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Asia Maior Vol. XXXI / 2020

Asia in 2020: Coping with COVID-19 and other crises

Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
Asia Maior Vol. XXXI / 2020


Foreword. Asia in 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The most important development of 2020 was, without doubt, the pandemic of the Coronavirus disease (henceforth COVID-19). The outbreak began at the end of 2019 and rapidly escalated to become a worldwide phenomenon within the first few months of 2020. The first cases of the novel coronavirus were […]

China 2020: A foreign policy characterized by growing resilience, fading responsibility and increasing uncertainty

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2020 Chinese foreign policy had to contend with the global repercussions of the spread of an unprecedented virus causing a global pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 (commonly known as COVID-19). Suspicions about the Chinese origin of the virus have strongly weakened the image of a responsible country much promoted […]

Korean peninsula 2020: Overcoming the challenges of COVID-19

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The COVID-19 pandemic had disruptive effects on the Korean peninsula, as well as in the rest of the world. Deploying two very different strategies, both Koreas were able to spare their populations from the most tragic consequences in terms of public health. However, the pandemic had important effects […]

Japan 2020: Abe’s well-laid plans go awry

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Like elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic caused substantial disruptions in Japan. While generous fiscal spending mitigated the pandemic’s economic fallout, and Japan is poised in 2021 to rebound from its year-on-year 4.8% fall in GDP, there was significant political fallout in 2020. The postponement of the Olympic Games, the […]

Hong Kong 2020: The downfall of «one country two systems»

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In this watershed year the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region (HKSAR) was fundamentally reshaped by the concatenation of two major events, namely COVID-19 and the roll out of the National Security Law (NSL). While Beijing had already set in train advanced plans for the «second takeover», with mass […]

Taiwan 2020: Crossroads of COVID-19 international politics

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The year 2020 started with President Tsai winning a second term and the DPP obtaining once again a parliamentary majority in the general elections held on 11 January. By the end of the year, Taiwan emerged as one of the few polities able to effectively put the COVID-19 […]

Malaysia 2020: Democratic backsliding amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The pernicious effects of political polarisation and unresolved intra-coalition differences resulted in political party defections that contributed to the fall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the tenuous position of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that replaced it. Domestic politics through much of 2020 was marked by […]

Myanmar 2020: Elections in a pandemic

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The year 2020 in Myanmar was not substantively different from that of so many other countries. The year was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, its socio-economic impact and the government’s attempt to cushion its effect and fight against it. The authorities sought to seal off the country from […]

Bangladesh 2019-2020: Issues of democracy, disasters, development

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2019-2020, the Awami League maintained its grasp on power by resorting to repressive measures. Political dissent was silenced through both legal and extrajudicial means. Poor civil rights protection confirmed that negative trends already emerged in previous years worsened further, as the country continued losing its democratic features. […]

India 2020: Under the COVID hammer

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, its economy was going through a difficult phase. This left the government ill prepared to tackle the pandemic and its economic dislocation. Furthermore, India’s health infrastructure – suffering from decades of under investments – was at serious risk of being rapidly overwhelmed. […]

India 2020: The deepening crisis of democracy

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The following article, focussed on the analysis of the ongoing crisis of Indian democracy in the year 2020, is articulated in two parts. The first, after a synthetic summing up of how the crisis started in 2019, is an overview of the main developments which characterized the struggle […]

India 2020: Confronting China, aligning with the US

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf During 2020, India’s foreign policy was unaffected by the COVID-19 and dominated by two key developments, on whose analysis this article is focussed. One was the turning for the worse of the India-China relation, of which the heating up of the Himalayan border, which saw clashes between the […]

Sri Lanka 2019-2020: Extremism, elections and economic uncertainty at the time of COVID-19

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Sri Lanka in 2019 and 2020 was characterised by Islamist violence and its aftermath, a presidential and general election, and COVID-19. This article traces the internal, economic and foreign policies of Sri Lanka chronologically and thematically across the two years under examination. These policies were deeply interconnected during […]

Pakistan 2020: The PTI government amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Austerity measures tied to disbursement of the bailout programme that Pakistan agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund in 2019 helped Islamabad progress towards macroeconomic stabilisation. After the COVID-19 outbreak hit the country in February 2020, related disruptions strained economic activity and put pressure on Pakistan’s fiscal position. […]

Kazakhstan 2020: Between a rock and a hard place

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf With its society deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economy struggling due to low oil prices, 2020 was the year in which Kazakhstan’s government was compelled to continuously adopt emergency measures. This contributed to a looming uncertainty about the country’s ability to cope with the multiple […]


The life and death of indian democracy

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Yogendra Yadav, Making Sense of Indian Democracy, Ranikhet (Uttarakhand, India): Permanent Black, 2020, 422 pp. (ISBN108178245469). The political theorist Sunil Khilnani once remarked that every general election in India sets a new record, as the largest exercise of the popular will in the history of humankind. More people […]

Policy making in India: How two civil service insiders got things done

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Montek Singh Ahluwalia, (2020) Backstage: The Story Behind India’s High Growth Years. New Delhi: Rupa, 2020, xiv+434 pages (ISBN: 978-93-5333-821-3). Ram Sewak Sharma, The Making of Aadhaar: World’s Largest Identity Platform. New Delhi: Rupa (Kindle Edition), 235 pages (ISBN: 978-93-9035-12-6). At first sight these two books make unlikely […]

Japan’s search for a foreign policy path between China and the US

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Victor Teo, Japan’s Arduous Rejuvenation as a Global Power: Democratic Resilience and the US-China Challenge, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, 242 pp. (ISBN 9789811361890). Victor Teo’s Japan’s Arduous Rejuvenation as a Global Power is a study of Japanese foreign relations in the contemporary times that offers a new perspective, […]

The importance of China’s strategic culture in the Korean War

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Li Xiaobing, China’s War in Korea. Strategic Culture and Geopolitics, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, xvii + 245 pp. (ISBN 9789813296749). The Korean War has customarily represented one of the most studied themes in the historiography of Cold War in the Asian continent. This gargantuan production has articulated in […]

Chinese and US influence in the «Indo-Pacific»

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Bonny Lin et al., Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific. Study Overview and Conclusions, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020, 141 pp. (ISBN 101977405185). In several countries, expanding interactions with China have triggered intense discussions on China’s influence in the economic, political and cultural spheres. While […]

Borders in revolt: Hong Kong youth and contested sovereignty

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Au Loong-Yu, Hong Kong in Revolt: The Protest Movement and the Future of China, London: Pluto Press, 2020, 216 pp. (ISBN 9780745341460). Hong Kong in Revolt is one of several recent book-length studies providing an overview of the 2019 movement. Hong Kong labour activist Au Loong-Yu unfolds the […]

A grand sweep of the history of Sino-Japanese relations

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Teng, Jun, The history of Sino-Japanese cultural exchange. Translated by Wu, Li. Routledge China perspectives, Abingdon: Routledge, 2019, 182 pp. (ISBN 9780367663681). This book is a translation of the author’s Zhong Ri wenhua jiaoliu shi [中日文化交流史], published by the Peking University Press in 2011. It appears in Routledge’s […]