Melbourne Asia Review is an initiative of the Asia Institute. Any inquiries about Melbourne Asia Review should be directed to the Managing Editor, Cathy Harper.

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Edition 6, 2021

Human rights and civil society in Asia

The Jimmy Lai case: The National Security Law and the future of dissent in Hong Kong

If Lai is convicted it will serve as a clear signal to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement that Beijing is in charge.

  • Professor Thomas E. Kellogg & Lydia Wong

WEBINAR: Human rights and democratic regression in Asia

Three experts on human rights and civil society discuss the situation in two countries which have seen recent democratic regression, Thailand and Myanmar, as well as the use of forced disappearances.

The year of daring: revisiting the Philippine left’s dalliance with a strongman

Given Duterte's open endorsement of mass killings and anti-human rights rhetoric, how was an alliance possible with the left movement?

Understanding why, when and how Australia promotes human rights in Asia

In pursuing its foreign policy, Australia has to balance various interests in human rights, security and prosperity.

Politicising the natural environment through Indonesian art

Many Indonesian artists discuss natural disasters not in isolation, but in relation to broader social, political and historical processes and injustices.

Building a community for sexual orientation and gender identity rights in ASEAN

If ASEAN is unlikely to see its way toward SOGIE rights, the arena it reifies arguably helps activists navigate strategies.

COVID-19 Analysis

#MaskUp in Australia: How social norms in a pandemic are formed

A discussion forum in Reddit appears to reflect the sentiment of people in Melbourne in relation to mask-wearing as a public health measure.

China’s quest for greater technological self-reliance

Chinese leaders have endorsed a sweeping economic strategy which will have profound implications for global economics and geopolitics, including for Australia.

Men, masculinity and anti-feminist violence at the post-conflict frontier, Nagaland, India

Patriarchal backlash in Nagaland is closely tied to efforts to preserve Indigenous rights.

The complexities of translating legal terms: Understanding Fa (法) and the Chinese concept of law

Uncritically translating 'fa' directly to 'law' may may lead to social, cultural and legal misunderstanding.

Edition 6, 2021

Human rights and civil society in Asia

INTRODUCTION: Questions and challenges for civil society and human rights in Asia

As elsewhere, many societies in Asia have recently witnessed the rapid rise of populists and democratic regression.

The racialised and gendered online abuse of activists in Japan

While human rights activists take advantage of social media, so do their opponents with xenophobic, racist, and sexist tropes.

The many challenges of fighting against enforced disappearances in Asia

Many Asian countries still do not understand the nature of enforced disappearance, and often believe the issue is not relevant in their countries.

India’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

There are more than 27 million persons with disabilities in India and their rights are still not protected.

Global civil society must promote linguistic rights for China’s Indigenous peoples

China is involved in historical denialism that enables the Party-state to continue human rights abuses against vulnerable linguistic communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic and possibilities for Arab ‘risk society’

COVID-19 may afflict without discrimination, but not all polities, economies and societies can equally withstand its damage and rebuild in its aftermath.

The dark side of civil society? How Thailand’s civic networks foster autocracy

Royalist civil society networks operate as repressive forces which reduce democratic space.

Speaking no truth to power in a time of coup: Myanmar’s Human Rights Commission

Myanmar's Human Rights Commission has been noticeably silent which raises issues regarding expectations of human rights institutions against regimes inimical to human rights.

How Kong’s civil society networks have contributed to the containment of COVID-19

The networks and solidarity formed by the democracy movement laid the groundwork for a prompt civil society response to COVID-19.

Special Analysis

The demise of the left and the Islamisation of dissent in Indonesia

WEBINAR: The demise of Leftist political traditions has facilitated newer Islamic expressions of socio-political discontent.

Transnational civil society in Asia

WEBINAR: Transnational interactions among civil society actors in Asia are helping to strengthen common democratic values.

Book Review

‘queerqueen: Linguistic Excess in Japanese Media’ by Claire Maree

What linguistic anthropologist Miyako Inoue did for Japanese women’s language, Maree has done for onē-kotoba and onē-kyara—the language of queerqueen personalities.