Chen Guangcheng: One Blind Man in a Tale of Two Governments

In late April, 40-year old blind Chinese civil rights activist, Chen Guangcheng dramatically escaped house arrest and turned up at the US embassy in Beijing seeking refuge. After several twists and turns, it seems that a deal has been struck between Beijing and Washington that will allow the activist to leave China together with his family on the pretext of pursing higher studies. While the incident has probably not yet reached its denouement, it nevertheless provides a useful opportunity to reflect on the evolving Sino-US relationship. Read more

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Migration and Exile at the Thai-Myanmar Border

A short account of a trip that I went on between 28 July and 6 August 2011 along with Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman and Brian Orland. As all good trips go, it was decided at virtually the 11th hour. Mirza and I met at a coffee shop pretty much decided we were headed to Northeast India in a few days time. There must have been something in the coffee, for we swung from Tripura to Thailand in the space of a few minutes and Brian then joined us because he happened to be in the neighbourhood. The account below was originally written for a strategic affairs think-tank and so does not do full justice to our trip that was full of interesting people, places, and happenings. Perhaps another time.

Thailand has been involved in a number of ways in developments across the border in Burma. While trade and commerce through multiple points on the border form a very big part of their bilateral relationship, also coming through the borders has been a steady stream of Burmese refugees and migrant workers. Prominent points of contact include the Three Pagodas Pass and Mae Sot, both in western Thailand and Mae Sai in northern Thailand. Read more