China

Lesser-Known Genocides

In the second episode of our series on genocide, Again and Again, we discuss the Circassian and Bangladeshi genocides of the 19th and 20th centuries, where nearly 3.5 million people were collectively murdered. Despite the large numbers of people murdered, we question why these genocides are lost into obscurity. Though cultural proximity and impact to national identities may factor into the popular knowledge of genocides, access to information and competition in journalism can also hinder awareness or action. We also apply these assumptions to the current situation in western China to help decipher what may actually be happening to the Uyghurs.

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Fentanyl

In 2017, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency, often referred to as the opioid crisis. This crisis, which addresses the significantly imbalanced ratio of prescription drugs to the patient population, often overshadows the illicit side of this public emergency. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which straddles the licit and illicit drug trade. Known for its extreme potency, fentanyl’s recent emergence into drug markets is taking the place of popular illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

In today’s episode, we discuss the danger fentanyl poses to users, its supply chain, and its potential impact to the illegal drug trade.

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Global navigation satellite systems

GPS is a critical part of our everyday lives and underpins much of the infrastructure surrounding us. But the GPS satellite system is just one of a growing list of so-called global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) that can provide space-based positioning, navigation, and timing.

In this episode, we explore how GPS fits into the larger GNSS constellation and discuss the future of satellite navigation services.

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Olympic Terrorism

The Olympic Games have long been a symbol of sportsmanship and national pride. However, they can also be a target of terrorism. In this episode, we explore case studies of how organizations and nations have attempted to commit acts of terrorism in the context of Olympic Games. We will also examine how future Olympic hosts are working to ensure the safety and security of their upcoming Games.

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Featured photo credit: AP

Why Nations Fail

Professor Robinson joins us for a candid discussion about his book, ‘Why Nations Fail’. In it, he makes the case that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

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Take a look at some of the book reviews on “Why Nations Fail”:

Bride Trafficking

The term “mail order brides” does not often invoke similar connotations to human trafficking, but bride trafficking is just that. Victims of this trade are forced to marry men they don’t know from foreign countries that are sometimes thousands of miles away from their homes and families. While it is worth noting that this industry isn’t exclusive to women, women and girls make up the majority of most cases.

People are trafficked for marriage, sex, and labor in virtually every country.  In this episode, we focus on bride trafficking in some of the countries where it is most prevalent. Marriage brokers provide men in developed countries with services to find women for marriage, often from developing countries. Sources for these brides often come from the Philippines, Vietnam, or Cambodia. In all of these source countries, marriage brokers are illegal.

China is one major destination of trafficked brides. Due to numerous demographic issues such as China’s one child policy, Chinese men source brides from countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, or even Ukraine. North Korea serves as a unique source for women in bride trafficking, as refugee flows coming out of North Korea provide a supply of exploitable women.

India is another common location for trafficked brides, most sourced internally. Young women or girls in India are often tricked or coerced, sometimes by family members, into marrying men from provinces in India with severe gender imbalances in the local populations. Other times, men from Middle Eastern countries travel to India for “contract” marriages, where men marry young girls for a limited period of time, before divorcing them upon return to their home countries. Contract marriages can also be permanent, where men will bring their Indian brides to their home countries. 

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Spotlight: Urumqi

Positioned in China’s resource-rich northwestern region, the city of Urumqi is gaining strategic importance as China seeks to diversify its energy resources. However, ethnic and cultural tensions between the Chinese government and Uighur minority population continue to threaten the region’s stability. Read More

The Nicaragua Canal

The Panama Canal’s opening in 1914 transformed global trade and fostered economic development in Panama. Today, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Chinese financier Wang Jing are trying to emulate its success by constructing a canal through Nicaragua. Read More

Spotlight: Gwadar Port, a Chinese Foothold in Pakistan

In this episode we look at Gwadar port, a deep-sea port located in the Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan, along a strategic trade route in the Arabian Sea. A Chinese state-owned company, Overseas Ports Holding Company, signed a 40-year lease for the port in 2014 to advance China’s economic and trade interests in the region. Read More