• The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan three times – in 1997, 2001, and 2009 – and there are calls for his return. Since his first visit, Tibetan Buddhism in Taiwan has grown significantly. The total number of Tibetan Buddhist centers has increased from 82 in 1996 to 473 in 2018, while the community of Tibetan Buddhists soared to approximately half a million. From this perspective, the Dalai Lama’s visits to Taiwan have achieved their goal of disseminating Tibetan Buddhism, making his potential return to Taiwan of paramount religious significance. But there is also a political significance to his visits.
  • Seán Golden 24 April 2024
    Jürgen Habermas’ theory of civic discourse imposes binding rules on debate in order to subsequently bind behavior. Perhaps this could be extended to international affairs. Scholar Wang Minmin advocates establishing “a set of negotiable yet binding communicative rules and values, [and] world opinion [that] would both allow civic discourse and act as the binding power of an international norm.” Such an approach would require “that we must first acknowledge the differences in moral orders on both sides, but then also move beyond this to realize the common ground on which both sides stand.”
  • “While India has rapidly climbed the ladder of economic growth rates, it has fallen relatively behind on the scale of social indicators of living standards, even compared to many countries that India has overtaken in terms of economic growth.” So wrote Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Belgian economist Jean Drèze in An Uncertain Glory. India and Its Contradictions, a key text that in 2013 analyzed and exposed the failures of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, then at 6 percent. More than a decade later, India’s “uncertain glory” is perhaps even more uncertain, despite Narendra Modi’s aspirations to make it a great power.
  • Seán Golden 25 March 2024
    From March 4 to 11, 2024, the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress held their annual joint double session, Lianghui (两会) in Chinese. The former is the highest legislative body in China’s governmental structure. The latter is the highest advisory body. In theory, all branches of government are subordinate to the National People’s Congress. In practice, government leaders present their work reports, and the Congress approves both the reports and the government’s accompanying proposals.
  • Kristina Kironska 22 February 2024
    Three years after the failed military coup in Myanmar, there is genuine hope within the country for democratic resistance. By the end of 2023 and into the beginning of 2024, Myanmar reached a turning point, with significant successes achieved by the revolutionary movement, particularly on the battlefield. For the first time since the coup, there is a growing possibility that the resistance movement may prevail against the military dictatorship.
  • Alessandra Tommasi 12 January 2024
    Most people in Taiwan support maintaining the status quo in the island’s political dispute with mainland China for now (28.6 percent) or indefinitely (32.1 percent). Less than 8 percent support either unification with the PRC as soon as possible or maintaining the status quo while moving toward unification. Nearly 63 percent of the population feels “Taiwanese” and an even larger majority (84.3 percent) opposes a “one country, two systems” model, especially after Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong. Given these data, and that the PRC views the island as a “rogue” province and has vowed to eventually bring it back under control – not excluding military intervention – it is no surprise that mainland affairs and the relations with China are absolutely key to Taiwan’s upcoming elections.
  • Seán Golden 10 July 2023
    China’s foreign policy faces complexity due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It seeks access to resources and markets for its development and aims to challenge the dominance of the US, EU, and NATO. China cannot support Russia nor back NATO’s leadership. It seeks stability through diplomacy and maintains strict political control. However, Putin’s invasion and NATO’s response create strategic headaches for China, affecting its carefully promoted multipolar world order. China’s stability seems more secure than Russia’s, but uncertainties remain amid the changing global landscape.
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