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Asia Maior Vol. XXXII / 2021

Asia in 2021: In the grip of global and local crises

Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
Asia Maior Vol. XXXII / 2021


Foreword Asia Maior in 2021: Pandemic crisis; US-China confrontation; authoritarian involution

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The political and social evolution of Asia Maior1 during the year 2021 was shaped by three main developments: the COVID-19 pandemic; the US-China confrontation; the authoritarian involution of the region. All three developments, far from representing something new, were the continuation of trends which had started before – […]

China 2021: Coping with the resilience dilemma of the Chinese model

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2021 Chinese internal politics were dominated by the domestic economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) worked well to project the numerous successes of Chinese politics through history. Yet, Beijing’s insistence on the need to rethink the […]

Taiwan 2021: Heightened geo-economic relevance amid rising cross-strait tensions*

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Taiwan remained one of the crossroads of international politics in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cross-Strait relations with China continued their downward trend, with increasing military tensions in the airspace and waters surrounding the island, leading to speculations of a military takeover. The PLA activism in […]

The Philippines 2021: Populist legacy and looming uncertainties

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf   The Philippines started 2021 with a temporary relief as the arrival of limited COVID-19 vaccine supplies ushered in the government’s launch of its national inoculation programme. However, the periodic surge of COVID-19 cases exposed the constant inadequacies of the Philippine pandemic response, straining once again the country’s […]

Laos 2017-2021: Revival of the subsistence ethic

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Since 2016, Laos has seen a tightening of social control by the ruling Communist Party. At the same time, socialism has returned as the cornerstone of the official discourse. While some have argued that the socialist discourse only serves the purpose of legitimizing either one-party rule or capitalist […]

Cambodia 2018-2021: From democracy to autocracy

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The years between 2018 and 2021 continued a pattern for Cambodia of a rolling back of democracy, human rights, and civil liberties, and saw the completion of the transition from a multi-party illiberal democracy to a one-party, authoritarian state. As attacks against political opposition increased, and political space […]

Malaysia 2021: A widening political legitimacy crisis

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2021, Malaysia saw the deepening of a political legitimacy deficit as demands for reforms and political change remained largely unattended. The first half of the year was marked by a state of emergency, declared by the government in the face of a new wave of COVID-19 infections. […]

Thailand 2019-2021: Military, monarchy, protests

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf 2019-2021 was a peculiar triennium for Thailand. In 2019, the military leaders who had seized power five years earlier with a coup d’état formed a civilian government via a carefully managed general election. Concomitantly, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, on the throne since 2016, underwent his coronation. While the rituals […]

Myanmar 2021: Repression and resistance in a multi-cornered conflict

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The parliamentary elections of November 2020 which were won – once again – in a landslide by the National League for Democracy (NLD) were followed by three months of mounting tensions between the winning party and the Tatmadaw (the armed forces) and its party affiliate. On 1 February […]

Bangladesh 2021: The year of the golden jubilee and the second wave of pandemic

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2021, the pandemic continued inflicting a burdensome disruption on the Bangladeshi economy, weighting heavier on the poor and the new poor. However, in terms of macroeconomic indicators, the economy gave signs of early recovery. Also, Bangladesh was declared ready to officially graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) […]

India 2021: Politics amid the pandemic

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The most important development of 2021 in India was a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections that brought the country’s healthcare system to its knees between April and June. While the management of the pandemic in a country like India represented an enormous challenge in itself, the Bharatiya […]

Sri Lanka in 2021: From pandemic emergency to political and economic crisis

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The political evolution in Sri Lanka in 2021 confirmed the negative predictions that had been made in the previous year, both for domestic and foreign policy. Internally, president Rajapaksa’s tendency to centralize power in his own hands, and in those of his family and close supporters continued. The […]

Pakistan 2021: In pursuit of a pivotal role in post-pandemic South Asia

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2020, the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan launched an economic diplomacy project titled Economic Outreach Initiative. It aims to unlock Pakistan’s growth potential and showcase national trade, tourism and foreign investment capacities through a paradigm shift of foreign policy from geopolitics to geoeconomics. The Khan administration […]

Iran 2021: The year of transition

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The election of Ebrahim Raisi as the new president of Iran in June has been the most significant development in Iran during 2021. It represented the end of an era -the reformist-pragmatist one- and the beginning of a new one controlled by the conservative establishment. This article analyses […]

Azerbaijan 2021: Towards a new beginning?

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf The Fall of 2020 represented a watershed in Azerbaijan’s contemporary history, as a result of the victory in the «44 Days War» over Nagorno-Karabakh against Armenia, on the one hand, and the start of natural gas export to European markets through the EU Southern Gas Corridor, on the […]


Yi Gwangsu’s Literary Contribution to Korea’s 1919 March First Movement

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Michael Shin, Korean National Identity under Japanese Colonial Rule: Yi Gwangsu and the March First Movement of 1919, London: Routledge, 2011, 246 pp. In present-day Republic of Korea (ROK), March First is still celebrated as a day to commemorate the Korean people’s most important statement of protest against […]

The unhappy ending of the «India story»

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf Debasish Roy Chowdhury and John Keane, To Kill a Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, 320 pp. 1. Introduction In their book, Debasish Roy Chowdhury (a journalist) and John Keane (a political scientist) question the widespread conviction that India is the «largest democracy in […]

Continuity and Change in India: Views from below

Available also in pdf – Download Pdf John Harriss, Craig Jeffrey and Trent Brown, India: Continuity and Change in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2020, pp. xv+384. ISBN-13: 978-5095-3970-3; ISBN-13; 5095-3971-0 (pb). This review of social change and persistence in India is a timely study of transitions and attempted transitions. It is by authors […]