Resources

Keep up to date with the latest news and analysis on Asia with our wide range of material including books, interviews, policy documents and much more.

Podcast: Censoring Tiananmen

‘History is the best textbook’ is one of the favourite phrases of China’s President Xi Jinping, yet only one version of history is acceptable in today's China. Since 2012, the ruling Communist party has made radical efforts to tighten its control over history, even bringing lawsuits against those seen guilty of ‘historical nihilism’.

The streets around Tiananmen Square were not the only place that experienced a bloody suppression in 1989, and since that time efforts to control historical memory have become more apparent. The state has made clear their desire to rewrite history, and within China they've been successful.

Guest:
Louisa Lim (Senior Lecturer of Audio-Visual Journalism, University of Melbourne)


Podcast: Democracy and the China Model

For the past 15 years western democracies have appeared to reach a crisis point. Cynicism towards political institutions is widespread, with results in the UK and the United States the most visible manifestation of this trend.

In contrast, the Chinese Communist Party has overseen the greatest advancement in human development history, and maintained social stability and cohesion at the same time. Is there something structurally wrong with liberal democracy, and does China have a better model for managing politics in the 21st century?

Guest:
Professor Daniel Bell (Dean, School of Political Science and Public Administration, Shandong University)


Event: China's Influence in Australia

China's influence in Australia has become controversial. For years there have been reports connecting Chinese money to the funding of political parties, think-tanks, and research institutes. There is investment in business and buildings, and the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece China Daily struck a deal to be distributed in the Fairfax Media’s newspapers.

Less recognised is China’s exercise of soft power through the promotion of its culture and history – festivals, tours, exhibitions, performances, subsidies, and scholarships are often representative of a considerable investment in public diplomacy, estimated to be part of the US$10 billion that China budgets annually for ‘external propaganda’.

Why does China continue to invest so much in its international efforts to curry favour? What message are they trying to convey, and at what point does it become an issue of concern? How much influence does the People’s Republic of China wield in Australia?

This public forum brings together four experts to reflect on Chinese influence in Australia.
- Associate Professor James Leibold (Senior Lecturer, Politics, La Trobe University)
- Louisa Lim (Senior Lecturer, Audio Visual Journalism, University of Melbourne)
- Professor Bates Gill (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University)
- Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) (Chair)

Held at the State Library of Victoria on 19 September, 2017.


Event: The Relentless Invention of Modern India

Modern India stands on the threshold of becoming a global power. As it seeks to revitalise its economy and improve the health and education prospects of its citizens, improve its fractious relations with China and Pakistan and make its mark on the global stage, the key to understanding its future lies in understanding its leader.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is a controversial figure in his own country and abroad. He has garnered unprecedented political support while facing criticism for his nationalism, his record in government and his economic policies. With his leadership India has enormous potential and equally vast challenges.

Adam Roberts, journalist for the Economist (between 2010 and 2015 was its South Asia bureau chief) and author of Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation, which draws on years of on-the-ground research, and interviews with everyone from wayside fortune-tellers to Modi himself, will be in conversation with Professor Nick Bisley, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia.

A La Trobe Asia event in partnership with Griffith Asia Institute on the 12th September 2017 at the State Library of Victoria.


Podcast: Asian Migration to Melbourne in the 1890s

Much of migration to Melbourne is studied in a post-war context dominated by Greeks and Italians fleeing a post-war Europe, but it undoubtedly goes back much further. Asian migrants played a notable part in the city’s growth, and these people bought new languages and culture with them.

Guest:
Dr Nadia Rhook ( Archaeology and History, La Trobe University)


Event: Education and Society in Post-Mao China

Recent years have witnessed mingled alarm and envy in the West at the supposed excellence of China's education system - epitomized by Shanghai's PISA success. But much public discussion of the context for that success, and of the nature of the education system that has produced it, remains worryingly superficial.

Drawing on a new monograph, Education and Society in Post-Mao China (Routledge 2017), this talk re-examines the educational record of China during the four decades of 'Reform and Opening'.

It argues that evaluation of this record depends very much on the evaluator's comparative perspective and ethical assumptions. Notwithstanding its impressive performance on many counts, education in Post-Mao China has played a key role in fostering radical social stratification - a role that is not accidental, but intrinsic to the system's design.

Edward Vickers is a Professor of Comparative Education at Kyushu University. His research focuses on the contemporary history of education in Chinese societies (mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong), with a particular focus on the role of schools and other public institutions in political socialization.

A live event presented by La Trobe Asia on Monday 28th August at La Trobe University.


Podcast: The Chinese Communist Party

China’s political and economic growth in the past three decades has been rapid and impressive, and central to this transformation has been the role of the Chinese communist Party. It controls the government, courts, media and military, and its decisions have a global impact.

Guest:
Richard McGregor (journalist and author of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers).


Podcast: Trump vs North Korea

A North Korean threat is a reality Asia has had to deal with for some time, but now that they have nuclear weapons that can reach the United States mainland the stakes of changed.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula remain high, and two unpredictable and strong-willed leaders, Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump, could escalate the situation quickly.

Guests:
Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia)
Dr Benjamin Habib (Lecturer, International Relations, La Trobe University)


Event: Duterte's Ambition: A Challenging Future for the Philippines

The Philippines’ maverick president, Rodrigo Duterte, has had a turbulent first year in office.

His crime fighting agenda, popular with the middle class during the election, has delivered a bloody and devastating war on drugs with crowded prisons and thousands killed in the streets. Internal conflict with Islamic State-backed groups has led to martial law on the island of Mindanao and threats of civil war.

With five years left in his term of presidency, what can the Philippines and the world expect from Duterte?

In this discussion two experts give their assessment of how Duterte has fared in his first year.

Dr Nicole Curato (ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra.)
Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University.)

A live event presented by La Trobe Asia in partnership with the Philippines Australia Studies Centre on 16th August, 2017.


Podcast: Japan Faces an Uncertain Asia (live)

Japan has a challenging future. Its population is declining, the economy remains anaemic while the country’s security environment is extremely challenging.

North Korea presents an existential threat, and China’s growing military power threatens the country’s long-term interests. Even though it is an affluent country the restrictive constitution forced on it after World War II places limitations on Japan’s military and makes it dependent on its ally, the United States.

Murray McLean (Former Australian Ambassador to Japan (2004-2011)) speaks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the impact a more strategically influential Japan could have on Asia and the world.

Recorded in front of a live audience on 2nd August, 2017.


Event: Asia's Reckoning


For more than half a century, American power in the Pacific has successfully kept the peace. But it has also cemented the tensions in the toxic rivalry between China and Japan, consumed with endless history wars and entrenched political dynasties.

Now, the combination of these forces with Donald Trump's unpredictable impulses and disdain for America's old alliances threatens to upend the region, and accelerate the unravelling of the postwar order. If the United States helped lay the postwar foundations for modern Asia, now the anchor of the global economy, that structure is now crumbling.

This seminar examines the tectonic shifts in diplomacy, domestic political trends, and the personalities driving them.

Richard McGregor is a journalist and an author with extensive experience in reporting from East Asia and Washington. He worked for The Australian in Tokyo and Hong Kong and established the paper's first China bureau in Beijing in 1997. He later headed the Financial Times bureaux in Shanghai, Beijing and Washington. He is the author of The Party, looking at political leadership in China, and a forthcoming book, Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, the US and the Struggle for Global Power will be published in September 2017.

A La Trobe Asia seminar recorded on 1st August, 2017.


Podcast: India and the English-Speaking World

In recent years, the English-speaking world has become wildly enthusiastic about India. India is a trusted ally, ‘the world’s largest democracy’, and it’s the ‘democratic counterweight’ to China.

Despite these pronouncements, India has continually defied and confounded the expectations of the English-speaking world. Dr Alexander Davis, (New Generation Network research fellow with La Trobe University Department of Politics and Philosophy and the Australia India Institute) speaks to Matt Smith about the English-speaking world's 'India problem'.


Podcast: The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall has long been a symbol of China, but a problematic one - an authentic experience can be hard to find, and in the modern day China wants to be seen as open and inviting, but a wall closes off, and keeps people out.

Associate Professor James Leibold (Department of Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University) and Dr Graeme Smith (Research Fellow at the Australian National University) take Matt Smith on a tour of the Great Wall of China.

Photo: Matt Smith


Podcast: Integrated Asia (live)

Globalisation and major power rivalry are creating a China-centric integrated Asian strategic system, drawing together the once-discrete theatres of Northeast, Southeast, South and Central Asia. Nationalist ambition among the region’s giants will make integrated Asia an unstable place where cooperation among the great powers will be much harder to achieve than in the past.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) speaks to Dr Andrew Carr (Senior Lecturer, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University) about changing strategic geography.

This podcast was recorded live at the launch the new Centre of Gravity Paper ‘Integrated Asia’ by Nick Bisley, on 20th June, 2017.


Podcast: Is Tibetan Culture in China Under Threat?

Is Tibetanness under threat? As more young Tibet are lured towards a dominant Chinese education, Tibetans are faced with hard realities of ethnocultural survival.

Dr Adrian Zenz (European School of Culture and Theology, Germany) speaks to Associate Professor James Leibold (Politics, La Trobe University) about the challenges facing Tibetan language and culture in China.

Photo: IM Swedish Development Partner on Flickr


Podcast: The Belt and Road Initiative




On 14 May this year 33 world leaders gathered in Beijing for what has been touted as the inaugural Belt and Road Forum for international Cooperation. Billed as the biggest diplomatic event in China this year the summit was ostensibly about improving economic integration between East and West and providing leadership to a global economy going through difficult times.

Dr Luca Anceschi (Lecturer in Central Asian Studies, University of Glasgow) joins Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) to discuss the Belt and Road Initiative and its potential to usher in a new era of Chinese global dominance.


Podcast: Indonesian Screen Culture

Since the fall of President Suharto’s new order regime in 1998, culture has exploded in Indonesia, and nowhere is this more evident than in the media. With increases in media providers comes increases in diversity of media forums and media content. With such an increasing in offering comes an altering of the public discourse that can further change democracy and modernity.

Professor Ariel Heryanto (Herb Feith Professor for the Study of Indonesia at Monash University) speaks to Matt Smith about the politics and development of Indonesian screen culture.

Image: Adam Cohn on Flickr


Podcast: Chinese Investment in Australia

Australia is a country that depends on investment, and normally we can't welcome it enough. But money coming from China is different, can be at odds with strategic interests, and can cause considerable tension.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) is joined by Hannah Bretherton (Project Coordinator and Researcher at China Matters) to discuss the issues and challenges associated with Chinese investment in Australia.


Podcast: A Lifetime Teaching in China

Colin Mackerras is a world authority on Chinese culture and society, with a special interest in Chinese theatre and opera. He has taught in China since the 1960s, where he was a witness to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution and in 2014 was presented the Chinese Friendship Award by President Xi Jingping.

He joins Dr Yangbin Chen (Chinese Program, Languages and Linguistics, La Trobe University) in this interview.


Event: Fear of Abandonment (Book Launch)

In Fear of Abandonment, expert and insider Allan Gyngell tells the story of how Australia has shaped the world and been shaped by it since it established an independent foreign policy during the dangerous days of 1942. Gyngell argues that the fear of being abandoned – originally by Britain, and later by our most powerful ally, the United States – has been an important driver of how Australia acts in the world.

Allan Gyngell was foreign policy adviser to Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating and worked as a diplomat, policy officer and analyst in several government departments.

Featuring Fairfax senior correspondent Daniel Flitton in conversation with the author.

Recorded 5 April, 2017


Event: China Matters (Book Launch)

Australia and China face a new era, but are we ready?

Australia’s prosperity and security are linked to China as never before. But what kind of a country is China becoming? Will its demand for Australian goods and services increase? Can the Communist Party continue to keep the middle class satisfied while cracking down on political freedoms? How will China use its economic and military might, especially if challenged by President Trump?

In partnership with China Matters and La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University Press is pleased to present the launch of China Matters: Getting It Right For Australia by Bates Gill and Linda Jakobson.

Recorded 30 March, 2017


Podcast: Does India Have a Youth Problem?

India has been described as a country of potential, but hiding behind that hopeful term are a few powerful statistics. By 2022 it is projected to surpass China to become the most populated country in the world, and currently around 50% of India's people are below the age of 24.

Professor Craig Jeffrey (Director, Australia India Institute) speaks to Matt Smith about the challenges presented with youth in India, and whether it's a demographic dividend or a disaster.

Image: Charles Pieters on Flickr


Seminar: Will China lead the world in global climate politics?

In 2005 China was home to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, but today it is the world’s leading producer of renewable energy sources. It has the largest capacity solar, wind and hydro plants in the world, accounting for one-third of installed wind power, and one-fifth of installed solar. It is now poised to step into a leadership role in global climate politics, and is well placed to be the dominant player in the post-carbon international economy.

Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University.


Podcast: What does Trump mean for Asia?

It's no exaggeration that the election of Donald Trump was a shock to the system, and this was no more so than in the Asian region. During his election campaign Trump was abrasive and antagonistic towards many Asian countries, in particular China.

Dr Ashley Townshend (Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) about Trump's 'America First' approach and what it means for Asia.


Podcast: The glass ceiling in Japan

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with childrenMany countries have a problem when it comes to gender equality, but in Japan it's quite pronounced. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants to put more women to work to help make up for the country's shrinking population, but there is little evidence of serious progress in what has been dubbed ‘womenomics'. Of particular note, Japan has the lowest percentage of women’s political representation in the industrialised world.

Dr Emma Dalton (Japanese Lecturer in Global and Language Studies in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT) speaks to Matt Smith about why the glass ceiling is so hard to crack in Japan.


Podcast: Are we still in the Asian century?

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shanghai skylineThe opening years of the 21st century seemed to herald the start of a new era. On the back of China's remarkable economic revitalisation, India's reforms, as well as the ongoing growth in South Korea, Taiwan, and ASEAN economies, many argued that the new century belonged to Asia. Is that still the case, or has the gloss come off the Asian century?

Andrew Leigh (Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner, Australia) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) about whether the concept still applies and what Asia's development will mean for Australia.


Podcast: Human rights abuses in North Korea

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north korea protestIn 2014 the UN's commission of inquiry into human rights in North Korea published a report detailing human rights abuses committed by the country's leadership against its own people. They compared the scale of the abuse to the atrocities committed by the Nazis.

Dr Danielle Chubb, (lecturer in International Relations at Deakin University) talks to Matt Smith about the response to the report and human rights issues in North Korea.


Podcast: Chairman Mao's Little Red Book

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chinese with red bookIn 1964 the Communist Party of China released a collection of Mao’s speeches and statements titled ‘Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’. Small, easily carried, and bound in bright red colours it became commonly known as the Little Red Book, and went on to become the most important tool of propaganda during the cultural revolution.

Associate Professor James Leibold (Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University) talks to Matt Smith about the power of Mao's book and how to spot a real one.


Podcast: Australian Foreign Policy and Asia

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China handshakeA sound foreign policy is crucial to the success and safety of any country, and governments are grappling with different ideals and agendas to maintain relationships in the current changing global environment.

Allan Gyngell (Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Australian National University, director of the Crawford Australia Leadership Forum) joins Matt Smith to discuss Australia's Foreign Policy and reflect on its interactions with Asia.


Podcast: Resource Management in Himachal Pradesh, India

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kuhl in IndiaState intervention in natural resource management is often inflexible, but projects in the Kangra District of India have found better success by involving the local communities.

Dr Harry Fischer (Associate Lecturer in the Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe University and a New Generation Network Fellow at the Australian India Institute) speaks about natural resource management in Himachal Pradesh, particularly the water canal 'kuhl' system.


Podcast: Thailand Crowns a New King

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Thailand kingThailand has reached a period of political change. The recent death of the long-serving monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the crowning of his son Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn have rocked a country still seeing fallout of a 2014 military coup.

Dr Greg Raymond (Research Fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University) talks to Matt Smith about the way forward for Thailand.


Podcast: A Health Check for China

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health in asiaChina is home to 1.5 billion people, many of them living in industrialised cities, and with that comes a heavy burden of medical problems.

Martin Taylor (Team Leader, Health Systems and Health Security, World Health Organization, Beijing) discusses the good and the bad in China's health.


Podcast: Australian Studies in China

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Donald TrumpThe study of Australia is well-established in China, and the active engagement across universities helps build cultural, social and economic understanding between the two countries.

Professor David Walker (Chair of Australian Studies at Deakin University) talks to Matt Smith about Chinese understanding of Australia, and the healthy network of Australian studies.


Podcast: The World is Trumped

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Donald TrumpDonald Trump will be the next President of the United States. While America, the world, and the Donald comes to terms with this unexpected result, the question is inevitably asked… what happens next?

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and Dr Kumuda Simpson (International Relations, La Trobe University) speak to Matt Smith about the international reaction to a Trump presidency.


Podcast: A Foreign Correspondent in China

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Chinese newsstandMedia in Australia and much of the western world is facing pressing times with shrinking revenue and a changing landscape, but how much of these trends coming across in the Chinese press?

Lisa Murray (China Correspondent, Australian Financial Review) talks to Matt Smith about the media landscape in China and her experiences as a foreign correspondent.

Image: Heyitschilli on Flickr


Lecture: How to Respond to China's Rise?

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China submarineChina’s rise is transforming the world. Among the most significant consequences of the country’s dramatic growth in wealth and power is the way it is unsettling Asia’s balance of power. How should the world respond to an increasingly powerful, wealthy and ambitious China? Should Washington try to retain the status quo in Asia, should it contest China's bid for influence or retreat, ceding the region as a whole to this authoritarian behemoth? How the US responds to China will be among the most important decisions it makes and will have consequences across the world.

SPEAKERS:
Hugh White, Professor of Strategic Studies, Australian National University
Linda Jakobson, Founding Director of China Matters
Nick Bisley, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of Politics at La Trobe University
John Fitzgerald, President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities

An event held by the Ideas and Society Program and La Trobe Asia


Podcast: Trump vs Clinton vs Asia

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Trump vs ClintonThe 2016 United States election is almost upon us, and much of the rhetoric has focused on countries in Asia. Hilary Clinton has made references to 'standing up to bullies', with Donald Trump going several steps further in his comments about China.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) speaks to Matt Smith about what Clinton or Trump could mean in Asia, and how regional security and economic stability hangs in the balance.


Podcast: The Australia-China Relationship

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Malcolm Turnbull and Xi JinpingChina and Australia have a long relationship anchored by strong trade bonds, yet this relationship isn’t without tension, and the two countries often find themselves on different sides of the table when it comes to broader bilateral ties.

Professor Hou Minyue (Deputy Director, of the Australian Studies Centre, at East China Normal University in Shanghai) speaks to Matt Smith about the Australia-China relationship.

Photo: @TurnbullMalcolm via Twitter


Podcast: Selling India's Sacred Cow

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india sacred cowThe cow is a sacred animal in India with nearly 80% of its Hindu population abstaining from eating beef and worshiping the animal for its production of milk. Surprisingly enough, the country has become the world's largest exporter of beef products, exporting more than 2 million tonnes a year and consuming just as much.

Why is India selling the sacred cow? Dr Yamini Narayanan (DECRA Senior Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University) talks to Matt Smith about this clash of ideals which have become a topic of controversy, corruption and murder in India.

Photo: Peter Roome via Flickr


Lecture: Australia-China Relations: The Next Chapter

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Australia-China relationsChina and Australia have a relationship anchored by strong trade bonds. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, while Australia is a leading source of raw materials for Chinese industry. Recent negotiations have led to the signing of a free trade agreement, and there is strong prime-ministerial level dialogue between the two countries.

Yet this relationship isn’t without tension. China and Australia often find themselves on different sides of the table when it comes to broader bilateral ties, and issues such as disagreements over foreign investment and the position and interests of allied countries threaten to prevent any meaningful co-operation or interaction.

This panel will discuss the key challenges and opportunities confronting the bilateral relationship of China and Australia.

- Dr Geoff Raby (Chairman & CEO Geoff Raby & Associates, Former Australian Ambassador to China (2007 - 2011))
- Lisa Murray (China Correspondent for the Australian Financial Review)
- Professor Hou Minyue (Head of the Department of English at East China Normal University (ECNU))

Forum Convenors:
- Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe University)
- Professor Chen Hong (East China Normal University)

This event is the inaugural Australia-China Forum in Shanghai co-hosted by La Trobe University and East China Normal University.


Podcast: Indonesia's Foreign Policy

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Indonesia's foreign relationsIt’s been more than two years since Joko Widodo was elected Indonesian President. While his election occurred on a wave of high hopes and high expectations, little was known at the time about how the new President would approach Indonesia’s international affairs.

Dr Evi Fitriani (Head of the International Relations Department at Universitas Indonesia)talks to Dr Rebecca Strating (Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University) about Indonesia’s approach to foreign policy under the Widoko administration.

Photo: U.S. Embassy, Jakarta via Flickr


Lecture: Can India reach its potential?

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india futureIndia is a country with a challenging future. It’s the home of 1.3 billion people and it will be the world’s most populated country within the next decade. It has high levels of unemployment, and widespread problems with inequality, pollution and sanitation. But with a youthful population and an increasingly educated workforce it’s a challenge it could meet.

In this public forum three experts give their views on different aspects of India's development.

  • Professor Ian Hall (Government and International Relations, Griffith University)
  • Dr Yamini Narayanan (Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University)
  • Dr Ian Woolford (Hindi Studies, La Trobe University)

Chair: Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University)

Part of the Asia: The Next Chapter public forum series from La Trobe Asia in partnership with the Australia India Institute (AII).


Podcast: How Cheap Mobile Phones Changed India

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phone-indiaIndia has more than a billion mobile phones in use, with more people having access to a mobile phone than a toilet with plumbing.

What impact has the phone had on India's society, politics and economy? Emeritus Professor Robin Jeffrey (Politics, La Trobe University)speaks to Matt Smith about the implications of a connected India.


Podcast: How Will Duterte Lead the Philippines?

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DuterteOn 30th June, Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines 16th President. Observers outside the country were stunned by his sudden rise to power, in both his tone and at times violent rhetoric he seemed, to many, to be South East Asian version of Donald Trump.

Dr Nicole Curato (ARC Early Career Research Fellow at the Institute for Governance and Policy Advice in the University of Canberra) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the kind of leader Duterte will be, and the changes he wants to bring to South East Asia's second largest population.


Podcast: Shinzo Abe wins a supermajority

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An election in the upper house of Japan has delivered a supermajority to Shinzo Abe, with two thirds of it in control of his Liberal Democratic Party and its allies. The win is a substantial vote of confidence for the Prime Minister and his policies, and with a similar majority in the lower house he now has the legislative firepower to make substantial changes, including rewriting Japan’s pacifist constitution.

Dr David Envall (International Relations, Australian National University) talks to Matt Smith about the election results and what Abe could do with this power.


Podcast: What is the Future of ASEAN?

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ASEAN flagsThe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic organisation formed 49 years ago by like-minded southeast Asian countries. Much like the EU it aims to streamline co-operation such as trade and social progress between its member states, and increase bargaining power with the rest of the world.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) talks with Matt Smith about this regional entity, and whether the lofty aims of ASEAN are about to crack under outside pressures.


Lecture: Will Duterte take the Philippines on the right path?

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duterteThe Philippines has a new president: Rodrigo Duterte, a brash, outspoken politician who won by a huge margin. Many have compared the combative politician to U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump for his populism and antagonistic approach to a wide range of issues.

Within the quotable, expletive laden interviews he gives, Duterte shows a clear determination to shake up the system. Whether it’s encouraging violence and vigilantism against drug dealers, cutting red-tape for businesses or advocating for constitutional reform, he’s made it clear he means to change the Philippines.

Behind the outrageous claims and tough talk what is likely to happen? And what could his words and actions mean for Asian neighbours of the Philippines?

In this public forum three experts give their assessment of how Duterte could shape the Filipino future.

  • Dr Nicole Curato, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra
  • Professor Nick Bisley, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University
  • Lemuel Lopez, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Chair: Dr Trevor Hogan, Director, Philippines Australia Studies Centre, La Trobe University

Part of the Asia: The Next Chapter public forum series from La Trobe Asia in partnership with the Philippines Australia Studies Centre


Lecture: Indonesia at the Crossroads

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Joko WidodoBy 2030 Indonesia’s population will be the world's fourth largest, with 295 million people, and by some estimates it will be the world’s fourth largest economy by 2040. The skyscrapers and glitzy shopping malls of Jakarta belie that city’s huge disparities, where a fifth of its people still live without power.

In 2014 Joko Widodo won the Indonesian election on the popular vote, giving hope of fair and impartial leadership to an emerging democracy still beset with endemic corruption. He has since struggled to live up to these expectations, and his approval rating has predictably suffered.

So where does Indonesia’s future lie? What role will a larger, wealthier Indonesia play in Southeast Asia and the world? How will Australia relate to a neighbour it struggles to get along with, and can the country’s political system match the aspirations of the people?

This public forum brings three experts together to reflect on the future of Australia’s northern neighbour:

  • Dr Dirk Tomsa, Senior Lecturer, La Trobe University
  • Dr Dave McRae, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Bec Strating, Lecturer, La Trobe University

Chair: Professor Nick Bisley, Executive Director, La Trobe Asia

Part of the Asia: The Next Chapter public forum series from La Trobe Asia.


Podcast: Is Democracy Failing in Timor-Leste?

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Protest in Timor-LesteAfter hundreds of years of occupation and a bloody struggle for independence, Timor-Leste formed its democratic government in 2002, running an election under the watchful eye of the UN. It’s since had three highly competitive elections since 2002 that have been universally recognised as free and fair.

Dr Rebecca Strating (Politics, La Trobe University) talks to Matt Smith about the state of democracy in Timor-Leste - is it failing as an institution, and is that a bad thing for the country?


Podcast: Forced Relocation and the Three Gorges Dam

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three gorges damThe Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydro-electric power station, is one of the greatest infrastructure projects of modern times. Building it displaced many hundreds of thousands of people, and transformed the environment in a key part of China.

Dr Brooke Wilmsen (Social Inquiry, La Trobe University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the impact of the dam on the lives of people in the region, what it tells us about China's modernisation, and the kind of social challenges faced by a rapidly industrialising society.


Podcast: Uyghur Nation

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uyghur nationThe Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority that predominantly inhabit the far western region of China known as Xinjiang.

Dr David Brophy (History, University of Sydney) talks to Assoc. Professor James Leibold (Politics, La Trobe University) the emergence of the Uyghur nation and reform and revolution on the Russian frontier.

David Brophy's book, Uyghur Nation (2016) is published by Harvard University Press.


Podcast: Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Fight

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Indonesian corruption protestIndonesia has had ongoing problems with corruption since it established democracy in 1998, and while some recent high profile cases have been exposed, it's a problem at every level of government.

Dr Dirk Tomsa (Politics, La Trobe University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about Indonesia's ongoing struggle to combat corruption, whether it be exposed through efforts of the KPK, or political machinations.


Podcast: Trump vs China

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Observers worldwide are watching with trepidation as Donald Trump gains ground in the United States election. Perhaps none more carefully than China, who Trump directs many aggressive remarks towards, expressing a desire for stronger trade negotiations.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) speaks to Matt Smith about Trump's attitude towards China, the actions he could take, and how his victory could work in China's favour.


Podcast: Little Comfort for Comfort Women

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During World War II (and the wider Pacific War) women from many Asian countries were kept in 'comfort stations' for the use of Japanese soldiers.

While Japan has now given ¥1 billion in compensation there is little acknowledgement of the issue, and it has caused tension in particular with neighbouring South Korea.

Dr Nicola Henry (Social Inquiry, La Trobe University) speaks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) discuss the issue of comfort women, whether the recognition offered is sufficient, and the extent of the political issues.


Podcast: Suicide Prevention in Hong Kong

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Suicide is a significant public health problem. With a highly populated and urbanised environment, Hong Kong in particular has taken a proactive approach to suicide prevention, such as restricting means, improving the data record, and media engagement.

Professor Paul Yip (Director for the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention) dicusses suicide prevention practices in Hong Kong, as well as cultural differences in attitudes between the east and the west.


Lecture: China in an Unstable World

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The west has an uneasiness when it comes to dealing with China. Although it is their biggest trading partner, many governments are concerned about a more confident, ambitious and militarily capable China. Its activities in the South China Sea, its ambitions to develop new links to Europe across the Asian continent, and the recent crackdown on dissent and opponents appear to confirm those most worried about just what China is trying to do in the world.

But how does China perceive what it is doing? What ideas shape how China acts on the global stage and what can we expect from China in the coming years? This public forum brings three of China's most influential foreign policy experts together to reflect on these important questions.

Speakers:
Professor Wang Jisi (President, Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University)
Professor Yan Xuetong (Dean, Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University)
Professor Jia Qingguo (Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University)

Chair: Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia)
Introduction: Professor Gary Smith (Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement))
Closing: Dr Chengxin Pan (International Relations, Deakin University)

Presented by La Trobe Asia, Deakin University, and the Foundation for Australian Studies in China.


Podcast: India and Waste

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India is a country that can overload the senses. One of the most striking features a visitor can notice is the country's seemingly endemic problem with rubbish and pollution.

Professor Robin Jeffrey (Emeritus, La Trobe University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the extent of India's problem with waste, the cultural attitude towards sanitation, and Modi's plan to clean up India.


Podcast: Tipping point in the South China Seas

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The South China Sea is a critical commercial gateway for a significant portion of the world's merchant shipping, and much of the territory is disputed by neighbouring countries.

China's recent land reclamation projects in disputed areas leave many to fear it could escalate into full-scale conflict. Dr Euan Graham (Director, International Security. Lowy Institute for International Policy) joins Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) to discuss the dispute and explain what's at stake.


Podcast: India's sedition controversy

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The recent arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on the charges of sedition have shaken India, the world's biggest democracy.

Dr Ian Woolford (Hindi Program, La Trobe University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the Modi government reaction and what this crisis means for freedom of speech in India.

Photo: Punit Paranjpe on Flickr


Podcast: Will Australia buy submarines from Japan?

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Australia's Turnbull government has released a new defence white paper containing the affirmation of the purchase of 12 new submarines. There have been previous indications that these would come from Japan, but much has changed in both domestic and international politics in this time.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) tells Matt Smith why Japan will be the provider of Australia's submarines and the ripples it could make in international diplomacy.

Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet on Flickr


Podcast: History of Chinatown, Melbourne, Australia

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Chinatown was established in Melbourne in 1854, 20 years after the city started. It is located in Little Bourke St, and has a long history of supporting the local Chinese community.

Dr Sophie Couchman (Curator at the Chinese Museum (Melbourne), Honorary Research Fellow, History, La Trobe University) talks about history, culture, and influences of Melbourne's Chinatown.

Photo: Nick Morieson on Flickr


Podcast: Art Therapy in Samoa

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Art therapy is a theraputic mental health inititiative from the western world, but it has now been incorporated into mental health initiatives in the Pacific Island nation of Samoa.

Dr Patricia Fenner (Public Health, La Trobe University) talks about the program success and the strong influence Samoan community and culture has played in it.

Photo: Steve Percival (Tiapapata Art centre)


Podcast: Involving Women in Conflict Resolution

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It's been 15 years since the United Nations Security Council resolution on women, peace and security. Despite all the efforts there is still a lot of disappointment that women are still so excluded from peace processes.


Dr Meenakshi Gopinath (Founder and Honorary Director of WISCOMP) talks to Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf (International Relations, La Trobe University) about how and why women should be included and encouraged in conflict resolution.

Photo: Afghan JusticeSeekers on Flickr


Podcast: Is Japan Still a Pacifist Society?

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At the end of World War II, Japan adopted Article 9 into their constitution, aspiring to international peace and not having a standing army. Pacifism became part of the Japanese identity, but this could change with recent legislation.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and Matt Smith discuss the recent constitution changes and what it could mean for Japanese society.

Photo: Christian C on Flickr


Podcast: United States Perception of Asia (live)

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America has an interesting relationship with many Asian countries - on the surface there is polite co-operation and trade, but always with a wary attitude.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and Dr Kumuda Simpson (International Relations, La Trobe University) speaks to Matt Smith about United States and their interaction with Asian states.

Recorded in front of a live audience on 11th November, 2015.

Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet on Flickr


Podcast: Timor-Leste's Troubled Waters

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Now an independent democracy, Timor-Leste is struggling to renegotiate treaties and agreements with neighbouring countries, particularly water territories with Australia which could give them better access to dwindling oil fields.

Dr Bec Strating (Department of Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) on Timor-Leste's motives and challenges in the Timor Gap.


Podcast: Turnbull's Asia (live)

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Malcolm Turnbull has been the prime minister of Australia for two months, and while he hasn't made significant political moves regarding Asia, we can predict what kind of leadership he might bring.

John Garnaut (Fairfax's Asia Editor) speaks to Professor Nick Bisley (executive director, La Trobe Asia) about the change in political tone Turnbull will bring towards Asia.

Recorded in front of a live audience on 11th November, 2015.


Lecture: Australia and India: This Time it's Different?

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Tony Abbott and Narenda Modi, 20142014 was a watershed year in Australia-India relations. Not only had Modi and Abbott struck up a great rapport, the two countries' economic, strategic and political stars appeared finally to have aligned.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) looks at Australia and India's relationship. Have all the roadblocks been cleared, and do their interests align in quite the way the optimists think?

Presented at an Australian India Institute 'Tiffin Talk' on 12 November 2015.


Podcast: China Ends the One-Child Policy

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ChinaChina has announced a relaxing of the family planning policy, with a change of the existing law to a two-child policy beginning March 2016.

Dr James Leibold (Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University) discusses how the one-child policy has impacted China, if it was effective, and whether the change will come in time.

Photo: Image: kattebelletje on Flickr


Podcast: Defining Asia

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rice bowlWhen we talk about the Asia what is the adjective referring to? Is it culture, geography, or somewhere in between?

Assoc. Professor Andrew Phillips (Reader in International Relations and Strategy, University of Queensland) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the broad implications of that single word.

Photo: Image: IRRI on Flickr


Podcast: China's Fragile Economy

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Nick Bisley and Geoff RabyChina's economy is in a state of transition, and its success and failure has an impact on a global level.

Dr Geoff Raby (Australia's Ambassador to China from 2007-2011, Director of his Beijing-based business advisory company – Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd) speaks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about how the Chinese economy is transitioning and the changes it needs to make.

Photo: Matt Smith


Podcast: North Korea's Emerging Middle Class

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North Korea's emerging middle classNorth Korea has an image of dire poverty and famine, but thanks to trade with Russia and China the economy is a dynamic space and fast developing.

Dr Benjamin Habib (Politics and International Relations, La Trobe University) speaks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe University) about the impact of North Korea's development and the emergence of the 'donju', the middle class.

Photo: Roberto Saltori on Flickr

Podcast: China's Parade: A Celebration Or A Warning?

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china's paradeChina marked the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II with a massive military parade which was as much a celebration as it was a show of force to the rest of the world.

Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and Dr James Leibold (Senior lecturer, Department of Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University) examine the parade and the message that Xi Jingping was trying to send, both domestically and internationally.

Photo: Eugene Kaspersky on Flickr

Panel: Australia-India Relations

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2014 was a remarkable year in Australia-India relations culminating in the very successful state visit of PM Modi in November. The bilateral relationship has experienced regular highs and lows shaped as it has been by personal links among key figures in Delhi in Canberra. This panel brings together distinguished scholars Dr Meg Gurry and Professor Ian Hall along with John McCarthy AO FAIIA to reflect on how we got to 2014, the challenges in developing the relationship further and to anticipate how it may develop.

Chaired by Professor Nick Bisley.

Jointly presented by La Trobe Asia and the Australia India Institute.


Podcast: A Brief History Of The Indian Ocean

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portuguese carracks off a rocky coastThe Indian Ocean is often thought of with a post World War II context, but it's had a long history prior to this when empires in the area struggled for dominance.

Assoc. Professor Andrew Phillips (Reader in International Relations and Strategy, University of Queensland) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) about the early growth of empire and the beginning of European influence.

Image: Portuguese Carracks off a Rocky Coast, artist unknown, circa 1540.


Public forum: Refugee Protection in the Asia-Pacific

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Refugee protection panelThe major political parties have joined together to convince us that asylum seekers must be prevented from coming to Australia. However, they have not explained why asylum seekers attempt to come to Australia in the first place or what the consequences of Australia's deterrence policies might be for asylum seekers and countries in the region.

At this forum Mary Anne Kenny (an Australian lawyer) has a public conversation with lawyers involved in the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network – Renuka Balasubramaniam (Malaysia), Lakshan Dias (Sri Lanka), and Yunita Purnama (Indonesia) – about the practical ways in which refugee protection in the region can be improved.

Chaired by Assoc Professor Savitri Taylor (La Trobe Law School).

Jointly presented by La Trobe Law School and La Trobe Asia.


Public lecture: The Life of Poetry in Modern India

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Hindi poet and political leader Dr Kumar VishwasHindi poet and political leader Dr Kumar Vishwas lectures on the place of poetry in Indian culture, drawing on his own experience as a well-known performer at Hindi poetry gatherings.

The lecture covers a wide range of poetic ground: from the relationship between folk and literary traditions, to Hindi satirists and their critiques of government, to the three generations of women in Dr Vishwas's own family who have sung Tulsidas's devotional verses.

Introduced by Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia), Dr Ian Woolford (Director of the Hindi Program, La Trobe University) and Subhash Sharma (Director of Sahitya Sandhya). This lecture was delivered to a Hindi-speaking audience at La Trobe University.


Seminar: Judicial Reform In China

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The Hon. Sun Chao and Professor Jianfu ChenIn 2014 after judicial reforms China decided local trials will be held in several locations, on being the Guizhou Povince.

The Hon. Sun Chao (President and Chief Justice of the Guizhou High Court) delivers a lecture on the progress of these reforms, intended to uphold efficiency, fairness and justice as the fundamental principles underpinning the Chinese judiciary.

Translated by Professor Jianfu Chen (La Trobe Law School).


Seminar: Two Koreas: A South Korea Perspective

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Korean borderJo Hong-ju (Republic of Korea's Consul-General to Victoria) presents a South Korean perspective of inter-korean politics, and the fundemental divide between north and south.

A "Contemporary Politics in Northeast Asia" lecture from the La Trobe University Department of Politics and Philosophy and La Trobe Asia.

Introduced by Dr Benjamin Habib, (Lecturer in international relations, La Trobe University).

Photo: ze Dirk on Flickr


Podcast: North Korea's Climate Co-operation

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North Korean farmersNorth Korea is vulnerable to climate change, and experiences problems of food insecurity. It has an active relationship with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), brought on largely by a strong incentives program.

Dr Benjamin Habib (International Relations, La Trobe University) speaks to Matt Smith North Korea's climate change efforts and compliance with the UNFCCC, and explains their motives.

Photo: Jonas K. on Flickr


Seminar: Australia Through the Eyes of the Chinese

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Li Jianjun, Director of the Australian Studies CentreHow much does the ordinary Chinese person know and understand about Australia?

Li Jianjun (Director of the Australian Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University and Secretary-General of the National Association of Australian Studies in China) talks about his research on the Chinese knowledge of Australia, looking at politics, culture, environment, immigration and Aboriginal issues.


Podcast: World War II far from over in Asia

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Chinese soldiersWith the 70th anniversary of World War II fast approaching in the Asian region, there will be a vastly different take on how the event is celebrated, particularly the Chinese independence from Japan.

Professor Nick Bisley (Director of La Trobe Asia) speaks to Matt Smith about what to expect from both China and Japan, and how the rest of the world will view the events.

Photo: Jens Schott Knudsen on Flickr


Podcast: Political Turmoil in East Timor

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Political supporters at 2012 Timor-Leste electionEast Timor is a country with a young democracy under threat from internal conflict, and it is still struggling to assert itself after years of political turmoil.

Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf (Lecturer in International Relations, La Trobe University) speaks to Professor Nick Bisley (Director of La Trobe Asia) about the dominant forces at work in East Timor and the news the rest of the world never hears.

Photo: Janina M Pawelz on Flickr


Podcast: Australia's Asylum Seeker Dilemma

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Australia has made refugee and asylum seeker issues a cornerstone of their political debate and excessive lengths have been taken to prevent asylum seekers from reaching Australia by boat.

Julian Burnside (Barrister and human rights advocate) speaks to host Matt Smith about Australia's perceived asylum seeker problem and how there might be a better solution.

Photo: Tali C. on Flickr


Podcast: The Esky Economy of Cocos (Keeling) Islands

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The population of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have emigrated far, from Indonesia to Western Australia, but have maintained a strong community and bartered goods through the use of Facebook.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Dr Nicholas Herriman (Anthropology, La Trobe University) speaks to host Matt Smith about the Cocos (Keeling) Island community and gift-giving.

Photo: Nek Sofia Datok


Podcast: Stand-off in the South China Seas

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A number of high profile incidents have highlighted the contested territory of the South China Seas, most provocatively China's significant land reclamation and construction activties.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Linda Jakobson (Founding Director of China Matters) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) about China's controversial activities in the east and south China seas.

Image from Flickr


Podcast: One Year of Modi Government

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After the first year of government Narendra Modi has been presented with a number of challenges, both from within his own party and on a national and international stage.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Dr Ian Hall (School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) about Modi's first year as Prime Minister of India.

Image from World Economic Forum on Flickr


Podcast: Can Nepal's Democracy Survive the Earthquake

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After years of civil unrest, will Nepal's struggling democracy survive the recent earthquake?

In this episode of Asia Rising, Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf (International Relations, La Trobe University) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) about Nepal's long road to democracy and future challenges.

Image from Flickr


Podcast: Jokowi's First Six Months

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When Joko Widido won the 2014 Indonesian election with a significant popular mandate there were high expectations of the change he would bring to the office.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Dr David McCrae (Asia Institute, University of Melbourne) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) about the effectiveness and difficulties facing Widodo's government.

Image: World Economic Forum on Flickr


Podcast: Indonesia's Hard Line With Executions

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The imminent execution of two Australians by Indonesia due to drug related offenses has put a strain on relationships between the two countries, and presents challenges for the leadership of both Joko Widodo and Tony Abbott.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Dr David McCrae Asia Institute, University of Melbourne) talks to Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) about the diplomatic tensions of capital punishment.

Image: Kerobokan Prison on Wikipedia


Podcast: China Bans the Veil

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Regional authorities outlawed Islamic veils from all public spaces in the regional capital of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) speaks to Dr James Leibold (Senior Lecturer, Chinese Politics and Asian Studies, La Trobe University) about the provocation and likelihood of this ban succeeding.


Podcast: Japanese Politics and Fukushima Fallout

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How did Japan's recent election play out for Shinzo Abe, and what can the country expect from his next term?

Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia) and Assistant Professor Christopher Hobson (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University) discuss Japanese politics and the Fukushima disaster.

You can follow both speakers on Twitter:


Public Forum: Crossing Boundaries - Reproductive Travel in Asia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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On 12 December 2014 a public forum was held at the State Library of Victoria to consider the legal, cultural and health perspectives on cross-border surrogacy in Asia.

Recent incidents involving surrogacy in Asian countries have shed light on a growing trend. Prospective parents are traveling to Asian countries with lower costs and less stringent laws, to engage the services of surrogate parents.

Discussing this issue is a panel of experts, chaired by Associate Professor Lee Ann Basser, La Trobe Law School:

  • Professor Jenni Millbank, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Associate Professor Andrea Whittaker, ARC Future Fellow in Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Monash University
  • Associate Professor Kerry Petersen, La Trobe Law School
  • Dr Rhonda Powell, a human rights lawyer with particular interest in rights in pregnancy and birthing rights; Lecturer at University of Canterbury
  • Claire Achmad: PhD candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

Podcast: Asia 2014 - A Year in Review

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A look at the big events in Asia in the year 2014 - the elections of Modi in India and Jokowai in Indonesia, to the military coup of Thailand, the popular protests in Hong Kong, the tension in the East China Sea and the dominance of the Chinese economy.

Nick Bisley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nickbisley


Podcast: Modi on the World Stage

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With Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi proving to be a big hit in Australia during the G20, Professor Nick Bisley (Excutive Director, La Trobe Asia) and Dr Ian Hall (Department of International Relations, ANU) take a look at his relationship with Australia and the impact he's making on the world stage.

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Recording: Conflict in the East China Sea - would ANZUS apply?

Launch of report

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La Trobe Asia Executive Director Professor Nick Bisley has co-authored a new report, Conflict in the East China Sea: Would ANZUS Apply? with  Dr Brendan Taylor, the Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), ANU.

The report was commissioned by former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, the head of The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at UTS. The collaborative research project between ACRI, La Trobe Asia, and SDSC and was released in Canberra on Monday 3 November and Sydney on Tuesday 4 November 2014.

The report discusses the premise that little attention has been paid to the possible political ramifications for Australia from conflict in the East China Sea which could stem from our alliance obligations with the US.

The report aims to help shape public and policy debate on the issue, by analysing the circumstances under which conflict could occur and the implications for Australia.

Download the report [PDF 1.48M]


Lecture: China Unwrapped - prosperity, politics and implications for Australia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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On 29 October 2014, Dr Geoff Raby, former Australian Ambassador to China and La Trobe University alumnus presented a public lecture entitled 'China Unwrapped: Prosperity, politics and implications for Australia' at the State Library of Victoria.

The lecture examined  the China economic and political trajectory in the coming years. Dr Raby argued that China's economy has a lot of growth left in it, that it will continue to take a more assertive stance in its foreign policy but that it was not likely to contest American military dominance in the Western Pacific.


Podcast: The Popular Protests in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is currently experiencing protests caused by public disagreements over changes to how the Chief Executive of Hong Kong will be selected.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) speaks to Dr James Leibold (Senior Lecturer, Chinese Politics and Asian Studies, La Trobe University) look at the development of the popular protests in Hong Kong and how they might play out.


Lecture: Indonesia Update - Decentralisation, corruption and rule of law

"On 19-20 September 2014, observers of Indonesian politics, economics and society from around the world gathered at the ANU in Canberra for the annual Indonesia Update conference.

With Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about to leave office, this year's Indonesia Update was billed as a retrospective on the SBY presidency and what it has meant for the country he has lead for ten years."

La Trobe University's Dr Dirk Tomsa and Dr Simon Butt - University of Sydney, presented the sixth session (out of 10) which can be viewed here.


Podcast: A Year of Abbott in Asia

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During his first year of office, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has conducted a surprisingly energetic and focused foreign policy. He's visited a number of countries in the Asian region and furthered Australia's interests by signing fair trade agreements with Japan and South Korea, as well as making progress in relationships with both China and India.

In this episode of Asia Rising, Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) speaks to host Matt Smith about Abbott's interactions with Asia in his first year of office.

You can follow Nick Bisley on Twitter @nickbisley

Theme music: Asian Wonders by Butterfly Tea
Photo: TonyAbbottMHR Twitter


Lecture: A Public Health Approach for Suicide Prevention - Experiences in Hong Kong

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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Suicide is a growing problem across Asia.  As its societies have become more affluent, rates of suicide have increased markedly presenting communities and governments with a complex problem to manage.

Professor Paul Yip (Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, The University of Hong Kong) presents a discussion of how experiences with Hong Kong's public health approach to suicide prevention have coped with this problem.

Introduced by Professor Nick Bisley as a public seminar for La Trobe Asia.


Lecture: Jokowi's Indonesia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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On 22 July Joko Widodo was formally announced as the winner of Indonesia's closely fought presidential election. Although Indonesia has enjoyed democratic rule since 1998, this is the first time one elected leader has been replaced by another. A fine result in a difficult year for democracy in Asia. The new president is clearly well liked, but he has considerable challenges to tackle.

Dr Dirk Tomsa Dr Dirk Tomsa (Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University) and Dr David McRae, (Asia Institute, University of Melbourne) present this lecture on how and why Jokowi won, what kind of president he is likely to become, what his policy priorities are likely to be and what kind of international role Indonesia is likely to play under a president who has no experience in foreign policy.

Introduced by Professor Nick Bisley as a public seminar for La Trobe Asia.

You can follow a couple of our speakers on Twitter: @_DaveMcRae_and @nickbisley.

Read the blog.


Lecture: Not All Fats are Equal

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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Diabetes is fast becoming an epidemic. Its spread is threatening the physical well being of millions the world over and challenging health systems in rich and poor countries alike. Obesity and a lack of exercise is generally thought to be behind this, but uncertainty remains about the immediate triggers of the disease.

Professor LIU Pingsheng (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China) studied the related physiological changes in fat metabolism and he argues that abnormal fat accumulation is the direct cause of insulin resistance. He explains his research and its implications in the fight against diabetes.

A La Trobe Asia public lecture.

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Lecture: What Does North Korea Want?

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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North Korea is one of the region's most enigmatic states. It is one of the poorest states in Asia, yet is well on its way to developing a nuclear weapon. It has long sought isolation from the outside world, yet it is opening up more special economic zones. And its cult of personality around the Kim family dynasty seems at times almost a self-parody.

Dr Benjamin Habib (Politics and International Relations, La Trobe University) considers the aims, ambitions and possible futures of one of Asia's least well understood societies.

Benjamin Habib on Twitter: twitter.com/DrBenjaminHabib
Nick Bisley on Twitter: twitter.com/nickbisley


Podcast: Japan's emerging place in Asia

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In the 4th La Trobe Asia podcast Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) and Dr David Envall (Convenor, Department of International Relations, Australian National University) look at Japan's role on the global stage, particularly the re-energised activity it has shown under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Topics covered include:

  • Japan's increasing active engagement with foreign powers
  • Japan's relationship with its neighbours and the power balance in the region
  • Australia's relationship with Japan
  • The challenges facing Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

Read the blog.

This podcast is part of the World Politics collection, and there's lots more at La Trobe University on iTunes U.  You can follow Nick Bisley on Twitter: @NickBisley.

Photo of Shinzō Abe taken by Theglobalpanorama on Flickr.


Podcast: The Thailand Coup of 2014

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In the third La Trobe Asia podcast Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) discusses the Thai political system, and the challenges of restoring democracy in the wake of the military coup.

On the 22nd May 2014 the Royal Thai Armed forces led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha launched a coup against the democratically elected government government, dissolved the senate and stabled a Junta to govern the nation.

Since that time there's been a clampdown on freedom of speech and expression, there's a curfew in place, and while a return to democracy is promised there's uncertainty as to when this will happen.

Read the blog

This podcast is part of the World Politics collection, and there's lots more at La Trobe University on iTunes U. You can follow Nick Bisley on Twitter: @NickBisley.

Further reading: Muted response to Thai coup hints at other nations' limited options – Nick Bisley, The Conversation, 27th May 2014.

Photo of tank during 2006 military coup in Thailand by John Berns on Flickr.


Podcast: Modi wins the Indian Election

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In the 2nd La Trobe Asia podcast Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) and Dr Ian Woolford (Head of Hindi and South Asian Studies, La Trobe University) present a wrap-up of the 2014 Indian election, in which Narendra Modi won a landslide victory with the BJP. In this podcast they'll discuss:

  • The outcome of the election and the position of the previously ruling Congress Party
  • The kind of government and direction that India can expect under Modi
  • The role of social media in the election
  • What international relationships the global community can expect from India

You can follow Nick Bisley (@NickBisley) and Ian Woolford (@iawoolford) on Twitter.

This podcast is part of the World Politics collection, and there's lots more at La Trobe University on iTunes U.

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Lecture: Making Peace in South Asia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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Speakers are Ms Nirupama Subramanian, Australia India Institute (AII) Emerging Leaders Fellow and Associate Editor at The Hindu, where she has worked since 2000; and Dr Jasmine Westendorf, a lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University. Her research interests lie in conflict and peace studies, negotiated peace settlements and the politics of international law. Introduced by Professor Nick Bisley as a seminar for La Trobe Asia.

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Lecture: When 1.5 Billion People Go to the Polls

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series

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Speakers are Dr Dirk Tomsa (Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University) and Dr Ian Woolford (coordinator of La Trobe University's Hindi language program). Introduced by Professor Nick Bisley as a seminar for La Trobe Asia.

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Podcast: North Korea - Human Rights, Sanctions Busting and Missile Tests

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In the first La Trobe Asia podcast Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) and Dr Benjamin Habib (Politics and International Relations, La Trobe University) present an update on North Korea, covering three recent events: