The Limits of International Engagement in Human Rights Situations: The Case of Sri Lanka
By Bruce Matthews
The final three years of Sri Lanka’s civil war precipitated much concern about human rights violations. Late in 2006, a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (the Justice Udalagama COI) was charged with re-examining 16 problematic cases where initial investigatory procedures had failed or were inconclusive. An unusual invitation was extended to a small body of foreign observers whose task was to confirm whether the COI was meeting accepted international standards. With this initiative, the government of Sri Lanka could also show the world community that human rights issues were being taken seriously. This essay analyzes various challenges that arose from that experience. It argues that there are critical cultural and technical limitations to international external engagement in situations where human rights are in question.
Thin Rule of Law or Un-Rule of Law in Myanmar?
By Nick Cheesman
The rhetorical force of the rule of law is acknowledged through offi cial discourse in Myanmar just as it is in other countries across Asia and around the world. Given that Myanmar manifestly does not conform to substantive models of the rule of law, which are associated with democratic government and individual liberties, might it conform to a minimalist one? Is there in Myanmar a thin rule of law to which the military government can lay claim, one compatible even with grave abuses of human rights? Or is there only “un-rule of law”? Beginning with some theoretical concerns, this article passes briefl y through a review of law and rule-of-law rhetoric in the country’s modern history before arriving at the present day. It recounts a court case
arising from a recent historic event, the September 2007 antigovernment protests, to query whether or not a thin rule of law can, in Myanmar at least, be said to coexist with authoritarian rule. It concludes that it cannot. But if the army in Myanmar has succeeded in overwhelming the courts at cost of the rule of law, ironically in doing this it may also have averted a worse scenario, one in which the denial of fundamental rights for which it is well known could be even greater than at present.
Overtime Activists Take on Corporate Titans: Toyota, McDonald’s, and Japan’s Work Hour Controversy
By Charles Weathers, Scott North
This paper describes how small union and social movement support for plaintiffs in recent court cases has helped shape public discourse regarding excess work hours in Japan. Analysis of lawsuits involving two prominent Japanese corporations, Toyota and McDonald’s Japan, brings to light seven common strategies Japanese fi rms use to extract uncompensated “service” overtime and links them with violations of labour laws and damage to worker health. These cases reveal the alignment and relative strength of forces in Japan’s work-hour controversy, highlighting the role of civil society groups such as community unions and labour rights groups in supporting plaintiffs, and in keeping issues and their broader social consequences before the public. However, the cases also show the limits of activist pressure. Judges issued clear decisions favouring the plaintiffs, and the cases garnered considerable public sympathy. But even as the outcomes became front-page news, employers countered by attempting to re-legitimize the very overtime practices that had caused worker injury. Without the support and resources of major unions, political parties or government, campaigners for shorter work hours appear destined to struggle to transform overwork from a private problem into a public issue.
Re-locating Politics at the Gateway: Everyday Life in Singapore’s Global Schoolhouse
By Jean Michel Montsion
Over the past 20 years, Singaporean state authorities have increasingly presented the city-state as a gateway between East and West. In the education sector, the Global Schoolhouse project represents a state platform for the gateway concept. It functions as a strategic business project that allows for state authorities to not only profi t from the international education business but to meet national objectives, notably in terms of recruiting foreign talent to fuel local industries. As part of Singapore’s move towards biculturalism, the Global Schoolhouse platform tends, however, to limit state understanding of Chinese culture in Singapore, which is becoming gradually more China-centric and homogenous. In light of Michel de Certeau’s work, it is my contention that new light can be shed on Singapore’s Global Schoolhouse based on how people in their everyday lives appropriate and contest this state construction of a gateway. By sharing the stories of two individuals involved in Singapore’s Global Schoolhouse, it will be stressed that the signifi cance of gateway initiatives in international matters can be better framed through the particular trajectories of people living at the gateway. In their everyday lives, people connect state initiatives to various transnational and local social processes no matter what the state objectives
may be. They give particular meaning to initiatives like the Global Schoolhouse and show us how they relate to other dimensions of their lives, notably by incorporating them into transnationalized household strategies of survival.
East Asia Responds to the Rise of China: Patterns and Variations
By Jae Ho Chung
How is East Asia responding to the rising China? Pertinent literature suggests that explicit balancing or containment has been rare and engagement, if not appeasement, appears to be East Asia’s modus operandi. Yet, this study argues that certain, though subtle, variations are nevertheless discernible among the regional states in their responses to China’s ascent. Focusing on 15 East Asian states for the period of 2004- 2007, the article first presents a bird’s-eye view of East Asia’s responses to the rise of China. More specifically, inter-state variations are empirically demonstrated and four principal patterns—bandwagoning, hesitant hedging, active hedging and balancing—are distilled from the key responses of these 15 nations. The article then examines the sources of these inter-state variations, and argues that they are conditioned largely by three factors: alliances with the United States, regime characteristics and territorial disputes with China. The article concludes with some observations as to East Asia’s complex responses to the rise of China and their security implications for the region as a whole.
Getting Global China Right
By Paul Evans
Books Reviewed In This Issue
PARTY POLITICS IN EAST ASIA: Citizens, Elections, and Democratic Development. Edited by Russell J. Dalton, Doh Chull Shin and Yun-han Chu.
Reviewed by Andreas Ufen
WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION IN ASIA: Obstacles and Challenges. Edited by Kazuki Iwanaga.
Reviewed by Robin LeBlanc
CATCH-UP INDUSTRIALIZATION: The Trajectory and Prospects of East Asian Economies. By Akira Suehiro. Translated by Tom Gill.
Reviewed by John Ravenhill
CHINA, JAPAN AND REGIONAL LEADERSHIP IN EAST ASIA. Edited by Christopher M. Dent.
Reviewed by Reinhard Drifte
JAPAN AND CHINA IN EAST ASIAN INTEGRATION. By Lim Hua Sing.
Reviewed by Takashi Terada
ASIAPACIFIQUEER: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities. Edited by Fran Martin, Peter A. Jackson, Mark McLelland and Audrey Yue.
Reviewed by John Whittier Treat
China and Inner Asia
IMAGINING GLOBALISATION IN CHINA: Debates on Ideology, Politics and Culture. By Nick Knight.
Reviewed by Timothy S. Oakes
THE VITAL TRIANGLE: China, the United States and the Middle East. By Jon B. Alterman and John W. Garver.
Reviewed by P.R. Kumaraswamy
CHINA’S GREAT ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION. Edited by Loren Brandt and Thomas G. Rawski.
Reviewed by Victor D. Lippit
CHINA’S MONETARY CHALLENGES: Past Experiences and Future Prospects. By Richard C. K. Burdekin.
Reviewed by Carsten Herrmann-Pillath
HAINAN: State, Society and Business in a Chinese Province. By Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard.
Reviewed by David S.G. Goodman
RELUCTANT RESTRAINT: The Evolution of China’s Nonproliferation Policies and Practices, 1980-2004. By Evan S. Medeiros.
Reviewed by Jing-dong Yuan
CHINA: Fragile Superpower: How China’s Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise. By Susan L. Shirk.
Reviewed by Yongnian Zheng
ZHAO ZIYANG AND CHINA’S POLITICAL FUTURE. Edited by Guoguang Wu and Helen Lansdowne.
Reviewed by Marc Lanteigne
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: Work, Community and Politics in China’s Rural Enterprises. By Calvin Chen.
Reviewed by Susan Whiting
CHINA’S NEW CONFUCIANISM: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society. By Daniel A. Bell.
Reviewed by Ruiping Fan
FALUN GONG AND THE FUTURE OF CHINA. By David Ownby.
Reviewed by David A. Palmer
PERFORMING GRIEF: Bridal Laments in Rural China. By Anne E. McLaren.
Reviewed by Ellen R. Judd
DECIPHERING STRATIFICATION AND INEQUALITY: Japan and Beyond. Edited by Yoshimichi Sato.
Reviewed by David B. Grusky
JAPANESE-RUSSIAN RELATIONS, 1907-2007. By Joseph P. Ferguson.
Reviewed by Nobuo Shimotomai
THE KURILLIAN KNOT: A History of Japanese-Russian Border Negotiations. By Hiroshi Kimura. Translated by Mark Ealey.
Reviewed by Peggy L. Falkenheim Meyer
FIGHTING FOR FOREIGNERS: Immigration and Its Impact on Japanese Democracy. By Apichai W. Shipper.
Reviewed by John Lie
WELFARE AND CAPITALISM IN POSTWAR JAPAN. By Margarita Estevez-Abe.
Reviewed by Patricia Boling
THE CINEMA OF NARUSE MIKIO: Women and Japanese Modernity. By Catherine Russell.
Reviewed by Jeffrey A. Dym
KOREA CONFRONTS GLOBALIZATION. Edited by Chang Yun-shik, Hyun-Ho Seok and Donald L. Baker.
Reviewed by Do-Hyun Han
MIN YOXNGHWAN: The Selected Writings of a Late Choson Diplomat. Translated and annotated by Michael Finch.
Reviewed by Eugene Y. Park
LANDSCAPES AND THE LAW: Environmental Politics, Regional Histories and Contests over Nature. By Gunnel Cederlof.
Reviewed by Ajit Menon
THE SOUTH ASIAN DIASPORA: Transnational Networks and Changing Identities.
Edited by Rajesh Rai and Peter Reeves.
Reviewed by Kaveri Harriss
PIRATES, PROSTITUTES AND PULLERS: Explorations in the Ethno- and Social History of Southeast Asia. By James Warren.
Reviewed by Stefan Eklöf Amirell
MAKING MODERN MUSLIMS: The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia.
Edited by Robert W. Hefner.
Reviewed by Trevor W. Preston
UNCULTURAL BEHAVIOR: An Anthropological Investigation of Suicide in the Southern Philippines. By Charles J-H Macdonald.
Reviewed by Barbara D. Miller
TEARING APART THE LAND: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand. By Duncan McCargo.
Reviewed by Robert B. Albritton
LOST IN TRANSITION: Malaysia under Abdullah. By Kee Beng Ooi.
Reviewed by Diane K. Mauzy
HOUSES IN MOTION: The Experience of Place and the Problem of Belief in Urban Malaysia. By Richard Baxstrom.
Reviewed by Seng-Guan Yeoh
KUALA LUMPUR AND PUTRAJAYA: Negotiating Urban Space in Malaysia. By Ross King.
Reviewed by Terry G. McGee
GOVERNANCE, POLITICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: A Singapore Study. By Maria Francesch-Huidobro.
Reviewed by Daniel P.S. Goh
RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN SINGAPORE. Edited by Lai Ah Eng.
Reviewed by Judith Nagata
CHALLENGING THE SECULAR STATE: The Islamization of Law in Modern Indonesia. By Arskal Salim.
Reviewed by Robert W. Hefner
FROM REBELLION TO RIOTS: Collective Violence on Indonesian Borneo. By Jamie S. Davidson.
Reviewed by John F. McCarthy
THE FOURTH CIRCLE: A Political Ecology of Sumatra’s Rainforest Frontier. By John F. McCarthy.
Reviewed by Freek Colombijn
Australasia and the Pacific Region
THE LAST WHALE. By Chris Pash.
Reviewed by Kate Barclay
NEW ZEALAND – NEW CALEDONIA: Neighbours, Friends, Partners. Edited by Frédéric Angleviel and Stephen Levine.
Reviewed by Nathalie Mrgudovic
EMPIRE, BARBARISM, AND CIVILISATION: Captain Cook, William Hodges and the Return to the Pacifi c. By Harriet Guest.
Reviewed by Andrew E. Robson
TELL IT AS IT IS: Autobiography of Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea, KBE, PC Solomon Islands’ First Prime Minister. By Peter Kenilorea; Edited by Clive Moore.
Reviewed by Jaap Timmer
HELL’S ISLANDS: The Untold Story of Guadalcanal. By Stanley Coleman Jersey;
foreword by Edward W. Snedeker.
Reviewed by Norman Hurst
Books Included in Review Article
“GETTING GLOBAL CHINA RIGHT” Review Article written by Paul Evans
CHINA SHAKES THE WORLD: A Titan’s Breakneck Rise and Troubled Future and the Challenge for America. By James Kynge.
THE NEW ASIAN HEMISPHERE: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. By Kishore Mahbubani.
CHINA’S ASCENT: Power, Security and the Future of International Politics. Edited by Robert S. Ross and Zhu Feng.
CHARM OFFENSIVE: How China’s Soft Power is Transforming the World. By Joshua Kurlantzick.
CHINA’S RISE: Challenges and Opportunities. By C. Fred Bergsten, Charles Freeman, Nicholas R. Lardy and Derek J. Mitchell.
THE THREE FACES OF CHINESE POWER: Might, Money and Minds. By David M. Lampton.