Joshua’s Map: Beijing’s Coverage of North Korean Defector Issues and Human Rights

In January/February 2015, the Huanqiu Shibao (the foreign affairs tabloid under Beijing People’s Daily, massive readership etc.) used one of Joshua Stanton’s maps to indicate the locations of North Korea’s largest gulags. Given the combination of Stanton’s personal hostility toward the Chinese Communist Party and Beijing’s own reluctance to throw North Korean human rights up to public introspection, I found this method rather surprising. Yet more … Continue reading Joshua’s Map: Beijing’s Coverage of North Korean Defector Issues and Human Rights

Pre-emptive strike plans in Korea

In response to a question from a reporter about Operational Plan 5015: In a certain sense, the North Koreans are the victims of their own inflated rhetoric and propaganda about their missile & nuclear programs, as well as their aggressive sea border defence. And, from the standpoint of Seoul, here have been an unending stream of threats and local provocations since Kim Jong-un arrived on … Continue reading Pre-emptive strike plans in Korea

Journalist Expulsions and Beijing’s Counterterrorism Narrative

2015 was supposedly a triumphant year for the Chinese Communist Party, but the CCP seemed determined to end the year on a landslide of insecurity with respect to the foreign journalists within its borders. The expulsion of French journalist Ursela Gauthier was, of course, the primary case in point. As Gauthier noted, her case was not just about her single report and subsequent failure to engage in … Continue reading Journalist Expulsions and Beijing’s Counterterrorism Narrative

Meth, Road-Tripping, Drought, Aid, and Forbidden Love: Five North Korea Stories from China

Microblogging in English or Chinese continues to present limits on and challenges for academics who ‘watch’ Northeast Asia. Certainly, in the process of gathering information about the region, it has gotten rather easy to share pithy viewpoints, but the problem of why one is sharing a given piece of information is not always self-evident. Take these two tweets as a study in contrasts:   Personal blogs seem to be … Continue reading Meth, Road-Tripping, Drought, Aid, and Forbidden Love: Five North Korea Stories from China

Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

From the very beginning of the so-called ‘post war,’ the territorial and temporal parameters of the memory wars between China and Japan were never drawn particularly cleanly. The war ended formally in Tokyo Harbour on 3 September 1945, but it took nearly another week for Okamura Yasuji to formally surrender to General He Yingqin at Nanjing. It then took months (in some rare cases, years) … Continue reading Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

On Translation: North Korea in the Sinophone Gaze

Chinese writing about North Korea is peculiar. And perhaps it ought to be. Surely, well-informed insights and even genuinely insightful speculations ought to be welcomed to the table with alacrity, regardless of the nationality or linguistic tendencies of the thinker. Translators naturally serve a vital role in the enterprise of tying together Korea-oriented policy and analytical communities. Chinese writing about North Korea takes on an additional … Continue reading On Translation: North Korea in the Sinophone Gaze

China and Conflict on the Korean Peninsula: The Return of the Great Powers Conference in Leeds

On July 3, I’ll be giving a paper at a conference of historians and policy makers at the University of Leeds on a subject near and dear to the hearts of many readers. The abstract follows: The Korean peninsula is regarded as northeast Asia’s key flashpoint, not only for inter-Korean violence, but possible US-China conflict. As the North Korean leadership continues to push forward with … Continue reading China and Conflict on the Korean Peninsula: The Return of the Great Powers Conference in Leeds