Author: Adam Cathcart

The Shenyang Trials of 1956: Presenting the Resurrection of Defeat in Heidelberg

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Chinese communist party / Japan / Sino-Japanese Relations
Shenyang 2

The University of Heidelberg will be hosting a conference later this month on post-1945 war crimes trials in East Asia, at which I will be presenting. An abstract and bio follow: The Shenyang Trials of 1956: The Resurrection of Defeat  Using now-closed files from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive and contemporary sources in Chinese, this paper, investigates the role of the Shenyang Trials of 1956 in configuring China’s postwar position and asserting a specifically Chinese […]

Hong Kong, the UK, and Occupy Central

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Chinese communist party / EU-East Asia relations / 新闻自由
Matthew Bell, Hong Kong

I spoke this evening to Phil Williams of BBC 5 Live about the protests in Hong Kong. While my brain was more than a bit muddled after a very full day of university lecturing (the first proper day of the semester, in fact) and finishing a grant application to a major Anglo-Japanese foundation, I think I got a few main points across: The movement is bigger than just students; the students themselves are a much broader […]

Kulturarbeit in Nordkorea

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Cultural Politics / German / North Korea
Isang Yun

My new essay on matters of classical music in Pyongyang has been posted at Sino-NK: To make a sweeping cultural generalization, German musicians tend to bring great seriousness and historical sensitivities (in the best sense) to their views of, and work with, North Korean musicians. Notions of music’s function toward binding the community/Gesellschaft together, as well as the idea of composers under tremendous political pressure, all resonate with the experiences and memories of the German […]

On Heartbreak, and Bix on Hirohito

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Japan / US-Japan relations / War Crimes / World War II

In our culture of oversharing and social media, there is such an excess of verbiage that the words ‘must read’ or ‘essential’ have basically lost their meaning. The same is true for words like ‘heartbreaking’ — if it was really breaking your heart, you wouldn’t be on Twitter. What happens if you don’t read something ‘essential’? Usually, nothing, because the term has been turned into verbal click-bait. Sometimes academics and journalists really ought to turn […]

Notes on the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies (Part 3)

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North Korea
Mother of the Nation and Anti-Japanese Guerilla Fighter, Kim Jong Suk (collection of Adam Cathcart)

How does the DPRK position itself with respect to international standards and the discourse on universal human rights? The report does a fairly slipshod job of establishing that North Korea’s concept of human rights deserves its own standard of evaluation. A very weak attempt is made to assert that the concept of universal human rights was more or less summed up in statements made by the United States and France in 1776 and 1789, both […]

Notes on the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies (Part 2)

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North Korea
Photo by Juha-Pekka Kervinen/Pictobank

What is the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies[조선인권연구협회]? According to their extensive 13 September report, the association was founded in August 1992 and is said to include some 150 individuals involved in the areas of law and public security as well as “population study.” Interestingly, apart from the sort of activities that one would expect — that this association exists to monitor implementation of International human rights treaties in the DPRK, which it certainly […]

Why Kim Jong-un Might Turn Up in Mongolia

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North Korea / North Korea foreign relations
Mongolian President with Kang

When the North Korean state media stops reporting on the activities of its head of state, or says he’s experiencing ‘discomfort‘ during a long absence, tongues will wag and Anglophone keyboards will rattle. Is Kim Jong-un ill, experiencing immobility at such an early age? Rather than recapitulate a few hundred semi-respectful comments on Twitter (through which I’ve tried to contribute to our collective fund of specific documentation of the health and physical capabilities of the Respected Marshal), I’d like […]