N. Secretary General. But, according to Asia Society Associate Fellow Thom Woodroofe in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation opinion piece, this was the wrong decision. His choice?

Jakarta Globe Lauds Asia Society 'Indonesianist' Rachel Cooper

Future Asia Society Director of Cultural Programs and Performing Arts Rachel Cooper (2nd from left) with fellow dancers Dayu Wimba, Ni Ketut Arini and Ni Made in Bali, Indonesia.
Sustainability

In a laudatory July 4 profile, the Jakarta Globe singled out Rachel Cooper, Director of Cultural Programs and Performing Arts at Asia Society, for her efforts as a performance arts presenter in bringing the arts of Indonesia to U.S. audiences.

A Coming Thaw in Thai-Cambodian Ties?

A Cambodian solider guards the grounds of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple as tensions remain high on both sides of the border, on Feb. 8, 2011 in Preah Vihear, Cambodia. The 900-year-old temple belongs to Cambodia following a 1962 World Court ruling but this remains disputed by many Thais. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Policy

Yingluck Shinawatra's triumph in the recent Thai general elections creates space for rapprochement with Cambodia. 

Yingluck promptly promised to "restore good relations with neighboring countries" — a swipe at the outgoing government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, which presided over a tense period of Thai-Cambodian confrontation over Preah Vihear temple and other disputed sites.

The border dispute became entangled with the red-yellow rivalry in Thai domestic politics in 2008.

Yingluck's Win: Potential Crisis or Step Forward for Thai Democracy?

Pheu Thai candidate Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters in Chiang Rai province on May 22, 2011. Shinawatra and her party went on to win a decisive victory in Thailand's elections on July 3. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

The Pheu Thai party’s victory in Thailand's July 3 elections could turn into a new crisis rather than being a step forward for Thailand’s fragile democracy. If the Pheu Thai were to implement all the outlandish election promises it has given — free computers to all schoolchildren, free wi-fi, higher rice prices for the farmers, generous pensions for the elderly, new super-fast trains, a substantial increase in the minimum wage and so on — it would ruin the country’s economy.

Asia Must Take Initiative on Climate Change, Regardless of the US

India's Taj Mahal, visible through the surrounding haze, at sunrise. (Tine Steiss/Flickr)
Sustainability

This past week, former American Vice President Al Gore sharply criticized the Obama administration for failing to significantly alter United States policy on climate change and energy. What role should American leadership play in shaping government policies on climate change throughout Asia? Alternatively, what global leadership role exists for developed and developing Asian countries themselves in areas like clean energy and global warming mitigation? Is the possibility of a global deal on climate change completely dead? If so, can it be resuscitated?

Finding a Common Platform for Climate Change

Pokhara, Nepal. (Mike Behnken/Flickr)
Sustainability

This past week, former American Vice President Al Gore sharply criticized the Obama administration for failing to significantly alter United States policy on climate change and energy. What role should American leadership play in shaping government policies on climate change throughout Asia? Alternatively, what global leadership role exists for developed and developing Asian countries themselves in areas like clean energy and global warming mitigation? Is the possibility of a global deal on climate change completely dead? If so, can it be resuscitated?