Business & Finance
The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition January 4, 2020

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

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The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
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51 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
poles apart

ON JANUARY 15TH, after three years of a bitter trade war, America and China are due to sign a “phase one” deal that trims tariffs and obliges China to buy more from American farmers. Don’t be fooled. This modest accord cannot disguise how the world’s most important relationship is at its most perilous juncture since before Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong re-established links five decades ago. The threat to the West from China’s high-tech authoritarianism has become all too clear. Everything from its pioneering artificial-intelligence firms to its gulags in Xinjiang spread alarm across the world. Just as visible is America’s incoherent response, which veers between demanding that the Chinese government buy Iowan soyabeans and insisting it must abandon its state-led economic model. The two sides used to think they could…

3 min.
how to reduce rape

SEXUAL VIOLENCE is less common today than it was in earlier generations. But even in rich, peaceful democracies it is both widespread and distressingly easy to get away with. A fifth of American women will be raped at some point, by one estimate. Yet only a quarter of victims report it. Most stay silent despite the lifelong damage that rape can inflict and the desire to lock up a predator and deter others. They do so partly because the odds are stacked against them. In England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2019 only 1.5% of reported rapes ended in a criminal charge. With so little prospect of justice, many women are reluctant to undergo the ordeal of reporting an attack to the police. Many people think women often…

1 min.
who’s an indian citizen?

Since India’s enacting of new citizenship rules on December 12th, widespread protests against them have left 27 dead, scores injured and tempers high. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, says he wants to make it easier for refugees to naturalise as Indians—unless they are Muslims. His government also plans to conduct a nationwide tally of citizens to hound out foreign “infiltrators”. Hindus and devotees of other named faiths who cannot prove they are citizens will probably be able to naturalise quickly. Muslims without the right papers—a common problem in rural areas—may not be so lucky. Mr Modi used his crushing parliamentary majority to pass the law, but the fury against it from across the political spectrum marks the strongest challenge to his Hindu-nationalist party since it won power in 2014. All…

5 min.
the china factor

ELECTION RALLIES in Taiwan often feel like festivals with a dash of politics thrown in. At a recent one in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, thousands of people watched a fireworks display, then heard a blind blues singer. Eventually the show’s political star took to the stage: Enoch Wu, a young would-be legislator for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). China’s leader, Xi Jinping, “is watching to see if we are sure to defend our homeland,” he told the crowd. “We are,” his fans roared back. One question always looms largest in Taiwan’s elections for president and parliament, held simultaneously every four years, this time on January 11th: how to handle the island’s twitchy relations with an ever more powerful China. Many of Taiwan’s nearly 24m people have been warily watching the unrest…

3 min.
restoring order

ON JANUARY 1ST a minor lexical revolution rolled through Japan. A new decree ordained that official documents should reverse the order of Japanese people’s names when they are rendered in the Latin alphabet. Hitherto in, say, English documents, Japanese names have been written with the given name first, using the Western practice. Henceforth the family name will come first and, to banish any ambiguity, may be entirely capitalised. One backer of the change is the prime minister. From now on The Economist will refer to him as Abe Shinzo rather than Shinzo Abe. Like other newspapers, we have long followed the convention of writing Japanese names in the Western order (while scholarly publications have tended to use the Japanese order). If Japan wants to change, why should anyone object? As is…

8 min.
400-pound rivals

ZOOLOGISTS USE a mild-sounding term—“displacements”—for moments when a strong, young mountain gorilla confronts the dominant male in his group. Behind the jargon lies a brutal reality: a drawn-out, bloody conflict looms. China’s leaders similarly use prim, technical-sounding terms to describe their confrontation with America. In closed-door briefings and chats with Western bigwigs, they chide the country led by President Donald Trump for responding to China’s rise with “strategic anxiety” (ie, fear). They insist that China’s only crime is to have grown so rapidly. However, behind that chilly, self-serving analysis lurks a series of angrier, more primal calculations about relative heft. These began before Mr Trump came to office, and will continue even if an initial trade truce is made formal (Mr Trump says he will sign one on January 15th). They…