Are China’s leaders destined to ask each other, “Who lost Hong Kong?” It’s a question worth pondering after a holiday week that offered a stark reminder of just how restless -- if not unhappy -- a sizable percentage of the former colony’s residents are under Chinese rule, 17 years after the end of British sovereignty. Of course, nobody seriously entertains the idea of a political schism between Hong Kong and China.
Judging by 2014's crowded election calendar, this will be a landmark year for democracy. The Economist estimates that an unprecedented 40 percent of the world’s population will have a chance to vote in national polls in 2014. We'll see races in populous countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, the United States, and, most notably, India, where 700 million people are expected to cast ballots in what Fareed Zakaria has called the “largest democratic process in human history.”
Violence marred Sunday's controversial general elections in Bangladesh, causing several deaths in clashes between opposition supporters and police. The outcome of the contest is not in doubt, as the poll was only contested in 147 of the 300 parliamentary seats up for grabs. With the opposition BNP party and its allies boycotting the poll, governing Awami League candidates or allies have a clear run in the remaining 153 seats.
The voice on the radio is calm, its message anything but. “Civil war is going to happen,” says the announcer on a station broadcast across the arid plateau around Khon Kaen, where rice paddies, cane fields and fishing-net factories form the geographic heart of the country’s red-shirt movement. It is now preparing to fight back if the government it supports, under caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, falls. “All sides, get ready,” the voice says. “We are ready to come together any time in the name of democracy.”
Tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators marched through Phnom Penh on Sunday in one of the biggest acts of defiance against the nearly three decades of rule by Cambodia’s authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen. The procession, which was peaceful and stretched for several miles through a commercial district of Phnom Penh, the capital, brought together protesters with a diverse list of grievances: Buddhist monks, garment workers, farmers and supporters of the main opposition party.
American-style debates, polling and current affairs programming are bringing a whole new level of political punditry to Afghanistan as the country prepares to elect a new president. Campaign managers, TV producers and pollsters are hot commodities in Kabul as live "town halls" and meet-and-greet interviews aimed at driving the democratic debate forward are getting more attention than ever before.
In the largest demonstration since the disputed July elections, hundreds of thousands of Cambodia's opposition party supporters marched through the streets of the capital Phnom Penh on Sunday calling for Prime Minister Hun to step down and to announce new polls.
Thailand’s main opposition Democrat Party said Saturday that it would boycott February’s general election, deepening a weeks-long political crisis over protesters’ efforts to oust the government and force political reforms. The party’s leader, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, announced the boycott after a meeting of party executives. He said the decision was made in order to ensure that Thailand’s government will “represent the people once again.”