Recent Issue – Vol 82, No 2 – Summer 2009

Does the President’s Popularity Matter in Korea’s Local Elections?

By Byung Kwon Song

It is widely accepted that local elections in Korea are dominated by national issues, such as punishing the president’s party. However, the degree to which local issues matter in Korea’s local elections has thus far not been subjected to empirical scrutiny. To fill this void and explain the failures of the president’s party more fully, this paper tested two sets of hypotheses. First, it estimated the relative importance of national and local issues—the president’s popularity and the governor’s or mayor’s popularity—in local elections. Second, it tested whether the failures of the president’s party in local elections relate to voters’ tendency to vote negatively. Although the results do not support the negative voting hypotheses, both national and local issues are shown to impact voters’ choices. Furthermore, the extent to which a mayor’s or governor’s popularity influences voters’ choices depends on the salience of national issues. In turn, the salience of national issues is affected by the timing of the local election. Combined, these results can shed some light on how the institutional context determines the fortunes of the president’s party in low-turnout elections.

En français

The Attitudes of Urban Chinese Towards Globalization: A Survey Study of Media Influence

By Francis L.F. Lee, Zhou He, Chin-chuan Lee, Wan-Ying Lin and Mike Yao

Throughout the past decade, the Chinese government’s general policy towards “globalization” has been one of active engagement. Opening the country to global capital is seen by Chinese national leaders as a way to further China’s market reform and economic development. This official view towards “globalization” has been articulated in the national leaders’ rhetoric and communicated through the national media. Given the context, this article examines urban Chinese residents’ attitudes towards globalization and the effects of national media consumption on such attitudes. We argue that media effects are likely to exist because of the existence of the conditions of monopoly and canalization. Analysis of a representative survey conducted in four major cities largely supports our arguments. The findings show that Chinese citizens generally believe in the benefits to China of engaging with globalization. Positive views are more strongly held among more educated people, people with stronger nationalistic sentiments, and heavy consumers of the national media. The implications of these findings, as well as the similarities and differences between China and other Asian countries, are discussed.

En français

Mongolia: Transmogrification of a Communist Party

By Morris Rossabi

The Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), founded in 1924, ruled Mongolia as a one-party communist state until 1990. Following the model of the Soviet Union, it imposed a dictatorial government which engaged in a purge leading to the deaths of about 25,000 people, undermined Buddhism, and collectivized the herds. On the other hand, it fostered industrialization and urbanization, introduced modern educational and medical systems, and provided a social safety net for the 183 population. Yet it kept Mongolia isolated from the rest of the world. The fall of communism transformed the MPRP. To hold power, it aligned itself with international financial organizations, which required acquiescence to a shock therapy of rapid privatization, liberalization of trade, elimination of price subsidies, a balanced budget and minimalist government, resulting in increased corruption, unemployment, and greater income inequality. Poverty soared, health and education suffered, and the social safety net was frayed. Market solutions, which both the international financial organizations and the MPRP championed, did not resolve these problems. To be sure, democracy and civil liberties have made great strides, and elections until the summer of 2008 were fair and free of violence. However, parlous economic conditions do not augur well for the future. The MPRP has deviated from its social message of economic democracy and equality of economic opportunity, and the 2008-2009 world-wide financial crisis has exacerbated its problems.

En français

The Communist Party and Financial Institutions: Institutional Design of China’s Post-Reform Rural Credit Cooperatives

By Lynette Ong

Although the rural credit cooperatives are the only formal credit providers to millions of households in rural China, empirical evidence suggests that they do not serve the interests of member households very effectively. This study examines how far the recent institutional reforms have addressed the problems of insider control and collective action in corporate governance and reduced local political influence on their operations.
It contributes to the currently scant literature on the reasons for the persistence in China of local political interference in loan allocations. This study’s findings suggest the need for a re-evaluation of the conventional wisdom that the role of local states in China’s development is a positive one.

En français

India in the Indian Ocean: Growing Mismatch between Ambitions and Capabilities

By Harsh V. Pant

Given the rise of major economic powers in the Asia-Pacific that rely on energy imports to sustain their economic growth, the Indian Ocean region has assumed a new importance. Various powers are once again vying for the control of the waves in this part of the world. This article examines the emerging Indian approach towards the Indian Ocean in the context of India’s rise as a major regional and global actor. It argues that though India has historically viewed the Indian Ocean region as one in which it would like to establish its own predominance, its limited material capabilities have constrained its options. With the expansion, however, of India’s economic and military capabilities, the country’s ambitions vis-à-vis this region are soaring once again. India is also trying its best to respond to the challenge that growing Chinese capabilities in the Indian Ocean are posing to the region and beyond. Yet, preponderance in the Indian Ocean region, though much desired by the Indian strategic elites, remains an unrealistic aspiration for India given the significant stakes that other major powers have in the region.

En français

Beijing: A New Focus.

Review Article

By Jianfei Zhu

 

Books Reviewed In This Issue

Asia General

GLOBALIZATION, MINORITIES AND CIVIL SOCIETY: Perspectives from Asian and Western Cities. Edited by Koichi Hasegawa and Naoki Yoshihara.
Reviewed by Nobue Suzuki

UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY ASIA PACIFIC. Edited by Katherine Palmer Kaup. Reviewed by James Cotton

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF CLEAN ELECTION REFORM. By Frederic Charles Schaffer. Reviewed by Ben Reilly

ASIA’S NEW REGIONALISM. By Ellen L. Frost. Reviewed by Mark Beeson

THE EVOLUTION OF REGIONALISM IN ASIA: Economic and Security Issues. Edited by Heribert Dieter. Reviewed by Shiro Armstrong

EAST ASIAN MULTILATERALISM: Prospects for Regional Stability. Edited by Kent E. Calder and Francis Fukuyama. Reviewed by Simon Seong Chee Tay

HOW EAST ASIANS VIEW DEMOCRACY. Edited by Yun-han Chu, Larry Diamond, Andrew J. Nathan and Doh Chull Shin. Reviewed by Charles Burton

VISIBLE CITIES: Canton, Nagasaki, and Batavia and the Coming of the Americans. By Leonard Blusse. Reviewed by Beverly Lemire

ASIAN CANADIAN WRITING BEYOND AUTOETHNOGRAPHY. Edited by Eleanor Ty and Christl Verduyn. Reviewed by Christopher Lee

 

China and Inner Asia

CHINA’S BRAVE NEW WORLD: And Other Tales for Global Times. By Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom; foreword by Vladimir Tismaneanu. Reviewed by David Kelly

CHINA MODERNIZES: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest? By Randall Peerenboom. Reviewed by Sida Liu

THE ‘ONE CHINA’ DILEMMA. Edited by Peter C. Y. Chow. Reviewed by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker

CHINA’S CHANGING POLITICAL LANDSCAPE: Prospects for Democracy. Edited by Cheng Li. Reviewed by Calvin P. Chen

POLITICAL CHANGE IN CHINA: Comparisons with Taiwan. Edited by Bruce Gilley and Larry Diamond. Reviewed by Dennis V. Hickey

CHINA’S ENERGY STRATEGY: The Impact on Beijing’s Maritime Policies. Edited by Gabriel B. Collins, Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and William S. Murray. Reviewed by Arthur Waldron

CHINA’S TELECOMMUNICATIONS REVOLUTION. By Eric Harwit. Reviewed by Becky P.Y. Loo

THE CHINESE CULTURAL REVOLUTION: A History. By Paul Clarke. Reviewed by Daniel Leese

DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS. By Timothy Brook, Jerome Bourgon and Gregory Blue. Reviewed by W.J.F. Jenner

 

Northeast Asia

THE JAPANESE CHALLENGE TO THE AMERICAN NEOLIBERAL WORLD ORDER: Identity, Meaning, and Foreign Policy. By Yong Wook Lee. Reviewed by Philippe Tremblay

RETHINKING THE CONSTITUTION: An Anthology of Japanese Opinion. Translated by Fred Uleman. Edited by The Constitution of Japan Project 2004. Reviewed by Kyoko Inoue

FROM IMPRESSIONISM TO ANIME: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West. By Susan J. Napier. Reviewed by Christopher Bolton

EAST ASIAN POP CULTURE: Analysing the Korean Wave. Edited by Beng Huat Chua and Koichi Iwabuchi. Reviewed by Kaori Yoshida

KOREAN SPIRITUALITY. By Don Baker. Reviewed by Chong Bum Kim

 

South Asia

THE LONG PARTITION AND THE MAKING OF MODERN SOUTH ASIA: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories. By Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar. Reviewed by Harjot Oberoi

A HUNDRED HORIZONS: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire. By Sugata Bose. Reviewed by Vinayak Chaturvedi

CRICKET IN COLONIAL INDIA, 1780-1947. By Boria Majumdar. Reviewed by John Harriss

 

Southeast Asia

SOUTHEAST ASIAN DEVELOPMENT. By Andrew McGregor. Reviewed by Dean Forbes

SOUTHEAST ASIA IN POLITICAL SCIENCE: Theory, Region, and Qualitative Analysis. Edited by Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Dan Slater, Tuong Vu. Reviewed by Thomas B. Pepinsky

EARLY SOUTHEAST ASIA: Selected Essays. By O.W. Wolters; edited by Craig J. Reynolds. Reviewed by James K. Chin

AT THE EDGE OF THE FOREST: Essays on Cambodia, History, and Narrative in Honor of David Chandler. Edited by Anne Ruth Hansen and Judy Ledgerwood. Reviewed by Mona Lilja

KHMER WOMEN ON THE MOVE: Exploring Work and Life in Urban Cambodia. By Annuska Derks. Reviewed by Khatarya Um

TECHNICAL PROGRESS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: An Empirical Case Study of Malaysia. By Ranald J. Taylor. Reviewed by Rajah Rasiah

MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES AND INDUSTRIAL TRANSFORMATION: Evidence from Thailand. By Archanun Kohpaiboon. Reviewed by Pasuk Phongpaichit

ETHNO-RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN INDONESIA: From Soil to God. By Chris Wilson. Reviewed by John Sidel

POPULAR CULTURE IN INDONESIA: Fluid Identities in Post-Authoritarian Politics. By Ariel Heryanto.Reviewed by Michael Bodden

 

Australasia and the Pacific Region

THE TESTIMONY PROJECT: Papua : A Collection of Personal Histories in West Papua. Edited by Charles E. Farhadian; Photographs by Stephan Babuljak. Reviewed by Larry M. Lake

SPINNING THE DREAM: Assimilation in Australia 1950-1970. By Anna Haebich. Reviewed by Margaret Brock

EXCHANGE AND SACRIFICE. Edited by Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern. Reviewed by Naomi M. McPherson

INVENTING ‘EASTER ISLAND’. By Beverley Haun. Reviewed by Terry L. Hunt

TATTOOING THE WORLD: Pacific Designs in Print and Skin. By Juniper Ellis. Reviewed by Donald H. Rubinstein

WE FOUGHT THE NAVY AND WON: Guam’s Quest for Democracy. By Doloris Coulter Cogan. Reviewed by Laurel A. Monnig

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