Recent Issue – Vol 85, No 4 – December 2012

Friends, Enemies, or Frenemies? China-Taiwan Discord in the World Health Organization and Its Significance

Czeslaw Tubilewicz, University of Adelaide, Australia

Keywords: China, Taiwan, sovereignty, diplomatic truce, international organizations, World Health Organization

This article examines the China-Taiwan diplomatic truce through the prism of Taiwan’s post-2009 participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). It argues that Taipei’s inclusion in the International Health Regulations (IHR) and its observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA) did not signify a suspension of the cross-Strait dispute over Taipei’s capacity to participate in international affairs independently of Beijing. While Taipei ostensibly sought a WHA observership to strengthen Taiwan’s health security, it also wished to validate Taiwan’s international legal sovereignty. Beijing, for its part, appeared to have compromised its claim over Taiwan’s sovereignty by abandoning the diplomatic isolation of Taiwan in international organizations (IGOs), but in practice enforced its sovereign claim by denying Taiwan unrestricted access to activities of the WHO and other IGOs. Thus, China-Taiwan interaction on the WHO issue created a facade of cross-Strait diplomatic détente. The appearance of a cross-Strait truce benefited Beijing by demonstrating China’s goodwill towards Taiwan and by highlighting the practical gains ensuing from cooperative cross-Strait relations. It also benefited Taipei by showcasing an improvement in Taiwan’s standing in global affairs as a result of the governmental strategy. However, it did not end the China-Taiwan contestations of sovereignty, nor did it transform them into unambiguous friends. Instead, it turned them into ‘frenemies’: competitive and mistrustful, yet convinced that cooperation – however tenuous or illusory – advanced their (conflicting) objectives more than the bitter enmity of the past decades. Abstract in Chinese – 摘要 / Purchase Article

God-King and Indonesia: Renegotiating the Boundaries between Western and non-Western Perspectives on Foreign Policy

Paruedee Nguitragool, University of Freiburg, Germany

Keywords: Indonesia, worldview, Western-centrism, international relations theory, identity, democracy

The critique of Western-centrism in knowledge production in the discipline of international relations (IR) has led to attempts to incorporate regional experiences into the mainstream IR theorization. Ambivalence and challenges remain, however. They arise from the similar and shared histories that make distinguishing Western and non-Western ideas and theories difficult. Seeking to contribute to the debate on Western-centrism in IR theorization, I examine the cultural sources and history of political realism in Java. By tracing the history of struggles, political practices and the ideas such as the God-King, problems of some contemporary IR theories become evident. The boundaries between Western and non-Western political thinking, however, become less pronounced. Abstract in Chinese – 摘要 / Purchase Article

Instrumentalized History and the Motif of Repetition in News Coverage of Japan-Taiwan Relations*

Jens Sejrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Keywords: Japan, Taiwan, news, history, postcolonial, modernity

Examining the coverage in seven major Japanese and Taiwanese daily newspapers of a selection of events involving both societies in the first decade of the twenty-first century, this paper investigates the phenomenon of rhetorical instrumentalization of the past for present ideological purposes. The concerns of this study are the processes of dehistorization in Japanese and Taiwanese news and public debate, and through a critical thematic reading of the sources I argue that a motif of Taiwanese repetition and imitation of Japan runs through all the studied cases as a basic narrative formula. Analyzed cases include news presentations of Taiwanese politicians visiting Japan, controversial statements on Taiwan by a Japanese cabinet minister, infrastructure developments in present-day Taiwan and the controversy surrounding a Japanese guidebook to Taiwanese prostitution. Throughout the material, Taiwan is pictured as ideally progressing along a trajectory marked out by Japan and the two are cast in fixed roles that recall their relative positions in the half-century of Japanese colonization of Taiwan: Japan teaches Taiwan order, unity and modern development and Taiwan studies Japan’s past to overcome the challenges of its own present. Or Taiwan spontaneously imitates Japanese precedence as a consequence of its own development. This paper fundamentally challenges the rationale underlying strategic instrumentalization of the past and draws critical attention to the paradoxical fact that the use of the repetition formula positions the covered news events in a thematic field of time-lag and retrospection. Abstract in Chinese – 摘要 / Purchase Article

* Winner of the 2014 EastAsiaNet Award for an academic article. The jury unanimously praised the careful, thorough and creative way Japanese and Taiwanese newspapers were analysed.  For more details.

Making Climate Change Policy Work at the Local Level: Capacity-Building for Decentralized Policymaking in Japan

Yasuo Takao, Curtin University, Australia

Keywords:Japan, local government, climate change, decentralization, local capacity-building

This study will examine the state of local capacity building for local climate adaptation in Japan. Climate mitigation needs to be led by both global strategies and national mandates in an integrated way, but climate change impacts are manifested locally and adaptive capacity is determined by local conditions. The article first lays out the basic components of local capacity for decentralized policymaking and assesses the current local capacity in view of Japan’s climate policy. The bulk of data employed in the study is derived from existing up-to-date government databases. It found that only the largest municipalities as well as prefectures have governing capacities to develop a comprehensive approach to climate adaptation while medium-sized municipalities have a potential to take a participatory approach to climate policy. It argues that some pioneering localities realize their potentials to take initiatives under political leadership but most localities act in a piecemeal fashion according to clear national-level guidance on climate change. Abstract in Chinese – 摘要 / Purchase Article

Books Reviewed in this issue

Asia General

CHINA AND INDIA: Great Power Rivals. By Mohan Malik. Boulder, CO: FirstForumPress, 2011. xiii, 468 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$79.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-935049-41-8. Reviewed by S D Muni

STRONG SOCIETY, SMART STATE: The Rise of Public Opinion in China’s Japan Policy. Contemporary Asia in the World. By James Reilly. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011, c2012. xv, 331 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-15806-0. Reviewed by Christopher R. Hughes

BEYOND OUR MEANS: Why America Spends While the World Saves. By Sheldon Garon. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2012. 475 pp. (Figures, coloured photos.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-691-13599-1. Reviewed By Thomas F. Cargill

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Sino-Soviet Rivalry and the Termination of the Sino-Vietnamese Alliance. By Nicholas Khoo. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. x, 267 pp. (Tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-15078-1. Reviewed by Sophie Quinn-Judge

GENDERING THE FIELD: Towards Sustainable Livelihoods for Mining Communities. Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph 6. By Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt. Acton, ACT: ANU E Press, 2011. xviii, 230 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-9218-6216-8. Reviewed by Penelope Schoeffel

China and Inner Asia

PAST AND PRESENT IN CHINA’S FOREIGN POLICY: From “Tribute System” to “Peaceful Rise.” Edited with an introduction by John E. Wills, Jr. Portland, ME: Merwin Asia; Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press (distributor), 2010. xx, 133 pp. US$35.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-9836599-8-3. Reviewed by Paul J. Bolt

CHINA AMONG UNEQUALS: Asymmetric Foreign Relationships in Asia. By Brantly Womack. Singapore; Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific, 2010. ix, 540 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$130.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4295-27-7. Reviewed by Nicholas Khoo

CHINESE CIRCULATIONS: Capital, Commodities, and Networks in Southeast Asia. Eric Tagliacozzo and Wen-Chin Chang, eds.; foreword by Wang Gungwu. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011. xiii, 534 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-4903-7. Reviewed by Edmund Terence Gomez

ENERGY CONSERVATION IN EAST ASIA: Towards Greater Energy Security. World Scientific Series on Energy and Resource Economics, 8. Editors, Elspeth Thomson, Youngho Chang, Jae-Seung Lee. Singapore; Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific Pub., 2011. xviii, 390 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-277-177-3. Reviewed by Pak K. Lee

PARADISE REDEFINED: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World. By Vanessa L. Fong. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. viii, 267 pp. US$21.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8047-7267-9. Reviewed by Xin Huang

CONTEMPORARY CHINESE VISUAL CULTURE: Tradition, Modernity and Globalization. Edited by Christopher Crouch. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2010. xvi, 400 pp. (Figures.) US$124.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-60497-721-9. Reviewed by James Flath

PASTIMES: From Art and Antiquarianism to Modern Chinese Historiography. By Shana J. Brown. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011. ix, 219 pp. (Figures.) US$48.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3498-2. Reviewed by Craig Clunas

PURSUING CHINA: Memoir of a Beaver Liaison Officer. By Brian L. Evans. Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press, 2012. x, 295 pp. (Illus., B&W photos.) C$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-88864-600-2. Reviewed by Diana Lary

CHURCH MILITANT: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai. By Paul P. Mariani. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2011. xiii, 282 pp., [12] pp. of plates (Illus.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06153-8. Reviewed by Jean-Paul Wiest

DANCING FOR THE DEAD: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan: (an ethnographic film). By Marc L. Moskowitz, director, producer, editor, and cinematographer. Columbia, SC: Daunting Hat Productions, 2011. 1 DVD (38 min.) US$19.95. Reviewed by Thomas B. Gold

Northeast Asia

MASCULINITY & JAPAN’S FOREIGN RELATIONS. By Yumiko Mikanagi. Boulder, CO; London: FirstForumPress, 2011. ix, 139 pp. (Tables.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-935049-38-8. Reviewed by Robert Dean

COLLABORATIVE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NORTHEAST ASIA: Towards a Sustainable Regional and Sub-Regional Future. Edited by Won Bae Kim, Yue-man Yeung and Sang-Chuel Choe. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2011. xviii, 378pp.(Tables, figures.) US$60.00 cloth. ISBN 978-962-996-482-5. Reviewed by David Martin Jones

ASIA’S FLYING GEESE: How Regionalization Shapes Japan. Cornell Studies in Political Economy. By Walter F. Hatch. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2010. xi, 292 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7647-1. Reviewed by John Ravenhill

DEVIANCE AND INEQUALITY IN JAPAN: Japanese Youth and Foreign Migrants. By Robert Stuart Yoder. Bristol (UK): The Policy Press; Portland, OR: Exclusively Distributed by International Specialized Book Services, 2011. viii, 232 pp. (Tables.) US $110.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84742-832-5. Reviewed by Yoshitaka Mōri

JAPAN’S NEW INEQUALITY: Intersection of Employment Reforms and Welfare Arrangements. Stratification and Inequality Series, 10. Edited by Yoshimichi Sato and Jun Imai. Balwyn North, Vic: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: Exclusively Distributed by International Specialized Book Services, 2011. xv, 181 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$84.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-920901-40-0. Reviewed by Randall S. Jones

AESTHETIC CONSTRUCTIONS OF KOREAN NATIONALISM: Spectacle, Politics and History. Asia’s Transformations, 34. By Hong Kal. London; New York: Routledge, 2011. xix, 164 pp. (Figures.) US$133.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-60256-3. Reviewed by Yooil Bae

South Asia

PARTY SYSTEM CHANGE IN SOUTH INDIA: Political Entrepreneurs, Patterns, and Processes. Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies, 15. By Andrew Wyatt. London; New York: Routledge, 2010. xiii, 226 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-40131-9. Reviewed by Kanta Murali

EMPIRE’S GARDEN: Assam and the Making of India. By Jayeeta Sharma. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 2011. xiii, 324 pp. (Illus., maps.) US$25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5049-1. Reviewed by Gareth Price

HIP HOP DESIS: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness. By Nitasha Tamar Sharma. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010. xiv, 351 pp. (Illus.) US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0- 8223-4760-6. Reviewed by Radha S. Hegde

HARVESTING FEMINIST KNOWLEDGE FOR PUBLIC POLICY: Rebuilding Progress. Edited by Devaki Jain, Diane Elson. New Delhi; London: SAGE, 2011. xlvi, 347 pp. (Tables, graphs.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-0741-5. Reviewed by Purna Sen

PAKISTAN: A Hard Country. By Anatol Lieven. New York: PublicAffairs, 2011. xv, 558 pp., [16] pp. of plates (Illus.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-61039-021-7. Reviewed by Ishtiaq Ahmed

SIKHISM. Dimensions of Asian Spirituality. By Doris R. Jakobsh. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012. xxi, 134 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) US$17.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3601-6. Reviewed by Pritam Singh

REVELRY, RIVALRY, AND LONGING FOR THE GODDESSES OF BENGAL: The Fortunes of Hindu Festivals. By Rachel Fell McDermott. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. xviii, 372 pp. (Figures.) US$34.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-12919-0. Reviewed by Chris J. Fuller

Southeast Asia

ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY: Essays and Reflections by Singapore’s Negotiators. Edited by C.L. Lim, Margaret Liang. Singapore; Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific, 2011. xxvi, 316 pp. (Tables.) US$88.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4324-63-2. Reviewed by Natasha Hamilton-Hart

BRITISH POLICY AND THE CHINESE IN SINGAPORE, 1939 TO 1955: The Public Service Career Of Tan Chin Tuan. By Lee Su Yin. Singapore: Talisman Publishing, 2011. xxiv, 176 pp. (Tables, figures.) S$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-981-08-6667-9. Reviewed by Loh Kah Seng

MICROFINANCE AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Women in Debt in Bangladesh. By Lamia Karim. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. xxxiii, 255 pp. (Tables, B&W photos.) US$25.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8166-7094-9. Reviewed by Thankom Arun

BANGSA AND UMMA: Development of People-grouping Concepts in Islamized Southeast Asia. Kyoto Area Studies on Asia, v. 21. Edited by Yamamoto Hiroyuki et al. Kyoto: Kyoto University Press; Balwyn North, Vic.: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: distributed by International Specialized Book Services, 2011. ix, 279 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$84.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-92091-52-3. Reviewed by Regina Lim

MODERN MUSLIM IDENTITIES: Negotiating Religion and Ethnicity in Malaysia. NIAS Monographs, 119. By Gerard Hoffstaedter. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2011. xv, 272 pp. (Figures, map.) £18.99, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-081-2. Reviewed by Joseph Chinyong Liow

SUBMITTING TO GOD: Women and Islam in Urban Malaysia. Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies. By Sylva Frisk. Seattle: University of Washington Press; Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2009. xvii, 216 pp. (B&W photos.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-98925-9. Reviewed by Maila Stivens

DANGDUT STORIES: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia’s Most Popular Music. By Andrew N. Weintraub. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. vi, 258 pp. (Illus., music.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-539567-9. Reviewed by David Goldsworthy

Australasia and the Pacific Region

MAKING OUR PLACE: Exploring Land-use Tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Co-edited by Jacinta Ruru, Janet Stephenson, Mick Abbott. Dunedin, NZ: Otago University Press; Portland, OR: Distributed by International Specialized Book Services, 2011. 243 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$45.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-877372-88-94. Reviewed by Toon van Meijl

FOOD FOR THE FLAMES: Idols and Missionaries in Central Polynesia. By David Shaw King; Photography by Brian Carlson; Foreword by David Attenborough. San Francisco: Beak Press, in association with Holberton Publishing, London; Seattle: Distributed by University of Washington Press, 2011. xv, 222 pp. (Figures, photos., illus.) US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-90737-216-2. Reviewed by Fanny Wonu Veys

AUSTRONESIAN SOUNDSCAPES: Performing Arts in Oceania and Southeast Asia. IIAS Publications Series. Edited Volumes, Vol. 4. Edited by Birgit Abels. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; Chicago, IL: Distributed by University of Chicago Press, 2011. 336 pp. (Tables, figures, maps, music, B&W photos.) US$47.50. ISBN 978-90-8964-058-7. Reviewed by Richard Moyle

ISLANDERS: The Pacific in the Age of Empire. By Nicholas Thomas. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2010. x, 366 pp. (Maps, B&W photos., illus.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-300-12438-5. Reviewed by Judith A. Bennett

TAHITI BEYOND THE POSTCARD: Power, Place, and Everyday Life. Culture, Place and Nature. By Miriam Kahn. Seattle; London: University of Washington Press, 2011. xv, 272 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$35.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99102-3. Reviewed by Jennifer Wagelie

REITE PLANTS: An Ethnobotanical Study in Tok Pisin and English. Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph, 4. By Porer Nombo and James Leach. Canberra, ACT: ANU E Press, 2010. xxiv, 192 pp. (Maps, coloured photos.) US$49.95, paper. ISBN 978-19216-66001. Reviewed by Richard Scaglion

ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING: Policy and Legal Implications for Papua New Guinea. Editors, Eric L. Kwa, Sakarepe Kamene, John Kouni. Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Press; Oakland, CA: Distributed by Masalai Press, 2011. xiv, 145 pp. (Tables.) US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-9980-84-897-0. Reviewed by John Burton




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