Sri Lanka Crisis, Bones For Health, & Asian Unity?

South and East Asian News Roundup 01/11/2018

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This week in Asia, China and Japan have become a centerpiece of the news cycle. Sri Lanka made a pip on the radar as well with the crisis of their constitution. China adopted some policies to favor the usage of rhino and tiger-based product, which triggered activists. China also came to the center with its first meeting with Japan in four years to usher in closer diplomatic relations. This all in this week’s roundup.

Sri Lanka In Constitutional Crisis

Sri Lanka came into the spotlight with the recent developments within their government that triggered a public response after a civilian was shot in public by bodyguards of a deposed government minister. This, among many other public incidents, was triggered by an announcement of the President of Sri Lanka last Friday. The president moved to sack the prime minister and appoint a new prime minister in his place. Wickramasinghe, the sacked prime minister, insisted he was still in power, which created a split in the parliament between the removed and the new prime ministers. The President of Sri Lanka then moved to suspend the parliament until mid-November, which is seen as a power move to secure votes from the parliament to secure the power of the new prime minister. This is all amid the lingering wounds of civil unrest within the nation, which raises the people to riot more often.

China Allows Use of Tigers and Rhinos for “Medical Purposes”

China has legalized the use of rhino horns and tiger bones for “medical uses.” This reversed the ban from 1993 for the use of rhino horns and tiger bones, both seen for their medicinal and healing applications in traditional Chinese medicine. This new legalization has been stated to only be allowed for the use of horns and bones from farmed rhinos and tigers for the purpose of “medical research and healing.” The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) urged the Chinese government to reinstate the ban as it would further endanger both the rhino and tiger species used in the trade. In 2010, the Chinese medicine community stated that there was no proof of any medical benefits to tiger bones nor rhino horns. With many concerns for the further endangering of the tiger and rhino populations, perhaps farming would benefit growing the populations to healthier numbers.

China And Japan Grow Close, Somehow?

An unlikely alliance is forming in East Asia as Japan and China are growing closer in the middle of the US trade war with China and the tariffs on Japan imposed by the US under the Trump Administration. The President of China and Prime Minister of Japan met this last week under unexpectedly good terms for the first time in four years. This slow cooking of growing relations is again, unexpectedly, thanks to President Trump. With the borderline adversarial relationship between the US and China, along with the friendly but fruitless meetings between Japan and the US, Japan and China are seeking each other for support through this storm that is Donald Trump’s administration. While the tensions between China and Japan run deep with their bloody history, a temporary relief in immediate tensions might prove to be beneficial to the stability of the region.

With China’s continuing newsworthiness and Japan’s growing influence in Asia, they are countries to watch with a Trump Administration between them. Sri Lanka has a lot of stuff to work out as well, as the world watches them resolve their constitutional issues.

You can read more by Amos Joseph on Think Liberty here.

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