Bravo, Humphrey Hawksley, for the incisive piece in the February issue on Brexit and what Asia can learn from the mess the UK now finds itself in.With the stable corporate environment in which Asian businesses could forge links with the West now under threat from Brexit, not to mention fallout from the‘Trump effect’, both Europe and Asia have cause to worry.Mr Hawksley’s assertion that an internally fractured Europe provides ‘fertile hunting ground for Chinese money and political influence’ and a subsequent softening by Europe on rights abuses and acceptance of China’s autocratic system of governanceis sobering. It must surelysound a cautionary note for Asia, andshould urge Britain to find forthwiththe least harmful resolution to this turmoil.
Mrs Elizabeth T. Latter
In sight, in mind
I am delighted to see that your magazine is not ignoring the plight of the unfortunate Rohingya refugees stuck in Bangladesh (‘Rohingyas in Limbo’ – February issue). The Bangladesh government has acted with humanity and should be helped as much as possible by everybody. Unfortunately, most of the media in this country have now passed on to other stories and issues. They did deal with the crisis and criticised the government of Myanmar when the persecution of its Muslim population was in full swing but it is imperative that the western media do not let these Burmese generals off the hook. Their behaviour has been criminal and the atrocities they committed against hundreds of thousands of innocent people in response to the terrorist activities of a relatively few Islamist radicals is not just disproportionate but inhuman. Please keep the issue alive.
A holistic approach
Thanks for the review of Michael H. Fisher’sexcellent An Environmental History of India (‘Hot spots and danger zones’), which gives a refreshingly holistic perspective on this complex subjectand is both alarming and encouraging.I recommend it to anyone interested in the region, and in our future on this planet.
The road to somewhere
Dear Asian Affairs
My congratulations to your sister organisation, The Democracy Forum, for sponsoring an excellent discussion on the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on Europe and the wider world at the University of London on February 5. In common with most of the hundred or so other audience members, I found the debate to be highly absorbing, particularly the contributions of the two Pakistani panellists, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr Sarah Ashraf, who concerned themselves with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. It appears that Pakistan’s government does not want to reveal very much about their deal with China. According to Dr Ashraf, the State Bank of Pakistan cannot make any forecasts of future revenue streams because of the absence of any details of the actual arrangements that exist between China and Pakistan. Why that should be the case was not discussed but, as everybody knows, this deal was done by the generals and their own personal interests rather than the interests of Pakistan’s people would have been foremost in their minds.
Nevertheless, the issues around the BRI were widely debated and the general conclusion was that, as well as security risks, it also represents opportunities for many countries in the world to expand their trading relationships with each other as well as with China.
Name & address supplied