Recent Issue – Vol 84, No 2, June 2011


The Competition to Attain Justice for Past Wrongs: the “Comfort Women” Issue in Taiwan

By Shogo Suzuki, University of Manchester, UK

Keywords: “comfort women”; memory; identity; Taiwan; war crimes; Japanese colonialism

This article joins the debate on transnational campaigns for Japanese historical wrongs in the Asia-Pacific by highlighting the collective “forgetting” on the part of the victims’ society. Focusing on the case of the Taiwanese “comfort women” issue, I argue that the “comfort women” campaign has been overshadowed by identity politics in Taiwan, and has subsequently lost ground to civil society debates about the KMT repressive past. In the context of democratization and a growing political movement to emphasize a Taiwanese identity, I argue that a Chinese Other has been constructed to emphasize the island’s distinctiveness from China. This, however, has entailed drawing attention to historical wrongs committed by the Nationalist Party (Zhongguo guomindang, or KMT) during Chiang Kai-shek’s authoritarian rule, as well as the emergence of a new historical narrative that emphasizes (relatively) benign Japanese colonial rule. This has had the unintended effect of drawing greater societal attention towards party political disputes over Taiwan’s national identity and how history should be interpreted, rather than the redress for the former “comfort women”.

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Adversaries versus Partners: Urban Water Supply in the Philippines

By Kate J. Neville, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Keywords: public-private partnerships; private sector participation; urban water; Philippines; contractual arrangements

In the Philippines, skepticism about private sector participation in urban water provision became increasingly pronounced as missed service targets and regulatory battles plagued governmental relations with the two companies (Manila Water and Maynilad) granted concessions for water provision in the capital, Manila. A comparative study of these two public-private partnerships (PPPs) reveals the challenges of reconciling bureaucratic and organizational dynamics with public suspicion of the private sector. This study draws on interviews and observations with corporate and government officials, academics, journalists, non-governmental organizations, and civil society members in the Philippines, almost a decade after the initial privatization. This paper furthers our understanding of the outcomes in Manila—and PPPs more generally—by addressing the tension between credible commitment in contractual arrangements and flexibility for responding to economic and environmental shocks. It argues that adversarial interactions between the private corporations and regulators hindered the collaborative negotiations needed to respond to the currency crisis. Fear of public backlash against price increases and contract adjustments prevented the government and companies from engaging in meaningful joint problem-solving. The differential outcomes of the companies illustrate the relevance of specific contractual arrangements and leadership in determining the impact of unforeseen shocks. However, the problems experienced by both companies indicates the need—if the private sector is to equitably and efficiently provide public goods—to redesign PPPs to increase transparency and to develop true partnerships.

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Daily Encounters Between Uyghurs and Hans in Xinjiang: Sinicization, Integration or Segregation?

By Elena Caprioni, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Keywords: Xinjiang; Uyghurs and Hans; Ethnicity; Everyday relations; Movable social barriers

In September 2009, the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China claimed that Xinjiang benefits from respect and harmony between Uyghurs and Hans. This rhetoric is faithfully propagated by national media: they uniformly praise the unity amongst the majority (Han) and minority (Uyghur) through the common slogans of minzu tuanjie (ethnic solidarity) and hexie guanxi (harmonious relations). Going beyond the official documents and propaganda, my purpose is to explore the relations between these two ethnic groups. I will focus on the ideas, words and actions of Han and Uyghur young people living in Urumqi who are often under-represented in official sources, or other forms of written and scholarly discourse. While comparing their behaviour, I argue that ethnic disharmony between Uyghurs and Hans exists, but it is simplistic to blame only the Chinese government or one of the ethnic groups, and naïve to ask what China can do to solve the problem. Instead, by exploring what the social agents in the young educated society in Xinjiang truly think of ethnic relations between them and the “other,” this paper presents a comprehensive picture of the issue. My ethnographic research interprets how people remember, interpret and sometimes exaggerate their ethnic traditions and cultural practices in daily life in relation to the other ethnic group. The findings demonstrate how young people are determining the course of ethnic relations by constructing movable social barriers that result in segregation between them, raising doubts about the future possibilities for ethnic harmony.

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Land Rights in Cambodia: How Neopatrimonial Politics Restricts Land Policy Reform

By Kheang Un and Sokbunthoeun So Northern Illinois University, USA; Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Keywords: Land Rights, Land Policy Reforms, Neopatrimonialism, Cambodia

Cambodia has undergone substantial changes since the United Nations’ sponsored election in 1993. Politically, the country has become increasingly stable under the domination of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Economically, Cambodia has achieved an unprecedented level of economic performance, with GDP growth averaging almost 10 percent annually during the five years preceding the current economic crisis. In spite of these improvements in political and economic conditions, land rights have emerged as a major issue affecting the lives of many poor Cambodians.

Comprehensive overall analysis of land policy reforms in the country remains lacking, however, and this article fills a void in the existing literature. Our analysis shows that despite land policy reforms in the past decade, Cambodia’s land rights problems continue unabated. What accounts for this development? Through analysis of government land policies, an array of primary documents, and interview data from government officials and investors, this article questions the relevance of Cambodia’s land policy reforms. Its central premise is that although past collectivization and weak governmental institutions have contributed to land rights issues, it is neopatrimonialism—a mechanism that dictates political interaction among the elites and between the elites and the electorate and resources governance and distribution—that perpetuates land rights problems and limits land policy reform.

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What is going on in India’s “red corridor”? Questions about India’s Maoist insurgency

By John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

Keywords: Indian Maoism; insurgency; guerilla movements; rural protest; dispossession

Drawing on the small number of recent ethnographic studies, on reports by human rights activists, and on some reports by journalists, this paper explores reasons for the strength of the Maoist insurgency across the “red corridor”: a large tract of India, from the border with Nepal through to the south.

Short Video on this subject at the BBC website

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Books Reviewed In This Issue

Asia General

Building Asia’s Security. By Nick Bisley.
Reviewed by Denny Roy

Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific: Theory and Practice. By Sorpong Peou.
Reviewed by David Envall

Multination States in Asia: Accommodation or Resistance. Edited by Jacques Bertrand, André Laliberté.
Reviewed by Susan J. Henders

Globalizing in Hard Times: The Politics of Banking-Sector Opening in the Emerging World. By Leonardo Martinez-Diaz.
Reviewed by Malcolm Cook

Intercultural Relations in Asia: Migration and Work Effectiveness. Edited by Chan-Hoong Leong and John W. Berry.
Reviewed by Robert A. Didham

Legal Education in Asia: Globalization, Change, and Contexts. Editors: Stacey Steele and Kathryn Taylor.
Reviewed by Tom Ginsburg

Women’s Movements in Asia: Feminisms and Transnational Activism. Edited by Mina Roces and Louise Edwards.
Reviewed by Jennifer Chan

Public Governance in Asia and the Limits of Electoral Democracy. Edited by Brian Bridges, Lok Sang Ho.
Reviewed by Michael T. Rock

Investing in Protection: The Politics of Preferential Trade Agreements between North and South. By Mark S. Manger.
Reviewed by Ann Capling

Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons. By Matthew Kroenig.
Reviewed by Leon Sigal


China and Inner Asia

China, the Developing World, and the New Global Dynamic. Edited by Lowell Dittmer, George T. Yu.
Reviewed by Lilly Kelan Lu

Dancing with the Dragon: China’s Emergence in the Developing World. Edited by Dennis Hickey and Baogang Guo.
Reviewed by Joshua Eisenman

The Future of China-Russia Relations. Edited by James Bellacqua.
Reviewed by Czeslaw Tubilewicz

Embattled Glory: Veterans, Military Families, and the Politics of Patriotism in China, 1949-2007. By Neil J. Diamant.
Reviewed by Lawrence N. Shyu

Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China’s New Class. By Joel Andreas.
Reviewed by Xiaowei Zang

In Search of Paradise: Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis. By Li Zhang.
Reviewed by Arianne Gaetano

China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom. By Richard Baum.
Reviewed by Scott Kennedy

Cries of Joy, Songs of Sorrow: Chinese Pop Music and Its Cultural Connotations. By Marc L. Moskowitz.
Reviewed by Andreas Steen

Hong Kong’s Watershed: The 1967 Riots. By Gary Ka-wai Cheung.
Reviewed by John Carroll

Whither Taiwan and Mainland China: National Identity, the State, and Intellectuals. By Zhidong Hao.
Reviewed by Richard Weixing Hu

Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence Across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond. By Scott L. Kastner.
Reviewed by Steven Goldstein

The Sichuan Frontier and Tibet: Imperial Strategy in the Early Qing. By Yingcong Dai.
Reviewed by John Herman

China and Asia: Economic and Financial Interactions. Edited by Yin-Wong Cheung and Kar-Yiu Wong.
Reviewed by Hiroyuki Ito

Was Mao Really a Monster?: The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday’s Mao: The Unknown Story. Edited by Gregor Benton and Lin Chun.
Reviewed by Charles W. Hayford


Northeast Asia

Innovation and Change in Japanese Management. Edited by Parissa Haghirian.
Reviewed by Leonard Lynn

Changing Politics in Japan. By Ikuo Kabashima and Gill Steel.
Reviewed by Linda Hasunuma

The Supreme Court and Benign Elite Democracy in Japan. By Hiroshi Itoh.
Reviewed by Shigenori Matsui

Filling the Hole in the Nuclear Future: Art and Popular Culture Respond to the Bomb. Edited by Robert Jacobs.
Reviewed by Sandra Youssef

Korea’s Changing Roles in Southeast Asia: Expanding Influence and Relations. Edited by David I. Steinberg.
Reviewed by Jaehyon Lee

The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why it Matters. By B.R. Myers.
Reviewed by Thomas F. Cargill

Overcoming Modernity: Cultural Identity in Wartime Japan. Editor and translator, Richard F. Calichman.
Reviewed by Christopher W A Szpilman


South Asia

Political Economy, Growth, and Liberalisation in India, 1991-2008. By Matthew McCartney.
Reviewed by Amitendu Palit

Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India: Armed Forces, Police and Paramilitary Forces During Communal Riots. By Omar Khalidi.
Reviewed by Sohini Guha

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons. By Bhumitra Chakma.
Reviewed by Rajshree Jetly

The Rise of Ethnic Politics in Nepal: Democracy in the Margins. By Susan I Hangen.
Reviewed by Sukh Deo Muni

Inside Nuclear South Asia. Edited by Robert S. Anderson.
Reviewed by Robert S. Anderson

Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka: Ethnic and Regional Dimensions. Edited by Dennis B. McGilvray and Michele R. Gamburd.
Reviewed by Kristian Stokke


Southeast Asia

Imperial Alchemy: Nationalism and Political Identity in Southeast Asia. By Anthony Reid.
Reviewed by Stein Tønnesson

Vietnam: Le Moment Moderniste. Sous la direction de Gilles de Gantes et Nguyen Phuong Ngoc.
Reviewed by Shawn F. McHale

Farming with Fire and Water: The Human Ecology of a Composite Swiddening Community in Vietnam’s Northern Mountains. Edited by Trân Dúc Viên, A. Terry Rambo, Nguyên Thanh Lâm; with the assistance of Neil L. Jamieson and Stephen J. Leisz.
Reviewed by Stan B-H Tan

Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World. By Robyn Magalit Rodriguez.
Reviewed by Leonora Angeles

Tai Lands and Thailand: Community and State in Southeast Asia. By Andrew Walker.
Reviewed by Ian G. Baird

Beyond Democracy in Cambodia: Political Reconstruction in a Post-Conflict Society. Edited by Joakim Öjendal and Mona Lilja.
Reviewed by Sorpong Peou

Rural Livelihoods, Resources and Coping with Crisis in Indonesia: A Comparative Study. Edited by Milan J. Titus & Paul P.M. Burgers.
Reviewed by Lesley Potter

Collective Violence in Indonesia. Edited by Ashutosh Varshney.
Reviewed by Jamie S. Davidson

Understanding Islam in Indonesia: Politics and Diversity. By Robert Pringle.
Reviewed by Sumanto Al Qurtuby

The Appearances of Memory: Mnemonic Practices of Architecture and Urban Form in Indonesia. By Abidin Kusno
Reviewed by Deden Rukmana

Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997-2001. By Jeremy Wallach.
Reviewed by Andrew Clay McGraw


Australasia and the Pacific Region

Tuamaka: The Challenge of Difference in Aotearoa New Zealand. By Joan Metge.
Reviewed by Fiona McCormack

Raupatu: The Confiscation of Maori Land. Edited by Richard Boast and Richard S. Hill.
Reviewed by Toon van Meijl

Pacific Ways: Government and Politics in the Pacific Islands. Edited by Stephen Levine.
Reviewed by Jaap Timmer

Migration and Transnationalism: Pacific Perspectives. Edited by Helen Lee and Steve Tupai Francis.
Reviewed by Paul Shankman

Cheap Meat: Flap Food Nations in the Pacific Islands. By Deborah Gewertz and Frederick Errington.
Reviewed by Eric K. Silverman

Oceanic Encounters: Exchange, Desire, Violence. Edited by Margaret Jolly Serge Tchérkezoff & Darrell Tryon.
Reviewed by A (Max) Quanchi

Substantial Justice: An Anthropology of Village Courts in Papua New Guinea. By Michael Goddard
Reviewed by Jean G. Zorn

Gunnar Landtman in Papua: 1910 to 1912. By David Lawrence.
Reviewed by Michael Goddard

After the Cult: Perceptions of Other and Self in West New Britain (Papua New Guinea). By Holger Jebens.
Reviewed by Lamont Lindstrom

Restoring the Balance: Performing Healing in West Papua. By Ien Courtens.
Reviewed by Patricia K. Townsend

Evolution in the Antipodes: Charles Darwin and Australia. By Tom Frame.
Reviewed by Amber S. Beavis

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